Sparkles quilt pillow

Sparkles Pillow Tutorial

Sparkles quilted pillow

Today I pulled out the two pillow tops that I made with leftover pieces from my Sparkles quilt so I could make a quilted pillow without doing any free-motion quilting.

Lately I have been getting emails from some of you asking if there is another way to quilt something if you’re not comfortable free-motion quilting. Well, I’m going to show you how to quickly straight stitch a pillow!

Sparkles quilted pillow made with straight stitching

Purchase an ad-free printable version of this Sparkles pillow tutorial here.

The first thing you want to do is iron your pillow top. I find it easiest to do the back first and then flip it over and iron the front.

Notice my iron? I love it! We found it a couple years ago in a Goodwill. Not too long ago I noticed the cord was very hot and was a little frayed so I asked Builder Bob if he could put a new cord on it.

Ironing the back of the Sparkles pillow

Safety and old irons

Never leave an old iron on as they are very, very hot. When Builder Bob replaced the cord he opened up the iron and there was a large wad of lint inside that had probably accumulated there over years. He said I was very lucky it never caught on fire.

I asked him to put a longer cord on the iron and he happened to have some of this bright orange cord. It will work for me!

What I like about old irons is the weight

This one is a little smaller than a normal vintage iron and probably weights about 3 pounds. I prefer not to use steam and this iron doesn’t even have a reservoir for water. I always keep a spray bottle of water next to my ironing pad. Notice how smooth the bottom plate is, this is really nice when I am doing applique.

Please note this post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Please see the full disclosure here. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The pillow is 18″ x 18″ and I pulled out a scrap of Hobbs 80/20 batting for the pillow top. Sometimes I will also add a piece of muslin behind the batting especially if I am doing a lot of free-motion quilting.

Since I was just doing a quick straight stitch quilting I didn’t feel it was necessary to do.

I am using my vintage 15-91 Singer sewing machine to quilt and finish the Sparkles pillow. I used white 50w Aurifil thread and an 80/12 Schmetz needle. I set my stitch length fairly long and just used my regular foot.

Straight Stitch Quilting

This would be a good time to use a walking foot. I have several including one made specifically for vintage Singers but it was just as easy to work with the foot I had on the machine already.

First I stitched along the seams of the blocks similar to doing stitch in the ditch, then I did another row in the center of the blocks and one more down the white sashing. You could mark a line but I just eyeballed it.

straight stitch quilting on my vintage Singer sewing machine

This is what the back of the pillow looks like.

Back of quilted pillow

Next I cut two pieces of fabric for the pillow back. I didn’t have enough of the white batik fabric so I use a teal batik that had been used in the Sparkles blocks.



For this pillow I decided to do an envelope style pillow back as I had plenty of the background fabric.

Each back side piece will be the same width as the front side and ½ of the length plus 4 inches.

This will account for seams and create an overlap which is the envelope part. If you make the pieces too short, you will have a gap when you insert the pillow form.

For example, my pillow is 18 inches so 1/2 of that is 9 inches + 4= 13 inches.

Cut two pieces of the print 18″ x 13″ for the pillow back. On each piece fold the one side under ¼” and press.

On one piece fold under another 1” and top stitch it. On the other piece fold under ¼″ and top stitch.

Place the 1″ top stitched piece face down on the pillow top, then place the ¼” top stitched piece face down on top of it. Pin the pieces to the front of the pillow.

Stitch around the pillow with a ¼” seam allowance. Double stitch over the area where the back pieces overlap. This will make the stitches stronger.

Turn the pillow right side out and press. Normally I would be finished if I had used the same fabric for the back as I did for the front. Since I used the teal fabric I didn’t want it to show on the front so I carefully rolled the seam to the backside and then top-stitched around the pillow top. Now all you have to do is add a pillow insert like this Hobbs 18″ x 18″ poly-down insert.

Finished Sparkles pillow

You now have a beautiful pillow that will match the Sparkles quilt. Mr. Mickey was lying on the couch and didn’t move as I laid out the Sparkles quilt and the pillow. He is such a cutie!

Purchase an ad-free printable version of this Sparkles pillow tutorial here.

I have quite a few pillow tutorials on my blog, here a couple you might like.

I just had to show you another picture of Mr. Mickey, he is the funniest dog! He always, always uses a pillow, I’ve never had a dog that does that. When I designed the Musical pillow for AccuQuilt, I made a couple extra ones that Mr. Mickey has claimed as his own.

How to make the Sparkles Pillow

Cutting using scraps leftover from the Sparkles quilt:

  • Cut 12 – 3″ x 4½” rectangles of the bright colors
  • Cut 8 – 2″ x 3″ rectangles of the white batik
  • Cut 5 – 2″ x 15½” strips of the white batik for the sashing
  • Cut 2 – 2″ x 18″ strips for border

Make 4 rows of 3 color rectangles and 2 cream rectangles as shown below.

One row of the Sparkles pillow

Use the following diagram to layout and sew your Sparkles pillow.

I hope you like this tutorial and if you make the pillow I would love it if you would send me a photo! One more photo…I always get a kick out a photo like this. With nothing else in the photo, you don’t really know the size of the pillow…is it 6 inches or 24 inches?

Sparkles pillow by a tree outside

and get quilt tutorials sent to you twice a week!


  1. I just read your message regarding the yet another tutorial that never was written in today’s email. I would LOVE to have a tutorial on the pillow that was never written. The SPARKLES pillow is stupendous! I love it, and I also LOVE the one that was never written! Thank you for all that you are doing! I really appreciate it a LOT! I am 72 years old, and I love your tutorials!

  2. Great tutorial, Connie. That looks like a good pattern for charm packs, too. I might have to give that a whirl. And another cute picture of Mr. Mickey, He is a sweetie. The only pillow my girl uses is ME!! But I’ve had other dogs used pillows.

  3. Oh how very sweet to see Mr. Mickey with his pillow! Sparkles pillow is lovely and your tutorials are always excellent. On to December…XO

  4. Love envelope pillow covers because they can be laundered and have been hoping to find directions for a quilted one!

  5. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Connie. Thank you for the great tutorial for such a pretty pillow. Mickey looks totally content with his pillow!!

  6. Good, clear tutorial. I’d just add a hint for those not comfortable with eyeballing the straight line quilting. You can mark a line to follow with blue painters tape. You can reuse the piece a number of times before it doesn’t stick any more. I also sometimes use a hera marker and my long ruler to impress a line into the fabric to follow.
    Hope you are having a calm Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what kind of weather you are receiving today.

  7. How cute that Mr Mickey loves pillows! He looks like a cuddler! I love the simplicity of this pillow – and the colors you chose. Our taste in colors must be very similar.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *