Have you ever made a quilt using a clamshell template? Most of the time I prefer to make quilts that are fast and easy and curved piecing doesn’t rank in that category.
I received the 4-inch clamshell die from Accuquilt and decided I had to find a “fast and easy” way to make a clamshell quilt project.
Once again I chose to make something small instead of a large quilt. A pillow is something you can always use or give as a gift, pillows are one of my favorite things to make. What do you think of this!
I had a charm square pack and also a fat quarter bundle of a cute fabric group called Lily & Loom from Bluprint. You may not be able to find this exact collection anymore but they always seem to create new collections that are very similar.
Here is a link that will take you to a page of Lily & Loom collections where I’m sure you’ll find fabrics you’ll want to use.
Fast and easy raw-edge applique clamshell pillow tutorial!
Clamshell Pillow Tutorial
16″ x 16″
- 1 charm pack – you will use 32 of them
- 1 fat quarter for backing
- 1 fat quarter of muslin
- Elmer’s Washable School Glue
- 14″ zipper
- Accuquilt GO! cutter
- Accuquilt GO! #55435 4″ Clamshell die
Cutting the shapes
Cut out your clamshell shapes using the AccuQuilt GO! clamshell die.
Can you see in the photo below that I placed the top edge of my 5-inch charm squares close to the top of the die so I would be able to use the scraps.
I was also able to cut out two little 1 ½” squares from each charm square that I’ll use for another project. It is always best to cut up your scraps right away so they will be ready to use.
Cut a piece of muslin 17″ x 17″ to use as a backing for your clamshells.
I marked a couple of lines with my FriXon pen just to help me keep my pieces straight, it isn’t necessary, just line up the clamshells so they are touching just a little.
Glue the clamshells
Place one row of clamshells on the muslin backing and then use the Elmer’s Washable Glue to keep them in place. Do one row at a time.
I almost forgot to show how I added the glue to the back of the clamshells. You don’t need much, just enough to hold the clamshell in place until you sew it down.
When the glue dries it is clear, I never have any trouble stitching through it either.
Raw edge applique
There will be very little fraying as the edges of the clamshells are cut on the bias which makes this a perfect raw edge applique project.
Add your batting to the backside of the muslin before stitching down the shapes. I like to do this to add a little dimension to the clamshells.
Pillows are a great way to use up old scrap pieces of batting. I always keep them, trim them to straight edges and then zig-zag the pieces together.
I used Aurifil 50wt #2324 thread, it is a neutral color that blended in very well with the fabrics.
I did simple free-motion quilting on each clamshell. First I stitched close to the edge around the entire applique clamshell and then I just did some lines.
You could do any kind of free-motion quilting on the applique clamshells.
You could just stitch along the top of the shape but I wanted each clamshell to be completely quilted. Notice that I filled the entire shape with quilting, I did this because I want this pillow to be able to be washed repeatedly and not have pieces come loose.
Continue adding rows. I found it easier to complete a row and then glue the next on down. You’ll also want to cut several clamshells in half to use for the sides of every other row.
The second row requires a split clamshell for each end. I cut one in half and used both pieces on the same row.
See how the half pieces are used at the end of every other row?
It was easier for me to do my free-motion quilting with my pillow upside down as I did my stitching.
I probably shouldn’t show you this photo, you can see that my lines are kind of wonky……wiggle squiggle quilting and I ran out of the bobbin thread halfway through so I just used a different color…no one will see it.
Continue adding rows to cover the entire muslin piece.
Here is my applique clamshell pillow ready to be trimmed. There are 8 rows of 4 clamshells (every other row has the split clamshell), now it is time to trim the pillow top.
Trim your pillow top
Trim the pillow to 16½” x 16½”, there really isn’t much waste.
For the back of the pillow I used one of the fat quarters in the Lily & Loom collection…..I finally had to open the bundle….guess that means I’ll have to make another quilt project!
Add the pillow back
The plan was to make an overlap backing on the pillow but a fat quarter at 18″ x 22″ wasn’t going to work.
Not enough fabric for the overlap. If I would have had 2 fat quarters of the same fabric I could have.
I dug into my drawer of zippers (doesn’t everyone have a zipper stash) and found a perfect color match.
I forgot to take pictures but here is how I added the zipper.
Basically, I add a zipper by cutting the fabric in half, sewing it back together with a ½′ seam and doing a basting stitch the length of the zipper. Be sure and stitch a tight seam for the rest of the seam. I then press the seam allowance open and lay the zipper right side down on it. Pin and then stitch. When I’m done I remove the basting stitches.
Place the right sides together. Stitch around the pillow with a ¼″ seam and turn your pillow right side out.
Make sure you open your zipper before sewing the back to the front of the pillow…..trust me…..you don’t want to forget this step.
I have mentioned many times that I’m not a perfectionist, I love cutting, stitching, quilting…..everything about quilting and I usually can’t wait to get to the next quilt project.
Many times there may be a small mistake and I don’t fret about it. Can you see the mistake in the pillow? I could have gone back and fixed it but I didn’t. Now if this were going to a quilt show, quilt market or if I was selling it…..I would have fixed it.
The top blue clamshell has a little pleat in it.
This is a pillow to be loved and washed over and over so I don’t think the little oops will matter to my granddaughters.
I hope you have enjoyed this fast and easy Raw-edge Applique Clamshell Pillow Tutorial if you make a pillow I would love to see it!
This is pretty much the same tutorial that I shared when I made the Avalon Clamshell pillow tutorial, you might want to take a quick peek at it. Different fabrics give a completely different look.
Use a template instead
If you don’t have an Accuquilt cutter you could always use a template to cut your clamshells, it will just take a little longer. There are several different sizes available and here is a 4¼” clamshell template.
Accuquilt also makes an 8″ clamshell die that would be fun if you wanted to make a larger project this way.
If you enjoy Accuquilt projects, I have an entire category of quilt tutorials that you should check out!
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