Swatch Quilted Wool Pillow
Posted on Wednesday the 16th October 2019 by Oak Blue Designs
Hello! I’m excited to share a project with you that isn’t a garment. I love the aesthetic of the Swatch Quilt pattern from Alison Glass. The little pops of color are so lovely! I find I’m drawn to modern quilting patterns and I wanted to give this pattern a try.
I decided not to make a quilt but instead pair the Swatch Quilt idea with a tufted pillow pattern from Purl Soho. I’ve been wanting to add a fun pillow to my chair in my sewing area. With winter coming, this chair can be cold to sit on. A fluffy pillow with warm wool batting sounded like a perfect addition to my craft room.
This wasn’t my first project working with an Art Gallery Fabric, fat quarter bundle. I previously had lots of fun in this post with a Color Master box. For this project I wanted to try a Bundle Up pack. I selected the Winterland theme. These fat quarter packs from Art Gallery Fabrics are curated in such a way that the color palettes go very together. It’s almost like a capsule wardrobe, you can mix and match all of the fabrics within the same project. I used a grey linen for the back and solid base. Admittedly this project took time but the end result was so worth it.
Art Gallery Fabrics Bundle Up Fat Quarter Pack, Winterland
1m Grey Linen
0.5m Wool batting
All Purpose light grey thread
100% Cotton, grey thread
90/14 Universal needle
Clover Finger Pressing tool
Clover 25mm bias tape maker
Hand wash label
Iron/Ruler/Rotary Cutter/Cutting mat
Fabric marking pen
Pieced Fabric Width: 3.75”
Swatch Quilt Pre-Assembled Length: 18”
Number of Swatch Quilted Rows: 4
Number of Linen Spacer Rows: 3
Dimension of Linen Spacer Rows: 1 1/8” x 18”
Cut Dimensions of Linen Back: 18.75” x 16.25”
Number of Wool Batting Layers: 4
Finished Pillow Dimensions: 15.5” x 13”
Swatch Quilt Pattern:
As I got into the details of the pattern, I learned that it doesn’t include step-by-step instructions. It’s more of an inspiration with the details included to springboard improv sewing. I wanted to share that no upfront. If you’re one that prefers step-by-step instructions, this pattern might not be for you. If you’re one, however, that can reference an inspiration and run with it, then this project is perfect.
I started out cutting fabric pieces and then realized I wanted to improv, sew as I go. For the quilt top, I didn’t use sewing pins. The fabric pieces were so tiny that skipping pins helped the time go faster.
I found the Clover Finger Presser tool very handy to use with this project. I used a ¼” seam allowance and I found this tool very helpful to pre-flatten the seams before ironing. I ironed each seam but pre-pressing the seams helped prevent burning my fingers during ironing (with the seam allowance being so small). If you don’t own this tool yet, I highly recommend picking one up.
With the process of making the quilt top, I really enjoyed the improv element. I like to think about ergonomics when it comes to sewing. A lot of times when I sew, I’m not sewing in marathon sessions with long stretches of time. More commonly (to fit sewing in my life) I’ll sew 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, etc. With this project, I enjoyed the movements of getting up after sewing each piece. I didn’t get strained or tired as I was constantly moving with each seam (to cut fabric for the next seam, iron, sew, etc.). It was also fun to look at the layout of the colors and prints to decide as I go.
One fun element of the fabric is that there are a lot of little details in each of the prints. Each little square or rectangle that went into the quilt top was unique (working with 10 prints in the fat quarter bundle).
Purl Soho Pillow Pattern:
I knew up front that I did not want to sew a traditional quilt with this project. I then decided to make a seat pillow that I could place on my sewing chair to enjoy. I have a little yellow wood chair that I sit on while sewing and it can get cold in the winter. I knew using wool batting would make the pillow warm with natural insulation.
For the final quilting portion, I debated about using the machine to stitch the sandwiched fabric and batting together. I’m so glad I decided not to and instead I followed the Purl Soho pattern to make X’s as little tufts in the pillow. I diverted from the pattern a bit in that I did not make as many X’s as the pattern called for. The result was that with each crosshatch, I knotted the end a few times, trimmed the thread and then restarted a new X with every tuft. This was a little more labor-intensive then the pattern intended but I liked the larger spacing in between the X’s. I used 100% cotton thread for this detail as I’m hoping they will shrink and give that nice quilted look as the cushion gets wear.
Tag and pillow ties:
I had a little handwash tag in my stash that I purchased from Dutch Label Shop. I decided to add this tag to the pillow as I wanted a gentle reminder to myself to handwash. That said, I previously sewed a quilted lap blanket with wool batting and I’ve used the wool cycle to wash the blanket with a cold temperature. I then lay out the lap blanket to air dry after washing.
If you don’t have a washing machine with a wool setting or you don’t want to risk ruining the item, handwashing is not a big deal. I handwash all of my non-super wash wool items very regularly. If you haven’t handwashed items, there are some lovely soaps available in the market that do not require rinsing. My favorite soaps to use with handwashing are Kookaburra or Soak wash. Using these types of soaps saves you time to wash the item once (rather than washing in soapy water and then taking time with a second rinse to remove the soap from the item).
I made the pillow ties from the grey linen fabric. I used a 25mm bias tape maker, cut the fabric at 1 7/8” wide, and length at 24” long. I wanted to share this handy, handmade bias tape reference guide from Whip Stitch.
I really, really enjoyed this project. I would enjoy making it again. I’d enjoy sewing with a single layer of batting and stitching contrasting vertical lines as shown on the pattern back. I would also enjoy making the pattern by using up small scraps of fabrics that I’ve saved in my stash.
One detail I wanted to note is that I forgot that the final version of the pillow will shrink with the adding the layers of batting. Thankfully, the dimensions I selected for the size of the chair seat was larger (so the final pillow was not too small).