It’s a Challenge!

I have a confession to make. As you may or may not know, I’ve spent most of this year making pillows. At first I was testing Mari’s candle mat patterns and turning them into pillows, because candle mats and busy two year olds don’t really mix! Then I moved on to a Dresden Plate design for Gifty Galore, then I messed with one of Mari’s candle mat designs and made a big pillow (bigger than I expected anyway), and then . . . well . . . then I just kept going. And yes, I have a pattern in the works for more sunflower pillows!

I guess I’ve developed a little bit of a pillow mania. There I’ve said it.

So now I want to share my mania with you! I’ve challenged everyone at Connecting Threads to make a little pillow. There aren’t many rules to this challenge. There are no prizes, this is just for fun.  I drafted some easy directions on how to finish the back. Most of us are using the 12″ x 16″ travel pillow (this is a free pattern). What I did was make a 12″ x 16″ mini quilt – backed and quilted. Then, before adding the binding, I sewed on an envelope-style pillow backing.

Envelope Backing: For the 12″ x 16″ pillow I cut two 12″ squares. For a different size your measurements will be the shortest side of the quilt by 2/3 of the longest side plus 1-1/2″.  Cut two of these.

Press a 1/2″ to the wrong side across the shortest edge, then fold and press 1″ to the wrong side. Stitch close to the first fold and repeat on the other back piece.

Now pin the two backing pieces, right side up, to the back of the quilt matching the raw edges. The finished edges should overlap in the center of the quilt. Baste in place. (Yes this is my pillow for the challenge – You’ll have to wait to see the front.)

Finally add your binding as usual with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  I cut my binding 2-1/8″ or 2-1/4″ wide to accommodate the extra fabric.

These pillows can be quick and easy to make or ridiculously complex (I know my colleagues). Size is completely optional. Really, the only rule is that it has to be done and ready for “show and tell” at our department meeting October 24th, 2013. 

What do you think they will make? Join us if you dare. If you want to share pictures of your pillows, email your photo to our marketing director and she will put it up in the blog post when we show off everyone’s finished pillows after October 24th.

Sue Terpin – Pillow crazy


  1. Jenni - September 24, 2013

    All those pillows are so cute and happy together! I love pillow mania!!

  2. Mari - September 24, 2013

    Challenge… ACCEPTED!!! Wahoo!

  3. Anita - September 24, 2013

    I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. I can’t wait to see what I come up with. LOL

  4. Laraine - September 24, 2013

    I fear my ideas are far exceeding my abilities but I’m going to give it a try!

  5. Jenna - September 24, 2013

    um, these are the coolest pillows ever! What a cool challenge. Thanks Sue!!

  6. Judy - September 24, 2013

    This is the easiest pattern to make. It is great for a beginner. I love it and I will be ready!!!

  7. Teri - September 24, 2013

    Oh it’s on!!!

  8. Katrina - September 24, 2013

    In the words of Barney Stinson, and apparently Mari, challenge ACCEPTED! Can’t wait to see what sort of creations everyone comes up with!

  9. KattPatt - September 24, 2013

    it is sew on.

  10. Ann - September 25, 2013

    I have two ideas – one hand-pieced and the other has an unusual block made with the Tri-Rec ruler…Love a good challenge!

  11. Sherry S - November 16, 2013

    I think pillows are a great project for using up scraps, testing color combos or just refreshing a room.

  12. DonnaRae - November 17, 2013

    Love the monster pillow. Wish I had kids to sew for!

  13. Libby - May 3, 2016

    Wow! These balloons are amazing! I just found your site from a pin on Pinterest. Too bad you are Albuquerque, New Mexico right now. You would sell a ton of these at the Inaitnrteonal Balloon Fiesta which begins tomorrow, Oct 6, 2012. Thanks for the tutorial!

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