Project: Scrap Happy Pillow | OLFA - Craft OLFA – Craft

Project: Scrap Happy Pillow

Choose some of your most precious fabric scraps and sew them up into a bright and cheery pillow cover. The envelope backing is a quick and easy way to finish the project and makes it kid and pet friendly, because it’s easy to launder. Make several pillow covers in different color ways and change them out for each season. The pillow cover shown finishes at about 20” square, but the measurements can be easily adapted to any size pillow.



Confident Beginner


45mm Splash Rotary Cutter (RTY-2/C)
6″x24″ Frosted Acrylic Ruler (QR-6×24)
18″x24″ Rotary Cutting Mat (RM-SG)
12″x17″ Folding Cutting Mat (FCM-12×17)


Approximately 150-200 skinny scraps of quilting cotton, each measuring at least 4 1/2” long x 1” or 1-1/2” wide
Thin cotton batting at least 22” square
22” square of muslin for pillow backing (optional)
Thread for piecing and quilting
3/4 yard quilting cotton for envelope back closure
20” pillow form
Basic sewing supplies


To make the pillow top:

  1. Sew the skinny strips of quilting cotton together to make 6 strips of fabric that each measure about 4-1/2” x 21” long. Press well and use a bit of steam or spray starch to help the pieces lay flat.


  2. Place the 4-1/2” x 21” patchwork strips on a design wall (or worktable) and rearrange until you are pleased with the layout. Overlap the patchwork to see how the colors will line up once they are trimmed and in place.


  3. Trim each patchwork piece to 4” wide.


  4. Sew the patchwork strips together, side by side, and press seams to one side. There is no need to trim the piece to an exact square at this point. That will be done after quilting. Notice how the seams from one patchwork strip to the next do not align perfectly; most are offset a bit. That is perfectly fine. It is preferred, actually! It’s all part of the random, scrappy look.


  5. Layer the patchwork onto the square of batting. You may choose to back the quilt sandwich with a layer of muslin, but personally, I don’t use a backing for the pillow top. I just baste the patchwork piece onto a piece of batting and quilt it up. No backing is required, because it will be hidden inside the pillow cover. It washes and dries up just fine this way.


  6. Quilt the piece as desired. This pillow is quilted with straight lines about 1/4” apart over the whole pillow top using a neutral colored thread.
  7. Trim the pillow top down to 20-1/2” square.

To make the envelope backing:

  1. From the backing fabric, cut two pieces of fabric 20-1/2” x 26”.
  2. Fold in half, wrong sides together, so each piece measures 13” x 20-1/2”. Press each fold with a hot iron.


  3. Sew along the fold edges with 1/8” seam allowance.


  4. Place the pillow top right side up. Place the backing pieces on top of it, as shown in the photo below. The raw edges of the backing should line up with the raw edges of the pillow top. The folds should overlap in the middle.


  5. Flip the pieces down into place. There should be an overlap of about 5″-6″. (See pin placement.) Pin the layers together around the perimeter of the piece.


  6. Use a walking foot to sew around the entire piece. Reinforce the stitching several times where the backing pieces overlap. These will be the stress points when you are stuffing your pillow form into the cover.


  7. Trim the corners. Turn right side out. Poke out the corners with a blunt tip scissors or large knitting needle.
  8.  Insert the pillow form and step back to admire your work!



Project design by Amanda Jean Nyberg.
October, 2015
For personal, non-commercial use only.