Plethora of Pillows – Chevron Pillow

Plethora of Pillows


Last week I wrote a blog about a bolster pillow cover and pillow insert in the Golden Age collection and promised a coordinating round pillow today for my second Plethora of Pillows contribution.

I changed my mind –  due to extenuating circumstances. Today you are going see my 12″ x 16″ Chevron pillow being constructed. I didn’t really have a pattern – just basic instructions on how to make pieced chevrons I found in a book I reviewed for work called The Quilter’s Palette by Katy Denny.

This is definitely a “Do as I say, not as I do (did)” sort of blog posting because I made some mistakes. I will try to explain these accidental creative adjustments as I go along.

The Fabrics
I seem to be in a  neutral mode right now with several projects, so it is not surprising I was drawn to 6634 Elegant Bouquet Pale Latte for the focal fabric. I chose 6570 Everlasting Scroll Lt Beige for the lightest color value and three other fabrics ranging from light tan, medium brown to dark brown.


Chevron Assembly
The first step was to sew two strip sets. I decided to use 2″ x width of a fat quarter strips which luckily turned out to be just the right size for my pillow. I find it is important to sew the strips in pairs, press, join the pairs, press, add the last strip, and press. Waiting to press until the strips are all sewn together makes it much more difficult and less likely I will have a straight, precisely pressed strip set. The seams in the light set were pressed downward and the darker pressed upward.

Mistake #1 – The good news is that I remembered the cuts needed to be in opposite directions. The bad news is that I cut them the direction of the strip sets on the left, but they should have been like the ones on the right according to the chevron instructions. I don’t think this made much difference in the end result.

Ann-Dwg1a       Ann-Dwg1
The diagonal cuts were made by placing the 45° angle on a ruler along the edge or a seam. Once the first cut was made, I cut every 2″. I was able to get five cuts per strip set.

Ann-Cut2 Ann-Cut3

The cuts from the darker strip set are lined up next to each other like Seminole piecing, which has nothing to do with this project but looks interesting. Then I cut the lighter set the opposite direction.

Ann-Cut4 Ann-Cut5

Here are the light and dark segments lined up for sewing.  I used five of the light sections and four of the darker.


Because the seam allowances in the strip sets were pressed in opposite directions, the seams nested easily for accurate seam alignment. I did pin each seam but if the seams on top are folded toward the sewing machine needle, pinning may not be necessary. I pressed the seams all in one direction.


Next, the edges were trimmed. I think the measurement was about 9-1/2″ x 13-1/2″ at this point.


I added 2-1/4″ borders of the focal fabric.


Mistake #2 – This is definitely the most critical misstep in the chevron construction. I knew I needed four fabrics – a light and light-medium pair, and a medium and dark pair. I chose to put the two lightest fabrics in the same strip set and the two darker ones in the other. That is what you see in the images above.

To get a more distinct chevron with a stronger 3-D appearance, I needed to pair the light and medium together and light-medium and dark together in strip sets. Hopefully this will be clearer in the drawings below.



Pillow Assembly
To make the envelope back, I cut two 13-1/4″ squares and pressed one edge in 1/2″. The same edge was folded again at 1″ and pressed. The photo shows using the helpful Hot Hemmer to make precisely measured folds.


The pillow front was placed right side up. One back piece was laid wrong side down with the folded edge in the center and the raw edges aligned. This was repeated with the other back section.

Ann-Side1  Ann-Side1

The front and back sections were sewn together around the perimeter with a 1/2″ seam allowance, turned right side out, and pressed. I did trim the corners before turning the pillow cover right side out.  A Point 2 Point Turner helped push out the corners completely. A Hobbs 12″ x 16″  Pillow Insert was inserted into the envelope-style back.

Mistake #3- To be honest, the pillow cover was a bit too long and I added some fiberfill inside at the ends. I could have used 2″ (or 1-1/2″) borders strips and 13″ (or 12-1/2″) squares for the back, but I hated to cut off any more of the pretty focal border.

Despite my mistakes, it turned out pretty well! This is one of those instances where others may not notice the errors as much as I do… but there is something off about those chevrons! It works as well as it does because all four fabrics are values of off-white to dark brown. If two shades of off-white and two darker values of another color such as red were used, it would look even more like stripes than chevrons.


Here is the envelope-style back.


Thanks for sharing my personal “teachable moment” with me! Considering I was winging it without a pattern, I am pleased with the results and what I learned from the process.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

By the way, if you want to make a 12″ x 16″ pillow cover with a non-pieced front and use the pillow insert we carry, be sure to check out the Pillow-to-Go pattern and our goofy blog about it. I keep my pillow in the car all the time – to use for sleeping, lower back support, or for head support against the head rest. Love it!

I’ll start working on that round pillow I promised you….



  1. Teri - August 13, 2014

    It looks cute, it’s not mistakes but things that make your pillow UNIQUE! Quit telling your secrets or everyone’s pillow will look like yours 🙂

  2. Ann - August 13, 2014

    Thanks Teri! Unique it is! The pillow does have a graphic element and a 3-D look…just not the standard chevrons I started off seeking. Being an instructional blog without a pattern to link to, I wanted to give as much correct information as possible. I did like the construction technique and fabrics,and will enjoy using the pillow. Hope others do too!

  3. Annette - August 13, 2014

    Are there any printed instructions on how to put a zipper in for a pillow?? I would love to learn to do this.

  4. JENNI - August 13, 2014

    Super cute!

  5. Ann - August 13, 2014

    Jenni – Thanks!
    Annette – We have a tutorial on how to put a zipper in a round pillow called “How to Sew Throw Pillow Covers” on the CT website:

  6. MaryAgnes - August 13, 2014

    Why not adopt Julia Child’s philosophy–There’s no such thing as a mistake. No matter what it looked like, or tasted like, that’s the way she intended it to look or taste. And your pillows look great. I’d never have guessed it isn’t perfect.

  7. Ann - August 13, 2014

    Thanks Mary Agnes! Since I was trying to demonstrate piecing chevrons – which are so popular right now – I wanted to show how to improve on what I did to accomplish that goal. What I found interesting was the importance of color value placement and how changes can alter the design. I did come up with another design and it is growing on me! Thanks so much for your wise words!

  8. Shannon Olden - August 13, 2014

    eureka!! i have stayed away from chevrons because of the many hsts! this is a far better way!! one pillow coming up in isle of enchantment!

  9. Ann - August 13, 2014

    Shannon, I am so glad you are excited about this technique. Please note the color placement comments under Mistake #2 for successful chevrons. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!

  10. Ann - August 13, 2014

    Shannon, also if you don’t care about the 3-D shadow effect, you can just use two fabrics. Make two strip sets but cut them in opposite directions.

    • Shannon Olden - August 13, 2014

      thanks for both tips. my dd is coming tomorrow and we may sew together. i bought utopia to make a duvet cover and a stack for cushions! can’t wait to get started!

      • Ann - August 13, 2014

        Shannon – I wish my daughter lived close enough to come over and sew. Have fun!

        • Shannon Olden - August 13, 2014

          thanks! she lives an hour and 1/2 away but has an appt. here in the big city LOL.

  11. Linda - August 20, 2014

    this pillow is so gorgeous it really caught my eye, and I am not a fan of chevron, so it is definitely not a mistake, totally classy!!

  12. Ann - August 20, 2014

    Linda – Glad you like it. I guess my missteps led to a new design idea!

  13. envelopes for photo packages - September 23, 2014

    When I originally commented I licked thee “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now eacch time a comment is added I get three e-mails wiith the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove mme from tuat service?
    Appreciate it!