Free Tutorial – Make an Envelope Back for your Pillow

I really enjoy making throw pillow covers that I can remove and easily wash.  You will find a lot of seasonal quilted pillow covers in my house, they are a quick project and I get to see something from my efforts pretty quickly.  I have found that an envelope style back allows me to slip them on the pillow forms without any buttons or velcro.

The fronts of the pillows are pieced and quilted with a binding finish.

It doesn’t matter the size of the pillow, I make an envelope back.  The shots above are from my Nautical Bench pillow.

Flip them over to the back and you can see has the overlapping envelope back.

Here are my recent pillows for my son’s tiny house.  The envelope back means he can just pull them off and wash them.

This is just a great way to brighten up your decor by just changing out your pillow or cushion covers.

Here is how I create my Envelope backs.

I have found that there are two ways to make your pillow cover with the envelope back.  My favorite style is to finish the edges of the pillow with a binding.  The other style just involves sewing around the front and back with a seam on the inside of the pillow.  The pictures I have show mostly the binding edge style.  For the envelope back, I like to overlap top to bottom and my diagrams will reflect that.  You mix it up however you like them.

Determine how large to make the pieces for the Envelope.

  1. Measure your pillow’s width and length to start.
    • We are going to cut two pieces and use one for each side of the envelope.  I use a piece of fabric folded in half.  Here is how to figure out what size of rectangle is needed for the two envelope pieces.  This assumes we are overlapping top to bottom.  I like it to overlap at least 2 – 2.5″ on each side of the center and that is why we are adding the extra 5″.
  2. For the width of the two pieces, use the width of your pillow + 1″
  3. For the length of the envelope, use the length of your pillow + 5″.
  4. For example, we will use 18″ x 18″ pillow.
    • For the width, use  18″ + 1″ = 19″
    • For the length, use 18″ + 5″ = 23″
  5. You will then cut two rectangle pieces 19″ x 23″.

Prepare the Pillow Envelope backs

  1. Fold the envelope rectangles in half crosswise, wrong sides facing, keeping the width and press.
  2. Add interfacing inside the fold.
    • I like to take a 1 inch strip of medium weight interfacing and nestle it into the fold and press it in.
  3. Topstitch about 3/8″  to 1/2″ away from the fold to hold it in place.
    • This will help keep this edge from wrinkling in the wash.pillow-back
  4. Overlap the pressed folded edges making a square the same size as the pillow top.
    • Make sure they are overlapped top to bottom how you want them to show on the outside of the pillow.
  5. Baste the overlapped edges to hold in place about 1/8″ from the edges of the overlap.

Finish the Pillow Cover

Style 1 – Bind the Edges of the Cover

  1. Place the quilted pillow top and the overlapped backing together with wrong sides facing.  Baste around the pillow top 1/8: from the outer edge.
  2. Stitch your binding in place and complete binding using your favorite method.
  3. Slip your pillow form inside.

Style 2 – Sew Seam inside the Pillow Cover

  1. Place the quilted pillow top and the overlapped backing together with right sides facing.
  2. Stitch around the outer edge with 1/4″ seam allowance.
  3. Turn the Cover right side out using the opening in the overlapped envelope back.
  4. Slip your pillow form inside.

I hope these directions help you make lots of fun quilted pillow covers!

Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @lorimillerdesigns, I would love to see what you have created.

New Patterns Available

Winter is a good time to stay inside and catch up on some things.  I have had these patterns on my to do list for a while.  They were all published in magazines originally, but now they are updated, have multiple sizes, and are available for download in my  Etsy Shop.

Cookie Cat

This one is a favorite since I designed it based upon my sweet Cookie Cat.

It is a large 18″ block so it is easy to piece and goes together quickly.

It comes in three sizes, pillow, baby quilt and twin size.  I stitched up a set of Halloween pillows and they turned out great.

Beach Glass

This quilt started out strictly as a scrap quilt.  I fell in love with the greens and blues and they reminded me of the little bits of beach glass you find on Great Lakes beaches here in Michigan.

The variety of grey low volume prints from my stash were perfect to create the neutral background.

This is also a large 18″ block.  It comes in three sizes, Throw, Twin and Queen.

Cirque

This was my most recently published quilt.  I really wanted to try some curved piecing and these large traditional drunkard’s path blocks seemed perfect.

The color blocking adds a modern twist and I just had to play with free motion feathers in the negative space.  Cookie cat is not a good helper when I am quilting, how does he know when I am trying to quilt?  LOL

These are 10″ finished blocks.  Once again, available in three sizes, Baby, Throw and Twin.

