Hi! My name is Kristina Brinkerhoff from Center Street Quilts (centerstreetquilts.com) and I’m so excited to be sharing a fun tutorial on the OLFA blog today! I am a long-time OLFA user—in fact, I still own (and use!) the yellow OLFA rotary cutter that I started quilting with 20 years ago! I’ve added several new OLFA products to my quilting supplies since then and am always impressed by the utility and quality of their products.
Today, I’ll be sharing a step-by-step photo tutorial for making this fun Scrappy Circles Pillow Cover using OLFA’s Circle Cutter. If you’ve ever cut out circles by hand, you know how hard it is to get them perfectly round—even when using a template. The OLFA Circle Cutter changes all that with its tiny rotary cutter blade that makes cutting circles a breeze! So let’s get going and make some Scrappy Circles!
(8) 5.5” x 5.5” fabric squares (printed/patterned fabric)
(8) 5.5” x 5.5” fabric squares (background fabric)
18” x 18” fabric piece
18” x 18” batting
(2) 11” x 16.5” fabric pieces (for pillow’s envelope back)
(2) 2.5” x WOF strips for pillow binding
Gather one 5.5” x 5.5” patterned fabric square and one 5.5” x 5.5” background square and lay them on the OLFA rotating cutting mat, both right sides up. Set the OLFA circle cutter’s measurement dial to the 3” mark.
Align the two fabric squares exactly on top of each other and place the circle cutter’s pivot spike in the bottom left corner, 1/4” away from the left and bottom edges.
Swivel the circle cutter around to make a quarter circle cut through both layers of fabric. Repeat with the other 5.5” x 5.5” squares of fabric.
Match up one background quarter circle with a printed fabric outer arch and set the other cut pieces to the side.
Fold the quarter circle piece in half along the curved edge and mark the center point with a disappearing ink (or finger press to mark).
Repeat with the outer arch piece.
Both pieces will now be marked for easy alignment.
Flip the outer arc on top of the quarter circle piece so the right sides are together and the center marks are lined up. Place a pin through both pieces right at the center mark.
Match up and pin along the curved edge, starting at the center pin and working your way to one of the outside edges.
Repeat by pinning from center to outside edge for the remaining half of the curve. The outer arch fabric piece will look a little wonky and ruffled, but as long as the curved edge is pinned smoothly, it will all work out!
The quarter circle piece will look more smooth and even.
Keeping the outer arch piece up and the quarter circle piece down, slowly sew a 1/4” seam, removing pins as you go. It might be necessary to adjust the outer arch fabric as you go so puckers don’t appear in the seam.
Press seam toward quarter circle piece.
Align the OLFA 4.5” x 4.5” acrylic ruler on top of quilt block so the bottom left corners are matched up.
Keep the quilt block and 4.5” ruler in place while rotating the cutting mat to easily trim off the excess of all four sides.
Step back and admire your quarter circle block! 😉
Repeat with the other curved pieces to make (16) quarter circle blocks.
Gather four quarter circle blocks and sew them together to make one full circle. Press seams open.
Repeat with the remaining quarter circle blocks to make four full circles. Each circle block should measure 8.5” x 8.5”.
Sew the four circle blocks together. Press seams open. The block should now measure 16.5” x 16.5”
Layer the block with the 18” x 18” pieces of fabric and quilt as desired.
Gather the two 11” x 16.5” pieces of fabric for the envelope back. For each of them, press one of the 16.5” sides over 1/4”, then 1/4” again so the raw edge is concealed. Top stitch to secure the folded hem in place.
Place the quilted pillow front face down on your work surface. Align the raw edges of the two envelope back pieces with the outer edges of the quilted piece, overlapping the top stitched edges in the middle. Secure in place with pins.
Sew the two overlapped envelope back pieces to the quilted piece with a 1/8” seam.
Sew binding onto the front of the pillow cover with a 1/4” seam then hand stitch it to the back.
Now your Scrappy Circles are all finished and are ready for a 16” pillow insert.
Thanks for following along with my Scrappy Circles Pillow Cover Tutorial. I hope you’ll give these fun circles a try. After you cut out one curve with the OLFA Circle Cutter, you’ll never want to cut a circle with scissors again! 😉 To check out more of my tutorials and quilting adventures, you can head to centerstreetquilts.com or find me on instagram (@centerstreetquilts). Happy sewing!