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Make it Modern Pillows – August 2023 Tutorial

It’s Jamie again from Sew Brainy Designs! Last year I brought you a bunch of modern pillow patterns that I hope you had fun making. And guess what…I’m back again with more pillows this year! In case you missed 2022 pillow fun, you can click the link below. New this year is a fun Facebook Group so we can all sew along together! The group is brand new and I hope you’ll join and sew along with me.

July’s pillow used split quarter square triangles to make little triangle gems. In case you missed it, click on the link below to check it out.

August’s block uses some little chunky log cabin units that have a fun offset horizontal repeat.

I definitely like the movement!

There are so many fun color schemes you could do for this!

It’s always fun to mix and match bright colors like this!

I did a 1/2″ grid quilting with Aurifil 50wt. white thread for this fantastic texture!

This month’s pillow features Blossom Fabric by Christopher Thompson. The colors I used (in order from top to bottom) were Eggplant, Fuchsia, Peony, Cranberry, Raspberry, Salmon, Cayenne, Orange, and Honey.

I love these tiny tossed flowers!

Now let’s make a pillow!

August 2023 Pillow Tutorial

Pattern Notes

  • Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  • Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless specified.
  • RST = Right Sides Together
  • Fat Quarter (FQ) Precut = 18″ × 21″
  • Press all seams open (or in preferred direction) unless specified.
  • To avoid confusion, there is no Fabric I.

Material Requirements

For the block (pillow top):

This pattern uses (1) background fabric [FABRIC A] and (9) accent fabrics [FABRICS B-K]. Below are the requirements to make ONE 18″ block.

For the pillow body:

  • (1) 22-24″ square piece of muslin or other fabric (for quilting the top)
  • (1) 22-24″ square piece of batting (for quilting the top)
  • (2) 13½” × 18½” pieces of backing fabric (for the pillow envelope)
  • (1) 20″ pillow form (my favorite one to use is the FJÄDRAR from IKEA!)

Cutting Directions


  • (3) 1½” × 18½” [A4]
  • (9) 1½” × 5½” [A3]
  • (9) 1½” × 3″ [A2]
  • (9) 1½” × 2″ [A1]

From each of the FABRICS B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K cut:

  • (1) 3″ × 5½” [B3, C3, D3, E3, F3, G3, H3, J3, K3]
  • (1) 3″ square [B2, C2, D2, E2, F2, G2, H2, J2, K2]
  • (1) 2″ square [B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1, H1, J1, K1]

Piecing Directions

1. Lay out 1 of each: A1, A2, and D1 as shown below. Sew the A1 to the left of D1. Press the seam.

2. Sew the A1 on top of the A1/D1 unit. Press the seam.

3. Lay out the A1/D1 unit from STEP 2, along with the B2 and B3 as shown below. Sew the B2 to the left of the A1/D1 unit. Press the seam.

4. Sew the B3 on top of the A1/D1/B2 unit. Press the seam. This is a (1) LOG CABIN UNIT.

5. Repeat STEPS 1-4 to create (8) additional LOG CABIN UNITS.

6. Lay out all (9) LOG CABIN UNITS along with the (9) A3 sashing strips as shown below. Sew the (6) pieces in each row together and press seams.

NOTE: Before you sew, double check the counter clockwise rotation of the blocks and placement of A3 strips in the second row.

7. Lay out the (3) rows and the (3) A4 LONG SASHING STRIPS as shown below. Sew all pieces together and press seams.

8. Your block is now complete!

9. Layer the completed block on top of the 22-24″ batting and muslin squares and quilt the pillow top as desired. When you are done, trim the block to 18½”.

Note – if you add dense quilting, your top may shrink a bit in size. Just trim it to the largest square that you can. You can trim the width of envelope backing fabric a bit in the next step if needed in order to match your actual top size.

10. Create a finished edge on the long side of each of the (2) 13½″ × 18½” pieces of envelope backing by folding 1/2″ of fabric over the wrong side TWICE. Stitch a seam near the edge to secure it.

11. With the square top facing up, layer the envelope pieces RST on top of it as shown below and sew a 3/8″ seam around the edge of the pillow top.

12. Trim the edges of the corners a bit to reduce bulk. Turn the pillow case inside out and insert your pillow form. Your pillow is now done! Enjoy your fun modern make!

I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pillows everyone makes! They can be very addicting! Be sure to share them on social media! #makeitmodernpillows #iloverileyblake #sewbrainydesigns.

If you check out my blog, I have some more color mockups and some freebie coloring pages you can download. Plus a sneak peek of a companion quilt pattern for this block that’s coming soon!

I’ll see you in September with some POParazzi Fabric and some flying geese! Don’t forget to join us in the Facebook Group!

Until later, happy quilting!


Jamie is the creative brain behind Sew Brainy Designs. This self-proclaimed science nerd loves bright colors, big blocks, Mid-century modern design, and using as few seams as possible. Find all of her Make It Modern Pillows on the Riley Blake Designs blog!

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