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Make it Modern Pillows – May 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.

April’s pillow had some fun and easy squares with good movement! In case you missed it, click on the link below to check it out.

For May’s block I went a bit rainbow retro!

Some simple piecing gives a fun 3D effect!

This would look great in rainbow colors too!

This is definitely a palette that gives vintage vibes.

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

This month’s pillow features the new RBD Basics collection Dainty Daisy by Beverly McCullough. The colors I used (in order from top to bottom) were Peony, Lipstick, Honey, Alpine, and Pumpkin.

The pattern has a great texture that I love and there are a bunch of new colors coming out this year!

Now let’s make a pillow!

MAY 2023 Pillow Tutorial

Pattern Notes

  • Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  • Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless specified.
  • FAT QUARTER Precut = 18″ × 21″
  • FAT EIGHTH Precut = 9″ × 21″
  • Press all seams open (or in preferred direction) unless specified.

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) 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) 4½” × 12½” [A5]
  • (1) 2″ × 12½” [A4]
  • (1) 4½” × 6½” [A3]
  • (1) 2″ × 6½” [A2]
  • (1) 3″ [A1]

From each of the FABRICS B, C, D, E, F cut:

  • (1) 3” × 12½[B3, C3, D3, E3, F3]
  • (1) 3” × 6½[B2, C2, D2, E2, F2]
  • (1) 3” square [B1, C1, D1, E1, F1]

Piecing Directions

  1. Using your preferred marking tool, prepare all A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, and F1 squares by marking a diagonal line on the wrong side from one corner to the opposite corner.

2. For the A5 rectangle, you will be using (1) B1 square to create a triangle the top right corner using the “Stitch and Flip” method.

Pair (1) B1 square and (1) A5 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 2 to create the following combinations below for the long strips.

4. Lay out all the pieces from STEPS 2 and 3 and sew together to create the BOTTOM SECTION of the block. Press Seams.

5. Lay out the A2, B2, C2, D2, E2, F2, and A3 rectangles as shown below. Sew together to create the TOP SECTION of the block. Press seams.

6. Lay out the TOP and BOTTOM SECTIONS of the block. Sew together and press the seam.

7. 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, 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) 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.

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.

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 June with some Painter’s Watercolor Swirl and some diamonds!

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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