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Make it Modern Pillows – February 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 those, 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.

My fresh new designs for 2023 are my usual 18″ bold and geometric blocks. I opted for a few more colors per pillow (most have 8), but they are still quick, easy, and scrap friendly!

January’s pillow had some simple triangles in a nice repeating pattern. In case you missed it, click on the link below to check it out.

Here’s February block with a modern take on a log cabin design.

You get more colors than if you just used single color strips plus fresh pops of white!

This pattern would be awesome in any colors! Plus it’s definitely scrap friendly!

I really like this sweet palette too!

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

This month’s pillow features the Bee Cross Stitch collection from the Lori Holt. The colors I used (from top to bottom) were Coral, Taffy, Plum, Soldier, Cottage, and Riley Green.

Lori always has such fun colors!

Now let’s make a pillow!

February 2023 Pillow Tutorial

Pattern Notes

  • Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  • Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless specified.
  • WOF = Width of Fabric; pattern assumes yardage is a minimum of 42″
  • RST = Right sides together
  • Press all seams open (or in preferred direction) unless specified.
  • Fat Quarter Precut = 18″ × 21″

Material Requirements

For the block (pillow top):

This pattern uses (1) background fabric [FABRIC A] and (6) accent fabrics [FABRICS B-G]. 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


  • (1) 3½” × 15½” [A5]
  • (1) 3½” × 12½” [A4]
  • (1) 3½” × 9½” [A3]
  • (1) 3½” × 6½” [A2]
  • (1) 3½” square [A1]

From each of the FABRICS B, C, and D, cut:

  • (2) 3½” × 6½” [B1, C1, D1]

From each of the FABRICS E, F, and G, cut:

  • (1) 3½” × 6½” [E1, F1, G1]
  • (1) 3½” square [E2, F2, G2]

Piecing Directions

1. Lay out the pieces as shown below and sew each row together as indicated. Press seams. These are the longer strips you will use later to construct the log cabin.

2. Lay out the E2/A1 piece and (1) B1 piece as shown below. Sew the B1 on the bottom and press the seam. This unit will be the top right corner of the block.

3. Lay out the A2 and A3 pieces with the corner unit as shown below. Sew the A2 piece to the bottom of the unit. Press the seam.

4. Sew the A3 to the left side of the unit. Press the seam.

5. Lay out the G1/F1 piece and D1/C1 piece with the growing corner unit as shown below. Sew the G1/F2 to the bottom of the unit. Press the seam.

6. Sew the D1/C1 to the left side of the unit. Press the seam.

7. Lay out the A4 and A5 pieces with the growing corner unit as shown below. Sew the A4 to the bottom of the unit. Press the seam.

8. Sew the A5 to the left side of the unit. Press the seam.

9. Lay out the B1/D1/C1 piece and G2/E1/F1 piece with the growing corner unit as shown below. Sew the B1/D1/C1 to the bottom of the unit. Press the seam.

10. Sew the G2/E1/F1 to the left side of the unit. Press the seam.

11. Your block is now complete!

12. 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 like I did, 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.

13. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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 March with some Swiss Dot fabric and some half square triangles!

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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