I have been meaning to show you how to make a quillow for ages and now here it is. If you haven’t come across the term before, a quillow is a combination of a quilt and a pillow – the cushion cover is attached to the quilt and the quilt can be folded up and stowed inside the cover. This gives you a spare cushion and a neat and tidy way of storing your quilt. The quilt measures 48″ square, the cushion is 16″ square and I have used about 3/4 yard of red fabric, 1/2 yard of blue and 1.3/4 yards of white fabric. I have used a quilt block called Year’s Favourite which I thought was appropriate for this time of the year.
4.7/8″ squares: forty each in red and white, twenty each in blue and white
4.1/2″ squares: forty white
One 16.1/2″ square of fabric for the cushion backing
Backing and wadding: one 52″ square of each
Binding: five 2.1/2″ strips cut across the width of fabric
How to make a quillow top
Make half square triangles with the 4.7/8″ squares in either red and white or blue and white as listed above. Place two squares with right sides together and mark a line along the diagonal. Sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line and cut along the line. This will produce two half square triangles which are now 4.1/2″ squares.
Lay the patchwork squares out in four rows of four. I have used a very simple block so that I can concentrate on how to make a quillow. The blue/white half square triangles form a pinwheel in the middle and there are three red/white half square triangles and one white square along each edge of the block. You’ll have to check the photo to be sure which way to place the triangles.
Sew the squares together across each row and then sew the rows together. Make ten of these blocks. Sew nine of them together in three rows of three blocks to form a quilt top 48.1/2″ square.
Place the backing fabric with right side down and smooth gently. Lay the wadding on top and smooth again. Place the year’s favourite quilt on top. Pin to secure and quilt to secure the three layers together. I have just used a general meander quilting across the entire quilt – stitch in the ditch around each block to stabilise the area and then quilt gentle curves all over the block.
Trim the edges of the quilt so that the edges of all three layers are in line. If I’m glossing over these stages, it’s because there are full details of these steps in the beginner quilting section.
How to make a quillow
The next step is to add the tenth block to the quilt to form a pouch so that the quilt can be folded to fill the cushion. Lay the cushion backing against the tenth quilt block with right sides together. I have used red velvet for the cushion backing because I like the fabric, it shows up well in the photos so that you can see what I am doing, and because it makes a lovely soft pouch on the quilt if you want to tuck your feet into the pouch when you are cuddling up in the quillow.
Sew the backing and the quilt block together along three edges to form a pouch. Turn right side out and push the corners out gently. I haven’t done any quilting on this block because it would have been difficult on the velvet. As a result, the block is more visible on the front of the quillow, showing up against the other blocks which have been quilted. If you are using a cotton fabric for the cushion backing you may prefer to quilt the block. All I have done is topstitch around the three edges of the block about 1/4″ in from the edge.
Lay the tenth block on the front of the quillow with the backing fabric against the quilt. The fourth, unsewn edge of the block should be lined up with the middle block of the bottom edge of the quilt. Sew two lines of stitching up each side of the block to secure it to the quillow. The top of the block remains unsewn so that you can fold the quilt into the pouch. The bottom edge remains unsewn because it will be sewn to the quilt when the binding is added.
The quillow is now almost complete. It just remains to sew the binding on as for any quilt. Just take care that all the layers are included in the stitching when you stitch across the bottom of the quilt where the extra block has been added.
How to fold a quillow
Folding the quillow so that you can make it into a pillow or cushion is not difficult but you need to follow a few steps. Lay the quilt out with right side down. Fold each side in so that the quilt is in three layers.
The cushion backing (the extra quilt block) is at the bottom. Pull this to the front so that the backing (red velvet) is on top and the lower third of the quillow is tucked inside the pouch.
You should now have the red velvet layer at the top and two thirds of the quillow stretching out above it. Fold the top of the quilt down so that the top block covers the middle block. Now it just remains to fold the top of the quilt (on the right in the photo) inside the pouch formed by the red velvet on the left in the photo.
You now have a pillow or cushion with a quilt inside waiting to be unfolded whenever you want to use the quillow.
I think that learning how to make a quillow is a great idea for someone who is short of space. This is perhaps a good time to point out that I have chosen to make my quillow with the cushion cover part on the front but you could just as easily sew the cushion pouch to the back of the quilt if you wanted it not to be visible on the front. You could also use a plain cotton fabric for the cushion backing or you could sew the cushion backing on the other way up so that the back of the pillow/cushion was also a quilt block. Never forget that this is your project and you can experiment with different options for your quillow.
Here’s the video:
I hope that you have enjoyed the festive season so far and I want to send you warmest wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.