Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Gift Wrapped Pillow {block tutorial}

I've finished my Holiday Pillow for The Great Pillow Fight Swap on Flickr. It's always good to sew those last few stitches on the binding. Here's a little sneak peek...
I wrote about the Denyse Schmidt fabric that was the inspiration for the pillow in this post. Edited to add: I've now made three pillows with this block, see them in this post.
The block is based on an uneven 5-patch grid (I think I've got that right, I had to google it!!).  Here's a quick tutorial in case you'd like to have a go at making some of these blocks.

Fabric requirements for one 4 1/2" finished block

This block is scrap friendly, if you're wondering what scraps might work here's an indication of fabric requirements.
Outside colour (green), minimum of 1 1/2" x 16" or 3" x 8"
Inside colour (red), minimum of 1 1/2" x 6" or 3" x 3"
Centre cross (white), minimum of 1" x 10" or  2" x 5"
Centre square (green solid), 1" x 1"

Cutting instructions to make one 4 1/2" finished block

Outside colour (green)

  • Four 2 1/2" x 1 1/2" rectangles  [TIP if you're using directional fabric you may choose to cut two rectangles horizontally and two rectangles vertically to keep the fabric all going in one direction]
  • Four 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" squares
Inside Colour (red)
  • Four 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" squares
Centre Cross (white)
  • Four 1" x 2 1/2" strips
Centre Square (Kona Lime)
  • One 1" x 1" square


Lay the pieces out before sewing together. If you're using directional fabrics, make sure you lay out your fabrics in your desired direction.  
Start by sewing the two 1 1/2" squares together, so in my example, sew the red and green 1 1/2" squares together. Press (after some experimenting I decided it worked best to press this seam open). Then sew these two squares to the 2 1/2" rectangle to complete the four corners. Press (see below for my pressing tips).
Add the centre strip, to the corner blocks. Press.
Sew the middle row together. Press.
Sew the three rows together. And you guessed it, press!

The finished block, I love how it looks on point...
Or keep it simple...

My pressing tips

When pressing I pressed the first seam open (between the two squares), it just seemed to sit better that way. After that I pressed in the direction of least resistance. Because I like nesting my seams, I pressed the seams of the centre square in the middle row, away from the centre square. For the final seams between the rows, I pressed my seams open.
If you use this tutorial, I'd love to know!


  1. Thanks for the tutorial Rachel. I love the little block and I’m in awe of the pillow cover!

  2. Thanks for another awesome tutorial! I am pretty sure I will be making something with it fairly soon :)

  3. ooo thanks for sharing the tutorial... I will no doubt be back in future to try it! Cant wait to see the big reveal on your cushion!

  4. great tutorial - thanks for sharing :-)

  5. Love this block and your pillow. Thanks for pressing instructions. I'd love to see every pattern with those!!

  6. Thanks for the tutorial Rachel. I found it and you via Colleen at who has used the block to make pot holders.
    Allison, UK


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