Cirque MINI

I have been really enjoying making mini versions of some of my most popular quilts.  Not everyone needs another large quilt and this size makes a wonderful wall hanging that is a work of modern art.

These are 5″ finished blocks and it comes in only one size, Mini which is about 24″ x 30″

 

I hope you found a new pattern you liked and would like to try.

They are all available as PDF digital files ready for immediate download.

You can find them and my other fresh, fun quilty designs in my  Etsy Shop.

 

Free tutorial – Easy St. Patrick’s Day table runner and napkins

Here is a super easy to make table runner and matching napkins to celebrate St. Patrick’s day.  This easy project can be made in any fun novelty fabric.  Grab 1 ½ yards of a St Patrick’s day print and stitch this up in time for your corned beef and cabbage dinner.  This is a great practical gift idea and a perfect beginner’s project!  You will learn to sew a simple hem and stitch straight lines for the table runner and 4 napkins.

Materials:

  • 1 ½ yards of a St. Patricks day cotton print (42-45 inches wide)
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Measuring tape or sewing gauge

Prepare the Fabric:

Prewash and dry the fabric. I threw mine in the washer on warm with a smidgen of detergent and dried it in the dryer.  This will help to pre-shrink the fabric before you sew it together and I think it washes better after use.

Next, iron any wrinkles out of the fabric so that it will lay flat to cut out your pieces.

Cut the fabric:

There is a selvage on each side of the fabric which needs to be cut off.  Evenly trim the selvages off the sides.  I usually take ½ to 1 inch off to get all of the selvage.

 

Cut the table runner 16 inches wide and the length of the fabric(approximately 54 inches).

For the napkins, cut 4 squares 13 x 13 inches.

Sew the table runner:

Starting with the ends of the runner, sew a ½ inch double hem.  Here is how:

Fold the material over, wrong sides together ½ inch.

Then fold it over ½ inch again to fold the raw edge into the inside of the fabric.  Pin the hem in place.

Place your presser foot about 1/8 inch from the edge of the fabric and carefully stitch down the hem.

Topstitch the hem with your sewing machine.  Sew as straight as you can.  I used a stitch length of 2.5mm.  I use my hands like this to guide the fabric to keep the edge of the hem next to the presser foot.  Pull the pins out as you go so you don’t have to stitch over them.  Trim your threads.

Iron the END hems flat

Now, sew a ½ inch double hem on the long sides of the table runner.

Follow the same steps as you did for the ends of the table runner, only this time you will be pinning the long sides to sew.

On these ends, backstitch 2-3 stitches when you start and end the sides to secure the thread.

Finishing the table runner

Top stitch again around the entire table runner stitching 1/8 inch away from your initial stitch line towards the outside of the table runner.

When you get to the corner, take two stitches past the intersecting stitch line and turn.  If your stitch length is 2.5 mm, it should be about the right position away from you original line again.  Stitch all the way around. Trim your threads.

Sew the napkins

Now that you have mastered the double hem, you get to try a smaller double hem on the napkins.

On opposite sides of a napkin, sew a ¼ inch double hem.  Here is how:

Fold the material over, wrong sides together 1/4 inch.

Then fold it over 1/4 inch again to fold the raw edge into the inside of the fabric. Pin the hem in place.

Place your presser foot so that you are stitching right down the middle of your folded hem.

Carefully stitch the hem with your sewing machine.  Sew as straight as you can.  I used a stitch length of 2.5mm.  Pull the pins out as you go so you don’t have to stitch over them.  Iron the end hems flat

Now, finish by sewing a 1/4 inch double hem on the remaining sides of the napkins. Follow the same steps as you did for the first two sides.

On these ends, backstitch 2-3 stitches when you start and end the sides to secure the thread.  Trim your threads.

Fold the napkin in half and then in half again and iron.  Finish the hems on the remaining napkins.

That is it, you have created a beautiful table runner and napkins all by yourself!

You will have some fabric left over, you may be able to make additional napkins or save it in your stash for another project.

Variations:  Use any holiday print or just a fun fabric design to create your table runners and napkins.  Mix and match coordinating fabric for the table runner and napkins.  Play with some decorative stitches on your sewing machine instead of just sewing a straight line for your hems.  Have some fun and see what you can create.

Happy sewing!

Free Tutorial – Shipmates Bench Pillow

Ahoy!  It is summer and that means sewing projects that are fun, easy and quick to stitch up.  That leaves you plenty of time to soak up the sun and play in the outdoors.  This nautical themed pillow is designed to sit on an outdoor bench or decorate a bench in your home.  It was designed with Electric Quilt 8 using a Horizontal Strip quilt layout.  With some very easy shortcut piecing and machine applique, you can make this pillow up in an afternoon.  Enjoy!

Shipmates Bench Pillow

Finished size is 16″ x 28″

Materials

  • 1/2 yd light blue fabric
  • 1/8 yd navy blue fabric
  • 1/2 white fabric
  • 1 yd backing print
  • 1/4 yd red fabric for binding
  • 1/2 yd muslin
  • 1/2 yd batting or 20″ x 32″ piece

Directions

Cut Fabric:

Light Blue

  • 1 — 16 1/2″ square
  • 2 — 4 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ rectangles

Navy Blue

  • 2 — 6 ” squares

White

  • 2 — 6 ” squares
  • 1 — 16 ” square

Red

  • 3 — 2 1/4″ x  WOF strips for binding

Printed Backing

  • 2 — 18″ x 33″ rectangles

Muslin

  • 1 — 18″ x 30″ rectangle

Batting

  • 1 — 18″ x 30″ rectangle

Water Soluble Marker or Pencil

1 — 16″ square of double sided fusible web

Anchor Template

 

 

Piece the Pillow Top

  1. Make the half square triangles to resemble a rope design.  Take the two white 6″ squares and  mark them from corner to corner.
  2. Place the white square right sides together with the navy blue 6″ squares.  Stitch 1/4″ away from each side of the diagonal marked lines.
  3. Carefully cut the squares on the diagonal lines and then in half both ways as in diagram above.  This will create 8 half square triangles for each square for a total of 16.
  4. Press the seams to the darker fabric.  Trim the blocks to 2 1/2″ square.
  5. Stitch the half square triangles together in groups of two to start, then piece them all together to form the rope strips.  I stitched both in the same directions.  Set aside.
  6. Next, print out  the anchor template and tape it together using the guidelines.  Using a light box or a window, trace the anchor outline to one side of the fusible web.  Press the fusible web according to the manufacturers instructions to the wrong side of the white fabric 16″ square.  Carefully cut out your anchor applique.  Peel off any backing.
  7. Position the anchor in the center of the 16 1/2″ light blue square.  One you have it where you like it, press the anchor onto the center of the pillow.
  8. Now applique around the outside edge of your anchor to finish the applique.  You may need to use some stabilizer underneath the design as you stitch so that the background fabric does not pucker.  Use a light tear away or other stabilizer of your choice.  I used  a zig zag stitch that was a little bit larger than a satin stitch.  For the points, I taper the stitch down before I turn.
  9. Next assemble all of the strips to create the pillow top.

Quilt the pillow top

  1. Layer pillow top with the muslin, batting and pillow top, right side up.
  2. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  3. Quilt as desired.  I used painters tape to mark diagonal lines and then I quilted straight lines diagonally.  Trim the pillow top to 16 1/2″ x 28 1/2″.  It might be slightly smaller depending on how much quilting you did. 

Finish the Pillow

  1. Fold each 18 ” x 33″ background print rectangle in half, wrong sides together, to form two 18″ x 16 1/2″ rectangles. Press.
  2. Top stitch along the folded edge of the pillow about 1/2″ away from the fold.
  3. Place the quilted pillow top, right side down.pillow-back
  4. Place two folded rectangles over each pillow, overlapping the folded edges in the center by about 4″.
  5.  Baste 1/8″ along the outside of the layers.  Trim.  Don’t you love this cute print that matches the applique so perfectly?  I found it in my stash.
  6.  Bind with the red binding strips.
  7.  Finish by inserting a pillow form through the opening.

 

I would love to see pictures of your Shipmates pillows!  Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @lorimillerdesigns

Looking for the EQ8 Design Instructions?  You can find them HERE!

For more projects and tips and techniques on using EQ8, visit my Electric Quilt blog series EQ8 Lessons with Lori.

For more information on EQ8, go to Electric Quilt 8 Software.

Free Tutorial: Stardrop Table Topper

This fun Octagon shaped Stardrop Table Topper was designed with EQ8 Quilt Design Software by The Electric Quilt Company .  This tutorial takes that design and gives you the information to make it yourself.  This is a very easy beginner foundation pieced mini quilt but it is helpful to have some basic knowledge of paper piecing.  you will assemble eight units to combine to create the top of this little quilt.  I made this with gradations of aqua and teal solid cotton fabrics and the background is a lovely linen.  This is the perfect base for your table centerpiece.

