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Make it Modern Pillows – June Tutorial

It’s Jamie again from Sew Brainy Designs and I’m back with my 2022 Make it Modern Pillows series! This year I’m bringing you some fresh and bold modern quilt blocks that were designed specifically to be 18″ pillows! They are quick and easy, plus they’re a good way to bust your scrap stash or show off that designer RBD fabric that you love!

In case you missed it, May’s pillow used the Sparkler line and some simple shapes to make this fun plaid-ish pattern. You can get that tutorial below!

June’s pillow is a fun play on simple stripes!

I grew up as that 80s/90s kid drawing a rainbow on everything, so I couldn’t resist a rainbow look with this pillow! Plus it’s PRIDE month and this can pillow easily be customized to any rainbow your heart desires!

You can never go wrong with brights! For real…they are the best!

Here’s my usual matchstick quilting design using Aurifil 50wt. white thread. It really kind of blends in here with the Texture print fabric and the brighter colors.

This month’s pillow features the RBD Basics collection Texture by Sandy Gervais. I love this collection because it reads as a solid but it gives a nice burlap texture to the fabric. The colors I used (in order from left to right) were Gold, Super Pink, Orange, Caribbean, and Key Lime.

And there are so many great colors of the Texture line to choose from…plus a few new ones are coming out this year! Seriously one of my favorite basics!

Now let’s make a pillow!

June 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 (FQ) = 18″ × 21″
  • Fat Eighth Precut = 9″ × 21″

Material Requirements

For the block (pillow top):

This pattern uses (1) background fabric [FABRIC A] and (5) accent fabrics [FABRICS B-F]. 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) 13″ × 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

Cut the fabric below in the specified order and label each cut with the letter/number in the [bracket].

From FABRIC A, cut:

  • (6) 3½” × 6½” rectangles [A2]
  • (6) 3½” squares [A1]

From FABRIC B cut:

  • (2) 3½” × 12½” rectangles [B2]
  • (2) 3½” squares [B1]

From FABRIC C, D, E, and F, cut:

  • (1) 3½” × 12½” rectangle [C2, D2, E2, F2]
  • (1) 3½” square [C1, D1, E1, F1]

Piecing Directions

1. Before beginning, prepare all (12) 3½” squares [A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, F1] by marking a diagonal line on the wrong side of the fabric from one corner to the opposite corner using a fabric marker.

2. For each 3½” × 12½” FABRIC B-F rectangle, you will be using (1) 3½” A1 square to create a triangle the bottom left corner using the “Stitch and Flip” method.

Pair (1) A1 square and (1) B2 rectangle RST as shown below, noting the position of the marked line. Stitch on the line, trim 1/4″ on the outside of the line, flip the triangle over, and press seam.

3. Repeat STEP 3 for the remaining (5) 3½” × 12½” FABRIC B-F rectangles.

4. For each 3½” × 6½” A2 rectangle, you will be using (1) 3½” FABRIC B-F square to create a triangle the top left corner using the “Stitch and Flip” method.

Pair (1) B1 square and (1) A2 rectangle RST as shown below, noting the position of the marked line. Stitch on the line, trim 1/4″ on the outside of the line, flip the triangle over, and press seam.

5. Repeat STEP 4 for the remaining (5) A2 rectangles and (5) B1, C1, D1, E1, and F1 3½” squares.

6. Lay out all rectangles as shown below. Sew the pair of vertical rectangles in each column together. Press seams.

7. Sew all the column strips together. Press seams.

Your block is now complete!

8. 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.

9. Create a finished edge on the long side of each of the (2) 13″ × 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

I’m also working on a 5-color version of all my blocks to make a sampler quilt. You can check out that post HERE on my blog. I’ll see you in July with some Blossom fabric and some squares!

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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