Use Orphan Quilt Blocks to Make a Pillow

QuiltNotes Learning Center

Last Updated February 22, 2018

Quilters often find themselves with orphan quilt blocks. These are leftover blocks from finished quilts or maybe they are test blocks made to try a technique.  I like to use orphan quilt blocks to make pillow covers. I usually make small pillows from one block. In my article, Lessons Learned From Projects Half Done, I told you about these orphan blocks.

make a pillow from quilt blocks

The colors in these blocks are not my favorite. That may be one reason these blocks became orphaned.

The supplies you’ll need for this project are:

The first thing I did was piece the blocks together into a 24″ x 24″ pillow top.

make a pillow from quilt blocks

Next I chose a coordinating fabric for the backing. Cut the backing in two pieces. To determine what size to cut each piece:

  1. divide the top measurement in half — 24″ / 2 = 12″
  2. add about 4″ — 12″ + 4″ = 16″
  3. cut 2 pieces at 24″ x 16″

The small quilts I make are not lined or stabilized but for this larger quilt I decided to add some fusible fleece to give it a little more body.

Add the Fusible Fleece

Cut three pieces of fusible fleece: one piece the same size as the pillow top and two pieces the same size and the backing pieces.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the fleece to the top and backing pieces.

orphan quilt blocks

Hem the Backing Pieces

On one long side of a backing piece, turn the edge under and stitch a small hem. Repeat with the other backing piece.

hem orphan quilt blocks

Layer the Pieces

layer orphan quilt blocks

With right sides together, place one backing piece on top of the cover. Pin the raw edges as shown.

layer the orphan quilt blocks

Layer the remaining backing piece on the other side as shown above. Pin all the way around.

Stitch the Sides

Stitch around all four sides. I start at one end of one side and stitch off the edge. I repeat this for all four sides.

trim corners of orphan quilt blocks

Trim the excess fabric from the corners. Clip into the corner.

Next, turn the pillow case right side out. Use That Purple Thang to turn the corners out.

Stuff the Pillow form or pillow stuffing into the pillow cover and you’re done!

orphan quilt block pillow

Finally, here is my 24″ square pillow. The fusible fleece gives more body to the fabric. The pillow should hold up longer.

Project Trio

Here are some other ideas for orphan blocks. These are 12″ finished blocks. I wanted the table runner but because the pattern had papers for 5 blocks, I made all of them. One of them I put in a fame to hang on the wall. One I made into a pillow and three were made into a table runner. The fabrics I used here are Grunge Basics from Moda.

moda grunge from fat quarter shop

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