Stardrop Table Topper

Finished size is approximately 24″ x 24″

Materials

  • 1/8 yd of light aqua cotton
  • 1/8 yd of medium aqua cotton
  • 1/8 yd of teal cotton
  • 1 yd for background, backing and binding
  • 28″ square piece of batting
  • Stardrop Template 1
  • Stardrop Template 2
  • 16 sheets of EQ printable Foundation Sheets or other foundation paper

HINT:  Have you tried printing on EQ Printables Foundation Sheets?  EQ has 25 sheet packages of special nonwoven material that you can run through your printer just like paper.  It tears away easily, is translucent and won’t dull machine needles. If you don’t want to print, you can also use a pen, pencil or marker to draw your template onto the paper.  Electric Quilt generously provided the foundation sheets for this project.

Directions

Cut Fabric:

From light aqua, cut:

  • 8 — 4 1/2 ” x 5″ rectangles

From medium aqua, cut:

  • 8 — 5″ x 7″ rectangles

From dark teal, cut:

  • 8 — 5″ x 10″ rectangles

From the dark linen, cut:

  • 1 – 28″ square for the backing
  • 16 — 2 1/2″ x 6″ rectangles for top template background
  • 16 — 3″ x 7″ rectangles for bottom template background
  • 8 — 2″ x 11″ strips for bottom template background
  • 95″ x 2 1/4″ strips for binding (can be pieced together)

 

Paperpiecing

 

  1. Use a pencil to trace the foundation pattern once onto EQ Printables Foundation sheets or other lightweight copy or foundation piecing paper of your choice. You can also print a copy of the foundation pattern onto lightweight copy or foundation piecing paper.  EQ generously provided the foundation sheets for this project.  The sheets feel like a soft stabilizer, they easily went through my inkjet printer.  I like that you can see through them so it is easy to match up fabrics from the backside.  It is super easy to sew through and it is not as stiff as paper.
  1. Use a very short machine stitch, I use 1.8 mm so the paper will tear off easily later.
  1. To foundation paper piece, stitch fabric pieces to a foundation paper with the marked side of the paper facing up and the fabric pieces layered underneath. The resulting pieced unit is a mirror image of the foundation paper.

  1. Using the larger template and starting in the number order, place the first two fabric pieces, RST, on the back side of the foundation paper with the edges of the fabrics extending ¼” beyond the first stitching line. The first stitching line is between section A1 and A2.
  1. Holding the pieces in place, stitch from the top side on the line between the two areas, starting and stopping just past the seam allowances.
  2. Above,  you see the back side of the pieces we just stitched.
  3. Flip the piece back over and fold the paper back on the line you just sewed.
  4. Using a ruler, trim the seam to 1/4″. Be careful not to cut through your paper template.
  5. Fold the paper back and flip it over again.
  6. Open out the piece and press the seam. The right sides of the fabrics will show on the back side of the paper template.
  7. Continue to add pieces in order step by step until you have finished the bottom template.
  8. Trim the bottom template around the outside seam allowance on the paper.
  9. Use the same method to sew the top template pieces.
  10. Carefully sew the top and bottom foundation templates together.  You should have a total of 8 triangle shapes.
  11. Sew together the paper pieced shapes, two at a time, aligning seams and points.
  12. Then stitch together the pieces to form two halves.  Now you can sew together the two halves, aligning the center points and seams.
  13. Carefully tear off the foundation pattern when you have finished the block

Assemble the Stardrop Table Topper

  1. Make a quilt sandwich with the quilt top, batting and backing.
  2. Baste the quilt layers together.
  3. Quilt as desired.  I used some free motion feathers and leafy motifs in the triangles.
  4. Sew the 2 1/4″ strips together for the binding and add to the quilt.  You are finished!

I would love to see your Stardrop Table Topper Quilt, tag me on instagram @lorimillerdesigns.

Looking for the EQ8 Design Instructions?  This quilt was designed in two parts, follow the links below:

EQ8 Stardropper Table Topper Design – Part 1

EQ8 Stardropper Table Topper Design – Part 2

For more projects and tips and techniques on using EQ8, visit my Electric Quilt blog series EQ8 Lessons with Lori.

For more information on EQ8, go to Electric Quilt 8 Software.

Free Tutorial – Scrappy Toddler Tumbler Quilt

This tutorial is an adorable toddler quilt designed with EQ8 Software by The Electric Quilt Company .  Running about 45″ square, it’s a One Block quilt using the Tumbler shape.  I was able to use my Sizzix Bigz L Die Tumbler that is 5″ x 5″ to make my blocks but I also include templates if you don’t have a die cutter machine.

The super cute woodland animal print I had is the feature fabric and then I used fabric from my stash to give it that scrappy look.

