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Utility Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour

I was invited to join fellow Art Gallery Fabrics designer Sharon Holland’s blog tour for her new book, Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living, and I was so happy to say yes and have an excuse to spend some time sewing.

Now, I am not a quilter, and in fact I wouldn’t even consider myself a very skilled sewer. For better or for worse, my mom taught me a style of sewing in which I just wing it and figure out what I’m making as I go along, so that tends to be the way I sew to this day. I chose the Pixel quilt from Sharon’s book and made it my own by using a couple of the quilt blocks she created to form a pillow (because making a whole quilt still seems wayyyy too scary!).

I used my upcoming Tallinn fabric collection (my debut collection with Art Gallery Fabrics). What a joy to sew with my own fabrics!

Sharon’s instructions were so easy to follow, even for a winging-it-style sewist like me. :)

Here’s the fabric assortment I decided to work with:

I decided to make 2 full blocks for the pillow, and to combine it with 2 solid squares, to make a sort-of checkerboard pillow.

The first thing I did was cut a bunch of 2 1/2″ squares. Because I didn’t properly read the instructions before beginning to cut (typical), I saw each block as having 25 squares rather than noticing some pieces were actually 2 1/2 x 5″ rectangles. No matter! I could sew 2 squares into rectangles later.

So, I cut fifty (50) 2 1/2″ rectangles from my fabric assortment. (There were 16 pink squares, which would form the rectangle pieces.)

Next I cut two (2) 10 1/2″ squares from this light blue Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements solid:

The next step was sewing all but the pink squares and two pieces that would be the center square in each block into pairs of two (I used a 1/4″ seam allowance throughout):

After sewing I pressed them each flat.

I didn’t pay too much attention to what I was pairing together, as I wanted the design to be random. Once they were sewn, I started laying it out into the two different blocks:

Next I sewed each quadrant into a square of four (4) squares, pressing them flat when I was finished (I pressed the seams open in the back, too, which you can see here in the bottom right square):

Then I sewed the pink squares into pink pairs of two (this is how I corrected my cutting mistake!):

Then I sewed the top 2 quadrants and the top pink rectangle together to form a row:

I then sewed the middle and bottom rows together, pressed each section flat, then sewed all three rows together, and pressed them flat again:

After following those same steps to finish the second block, I laid out the pillow. As you can see, my blocks don’t match up perfectly and are a little wonky… this is where my lack of skill and precision really shows. Oh well! Gotta learn somehow, right?

I sewed the two right and left pieces together, then the bottom right and left pieces, pressed them both flat, and then sewed them together along the center line, so all four quadrants were connected in one big square, which would become the front of my pillow.

I cut a piece of batting to be just slightly larger than my pillow front, which was measuring about 20×20″, and placed the pillow front on top of it:

Then it was time to quilt! I admit, I have no idea what I’m doing and have zero skills or tricks to share as far as how to quilt anything. The way I thought about it was that I just needed to attach the batting to the fabric in some way, and the sky was the limit. When I first starting thinking about this project, I thought I’d just do some simple straight lines to quilt it, but apparently my creative muse had other ideas for me when the time came:

I had fun sewing lines and diagonals and triangles and seeing what happened! Here’s how it turned out when I was done quilting:

Then it was time to turn it into a pillow. Since I don’t really know how to sew a zipper (and am intimidated by it), I opted for a simple overlapping pillow back.

I cut two (2) pieces from the same light blue fabric measuring 20×14″ each. I folded one edge of each piece over twice to create a “hem” (I folded it down about 1/4″) and pressed flat, then sewed along the edge and pressed again. I layered the pieces (right side down) on top of the quilted pillow front (right side up) so the edges matched up and the overlap was in the center:

Next I sewed all around the edges and snipped each of the four corners:

I turned the pillow cover right side out next, popped in a pillow form (the one I had available was 18×18″, and my pillow cover ended up being about 19 1/2×19 1/2″, so I could’ve probably gotten away with using a 20×20″ pillow form for a tighter fit), and voila! The finished pillow:

I’m pleased with how it turned out, given my beginner skills, my lack of following directions, and my knack for winging it and figuring it out.

Plus, I think it looks kind-of coo with the pillows that are currently on my couch, so that was a nice bonus. :)

Signed copies of Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living can be purchased by US residents directly from Sharon in her new online store, and you can also get the book through Amazon.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you visit the whole tour! Yesterday Sarah from Designs by Sarah J posted a lovely project from the book, and tomorrow Lisa from Love to Color My World will be sharing her creation for the tour.

Also, here’s the full line up in case you want to look back or ahead on the tour:

Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples – Fabric Mutt
Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend – During Quiet Time
Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell – Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson – Gigi’s Thimble
Friday 12/8  Karen O’Connor – Lady K Quilts Designs
Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart – Olive Grace Studios
Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters – A Stranger View
Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell – Designs by Sarah J
Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift – Jessica Swift
Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble – Love to Color My World
Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens – Live a Colorfullife
Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian – Sew and Tell Project
Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder – Anjeanette K
Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron – Modern Sewciety
Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson – The Tattooed Quilter
Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted – Hopewood Home

Enjoy!

16 Responses to Utility Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour

  1. Margo Rhyme December 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    The pillow turned out so pretty. Your talent is amazing.

    • Jessica Swift December 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

      Thank you for the lovely compliment!

  2. June December 12, 2017 at 5:28 pm #

    Boy impressed! Your did a great job of describing how you created this project, and are to be admired for how beautiful it looks! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jessica Swift December 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

      Thank you so much – what a lovely compliment!

  3. Anna brown December 12, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

    Ty for your input on this book and I loved your pillow….. happyness04431@yahoo.com

    • Jessica Swift December 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

      Thank you! :)

  4. usairdoll December 12, 2017 at 10:57 pm #

    I love your pillow! Your post had me smiling as sometimes I also have “wing-it” moments, hehe. Your blocks are fun and colorful and your quilting is the perfect added detail. You did a super job! Thanks for sharing.

    • Jessica Swift December 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

      Thank you thank you! I guess maybe we all have those ‘wing it’ moments. ;)

  5. Diane B December 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    Hi Jessica, I love that diagonal quilting on your Pure Elements solid.
    That’s my style of quilting…..wing it til it works. Totally cool pillow and yes it’s fitting right in w/your current couch pillows.
    Congrats on your upcoming AGF Fabric Colleciton, I’ll be looking for it:)

    • Jessica Swift December 13, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

      Thank you, Diane! Yep, wing it til it works. Exactly! :)

  6. Eleri December 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm #

    Jessica! This is just beautifuil! I loved your pattern choice and what you did. I’m sharing my project on Friday but I accidentally was overzealous in my cutting on a few blocks and just sewed my extra squares together, too!

    • Jessica Swift December 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

      Awwww, thank you so much, Eleri! Can’t wait to see what you created! :)

  7. Julie Averill December 13, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    You did a great job !!!!!

    • Jessica Swift December 14, 2017 at 11:58 am #

      Thanks so much!

  8. Barb K. December 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    Nice job of quilting on what turned out to be a very pretty project!

    • Jessica Swift December 22, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

      thank you so much!

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