I made a travel pillow for my upcoming trip to Austin for QuiltCon.
I’d been thinking about making one but left the thought in the back of my head without doing anything about it, until I saw the Project Quilting email with this week’s challenge – to finish something with orphan blocks or UFOs. Right up my alley! But with less than a week to make something I thought, hmm, something small – oh – the travel pillow!
A quick google search found plenty of patterns and tutorials, and I downloaded a template from The Cottage Mama at www.thecottagehome.blogspot.com. A quick search of my UFO bins turned up a pile of leftover 4-patches – perfect. After playing with layout I decided to find a background fabric to use with the 4-patches to round out the shape needed. I choose a leaf-print brown from my fat-quarter stash. I figured brown was a good color for a travel pillow – it won’t show the dirt.
My 4-patches were 4-inch (finished), so I cut the following pieces from the FQ: 2 rectangles 4 1/2 by 6 1/2, 4 rectangles 2 1/2 by 4 1/2, and 4 strips 2 1/2 by 8 1/2. Here’s the layout for all the pieces, top shown but I also made a patchwork bottom (so I can use either side).
I sewed the pieces into columns first then sewed those together until I had this panel:
Next I layered with scrap cotton batting and light-weight interfacing on the bottom (pieces about 11×17 inches), and quilted the sandwiches. I kept it simple, about 1/8th of an inch to either side of the seams. I also worked fast – don’t look too close.
Once quilted I place the two sections face to face, pinned them after some fussy alinement, then pinned the cut-out pattern on top. I had to modify it slightly because my panels were a hair too narrow.
My pattern was for half the pillow, which I used as is, but if you do this you could trace it onto freezer paper and iron in place. I pinned it down, stitched around the edge leaving a couple inches along what becomes the back of the pillow. Then I unpinned and reset the pattern for the other side (yes, right on my sewing machine bed with the needle down) and stitched that, stopping about 2 inches from the end of the pattern. After unpinning, I stitched the seam again.
I cut out the pillow about 1/4 inch or so from the seam, then notched the seam allowance.
I wasn’t sure how well this thing would turn given the several layers in the seam, but it was fine. My only problem was the approximately 4 inch opening was not quite enough to fit my hand inside, but it turned okay anyway. The seam, once pushed into place with my fingers, was fine. If this were going to be a knife-edge finish on a quilt, I’m sure I’d be swearing at it, but for a pillow it worked.
I stuffed it with leftover poly batting (I have years of trimmings saved up) and stitched the opening closed by hand. I had folded in the edges and ironed them down earlier to make this easier but it still isn’t my best example of hand workmanship.
It’ll do – and – TAH DA – it is DONE!