This quilt was designed with the new updated Electric Quilt 8 design software.  This version is more intuitive and easy to use and still has all the great things you expect from Electric Quilt.

 

When I designed this little quilt, I used the one block design from Electric Quilt and it allowed me to edit the Tumbler shape and size in my design so it matched the tumbler blocks I die cut with my Sizzix cutter.  You can cut a lot of very accurate blocks in a short amount of time with a die cut machine.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have a machine, I also provide templates for you to use.

Toddler Tumbler Quilt

Finished size is approximately 40″ x 40″

WOF – Width of Fabric

Materials

  • 1 yd of main print fabric
  • 3/8 yd of Seven coordinating fabrics
  • 2   yds  Background print for binding, backing and some tumblers
  • 50″ x 50″ piece of batting
  • Sizzix Die Cutter
  • Sizzix Bigz L Tumbler Die 5″x 5″ unfinished, 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ finished
  • Or you can use this Tumbler Template

Directions

Cut Fabric:

From background fabric, cut:

  • 1 — 54″ x WOF Rectangle for pieced backing
  • 1 54″ x WOF Rectangle for pieced backing, subcut into:
    • 1 – 12″ x 54″ strip for pieced backing
    • 4 – 2 1/2″ x 54″ strips for binding
    • Use remaining to cut approximately 14 tumbler blocks

From each of the seven coordinating prints, cut:

  • 14 Tumbler blocks

Assemble the Toddler Tumbler Quilt top

  1. Layout your tumbler blocks in a pleasing arrangement.  There are extra blocks so you can play with the placement until you like it.  There are 9 blocks in a row and 11 rows of blocks.
  2. Sew the tumbler pieces together in rows so the angled sides are on the left and right of the block.  I pressed the seams open.
  3. Then sew the rows together.  Press the seams open.
  4. Piece together the backing so that it is at least 4 inches larger than the quilt top all around.
  5. Make a quilt sandwich with the quilt top, batting and backing.
  6. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  7. Quilt as desired.  I just straight line quilted about 1/2″ away from the seams.
  8. Sew the 2 1/2″ strips together for the binding and add to the quilt.  The angled sides are pretty gentle so you can just ease the binding around.  You are finished!

I would love to see your Toddler Tumbler Quilt, tag me on instagram @lorimillerdesigns.

Looking for the EQ8 Design Instructions?  You can find them HERE.

For more projects and tips and techniques on using EQ8, visit my Electric Quilt blog series EQ8 Lessons with Lori.

For more information on EQ8, go to Electric Quilt 8 Software.

Published – Cookie Cat

MEOW!  Cookie Cat is here, my latest quilt made to celebrate my sweet kitty, Cookie.

You can find this fun little quilt in the March 2018 issue of American Quilter Magazine.  This magazine is published by the American Quilt Society (AQS).

Note: If any of you would like to join AQS in February, you will get access to the March digital issue as soon as you join, plus you can get 6 additional issues, a full year, in print.  Also, if you join and log into americanquilter.com, all AQS members have digital access to ALL American Quilter magazines back to 2013.  I just happen to be a member, so I though I would share.

Here is the real Cookie Cat, he loves to help me with my quilting.

As usual, I designed this cutie with Electric Quilt design software.  It makes the process easy and I had quite a few iterations on this block until I got it where I liked it.

I started quilting at my cottage in Northern Michigan.  I have a well used Featherweight Singer up there and it pieces a quilt quite nicely.

I generously received cotton solid fabric from  American Made Brand to make this sweet quilt.  The pieces are sized at five inches so they are charm square friendly too.

There are two variations in the colors for the blocks.  These are large 18″ blocks.  I love a large block, easy to sew, easy to have a large quilt quickly.

Here is my fancy light box at the cottage.  Yes, its a window from the second story, so I have a lovely pine tree backdrop.  I just taped the template to the window and then moved the block to where I wanted the face and taped the block to the window.  Then I traced with a water soluble marker.  Once I had the face on, I hand embroidered the whiskers.  The little nose is a piece of fleece.

I went a little crazy with the quilting.  I wanted to try out my Babylock Jazz on a larger quilt.  It may look like a jumble, but the large throat made it easy to do free motion quilting and the walking foot quilting.

Here you can get a better idea of all of the quilting.  I made the tiny swirls so tiny around the kitty, that took me forever.  Next time, I will make those babies just a bit bigger to get it done sooner.  I cant complain too much, I do love all that texture it creates, especially since the kitty is so basic.

I have enough scraps to make a baby quilt with just four blocks.  That just might be a great idea if you want to try this block but not make a twin size quilt.  Just one block would make a super cute pillow too.

Happy Stitching!