Sunday, September 27, 2009


It's become something of a family tradition that I sew a "Quillow" for my nieces and nephews for their 5th birthday.

For your enjoyment, here's instructions.


A quillow is a quilt which goes in a pocket, to form a pillow. There are two sets of instructions, how to make and how to fold.


The measurements and fabric are for a 44" x 72" lap quilt that will fold into an 18" square.

To modify size: for larger or smaller follow this simple formula:

Width is equal to finished pillow width x 2-1/2. Example: finished pillow width will be 14" x 2-1/2 equals a 35" width.

Length is equal to the finished pillow width x 4. Example: finished pillow width will be 14" x 4 equals a 56" length.


1. 45" wide fabric, totaling 5 yards as follows:

Color 1 (top color)

2.5 yards

Color 2 (bottom color)

2.5 yards

2. Batting to equal your cut fabric size, both body and pillow

3. One small, all purpose thread in a coordinating color

4. Hand sewing needle and possibly a thimble

5. Embroidery floss or yarn for tying, decorative stitch machine for tacking (Optional)


Sewing machine, scissors, straightedge, marking chalk or other marker, straight pins.

Making the Quillow

Step 1: Cut Fabric and Batting

For the pillow pocket cut as follows:

· 19" fabric square in color 1 (top)

· 19" fabric square in color 2 (bottom)

· 19" square of batting.

For the quilt body cut as follows:

· 73" long piece of fabric from the 45" fabric (if your fabric is wider, cut it into a 45" width) in color 1 (top)

· 73" long piece of fabric in color 2 (bottom)

· piece of batting 73" x 45"

Step 2: Sew Pillow Pocket Together

1. Place batting on flat surface.

2. Place color #2 (the bottom) RIGHT SIDE UP on batting.

3. Place color #1 (the top) RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top of #2 fabric.

4. Pin the fabric to the batting.

5. Using pins as markers, center a 6" x 8" opening on one side if the 19" square.

6. Keeping the batting side down, place one end of the opening you have marked under the presser foot of your machine at the 1/2 inch mark. Begin sewing and sew a 1/2" seam all around the square, stopping when you reach the other side of the opening you have marked.

7. Trim any uneven edges.

8. Reach into the opening between the two fabric layers and pull the layers right side out, so that the batting is in between.

9. Gently push out the corner points.

10. Close the seam allowance opening with hand stitches.

Step 3: Securing Batting Inside Pillow

1. Machine quilt a simple geometric figure at the center of the pillow pocket.

2. You may want to tie or make decorative tacks with your machine and not quilt, depending on your materials.

Step 4: Sewing the Quilt Body Together

1. Place quilt body batting on flat surface.

2. Place fabric color #2 (Bottom) RIGHT SIDE UP on batting.

3. Place fabric color #1 (top) RIGHT SIDE DOWN on top of the fabric color #2.

4. Pin the fabric to the batting.

5. Using pins as markers, center a 10" - 12" opening on one of the long sides of the quilt body.

6. Batting side down, place one end of the opening under the presser foot to give a 1/2 inch seam and lockstich or back stich in place.

7. Sew a 1/2" seam through all layers, all around the quilt body until you reach the beginning of the opening.

8. Trim any uneven edges.

9. Reach inside the opening between the fabric layers and pull the quilt body right side out, so batting is between fabric layers.

10. Gently push out the corners.

11. Close the seam opening (I usually use my machine, but hand stitching would work fine).

12. Tie the quilt with yarn. If you want, you can machine quilt instead.

13. Quilt the pillow top so that it will match the quilt body.

Step 5: Sew the Pillow to the Quilt Body

1. Lay out the quilt body so that color #2, the bottom, faces up.

2. Center the pillow pocket flush against one width of the body, or at the head of the quilt, so that color #2 faces up. This must be centered from edge to edge width wise.

3. Pin to the quilt body.

4. Sew the pillow pocket onto the quilt, stitching only on three sides of the pocket, leaving the side facing the quilt body or the toe of the quilt open. Be sure to reinforce stitches at beginning and end.

When you are finished, your quilt should look like this:


1. Place the quillow on a flat surface with the pillow pocket on the bottom.

2. Fold the quilt into thirds the long way by lapping the outside edges one over the other.

3. Pull the bottom of the pillow pocket up and over the lapped folds, so that you turn the pillow pocket "inside out" over the body of the quilt.

4. Fold the quillow into thirds lengthwise.

5. Grasp the second fold, the one furthest from the pillow, and stuff it into the inside pocket as far as it will go.

6. Smooth out the lumps and wrinkles.

Happy Quillowing!

1 comment:

Katie said...

Oh! my brother had one of those when we were kids. I thought it was so cool! I'm thinking about asking santa for a sewing machine this year, so maybe that can be on my "to do" list. I'm sure my girls would love them. thanks for the reminder!