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Make it Modern Pillows – November 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.

October’s pillow used squares and rectangles for fun geometric design that kind of had an improv look. In case you missed it, click on the link below to check it out.

November’s block uses strips of fabric to make a fun weaved design.

It would look good in prints or solids!

This pattern would be great for scraps or fussy cutting novelty fabric!

I love solids, but it’s fun to play with patterns sometimes!

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

This month’s pillow features Bee Vintage fabric by Lori Holt. The colors I used (in order from top to bottom) were Mildred Red, Lula Tea Rose, Suzanne Coral, Elaine Tea Rose, Edith Pink, and Gladys Melon.

This collection has such fun patterns!

Now let’s make a pillow!

November 2023 Pillow Tutorial

Pattern Notes

  • Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  • Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless specified.
  • 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 (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


  • (9) 3½” squares [A1]


  • (1) 3½” × 6½” [B2]
  • (3) 3½” squares [B1]

From each ACCENT FABRIC C and D, cut:

  • (1) 3½” × 9½” [C2, D2]
  • (1) 3½” × 6½” [C1, D1]

From each ACCENT FABRIC E, F and G, cut:

  • (1) 3½” × 9½” [E2, F2, G2]
  • (1) 3½” square [E1, F1, G1]

Piecing Directions

This pattern has 5 different sections to construct before you can piece it together. It may help to pre-plan fabric location before sewing the blocks.


1. Lay out (2) A1, E1, and C2 as shown below.

2. Sew (1) A1 on the left and right sides of the E1 square. Press seams.

3. Sew the C2 rectangle on the bottom of the previous (A/E/A) unit. Press the seam.


4. Lay out (1) A1, B2, C1, and F1 as shown below.

5. Sew A1 on the left side of the F1 square. Press the seam.

6. Sew the C1 rectangle on the bottom of the previous (A/F) unit. Press the seam.

7. Sew the B2 rectangle to the left side of the unit in STEP 6. Press the seam.


8. Lay out (2) A1, G1, and E2 as shown below.

9. Sew (1) A1 on the top and bottom of the G1 square. Press the seams.

10. Sew the E2 rectangle to the right side of the previous (A/G/A) unit. Press the seam.


11. Lay out (4) A1, (2) B1, and G2 as shown below.

12. Sew (1) A1 on the left and right sides of the B1 square. Press the seams.

13. Repeat STEP 12 with the second set of (2) A1 and (1) B1 squares. Press the seams.

14. Sew one A/B/A unit on the top and on the bottom of the G2 rectangle. Press the seams.


15. Lay out the B1, C1, and C2 as shown below.

16. Sew the C2 to the left side of the B1 square, then sew the C1 to the right side of the B1 square. Press the seams.

17. Lay out all (5) SECTIONS and the F2 rectangle as shown below.

NOTE: Double check the orientation of the blocks before sewing.

18. Sew the (2) blocks in ROW 1 together. Press the seam.

19. Sew the (3) blocks in ROW 2 together. Press the seams.

20. Sew all (3) rows together and press the seams.

21. Your block is now complete!

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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 December with Solids and some arrows! 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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