Make it Modern Pillows – February 2024 Tutorial

It’s Jamie again from Sew Brainy Designs! It’s year 3 of my Make it Modern Pillows series! I’m so excited and I have some fun designs in store for this year! In case you missed 2022 or 2023 pillow fun, you can click the link below. Last year we started a fun Facebook Group so we can all sew along together!

January’s block used squares to make a fun folksy design. In case you missed it, click on the link below to check it out.

February’s block uses alternating log cabin sections that look like they’re bouncing around.

I always love mixing and matching colors!

This design would be so good for scraps.

Or go simple and use only two different colors. The sky’s the limit!

I did a 1/2″ grid quilting with Aurifil 50wt. white thread for this fantastic texture!

This month’s pillow features Sparkler Fabric by Melissa Mortensen. The colors I used were Baby Pink, Rose, Raspberry, Alpine, Jade, Orchid, Eggplant, Lake Blue, and Denim.

These are such pretty colors!

Now let’s make a pillow!

February 2023 Pillow Tutorial

Pattern Notes

  • Please read through all instructions before beginning.
  • Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless specified.
  • Press all seams open (or in preferred direction) unless specified.
  • To avoid confusion, there is no FABRIC I.

Material Requirements

For the block (pillow top):

This pattern uses (1) BACKGROUND fabric [FABRIC A] and (9) ACCENT fabrics [FABRICS B-K]. Below are the requirements to make ONE 18″ block.

For the pillow body:

  • (1) 22-24″ square piece of muslin or other fabric (for quilting the top)
  • (1) 22-24″ square piece of batting (for quilting the top)
  • (2) 13½” × 18½” pieces of backing fabric (for the pillow envelope)
  • (1) 20″ pillow form (my favorite one to use is the FJÄDRAR from IKEA!). I always use a pillow form that is one size larger than my pillow case to make sure it’s extra full.

Cutting Directions


  • (9) ” × 6½” [A5]
  • (9) ” × 5¼” [A4]
  • (9) 1¾” × 4″ [A3]
  • (9) 1¾” × 2¾” [A2]
  • (9) 1½” square [A1]

From each of the ACCENT FABRICS B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, and K cut:

  • (1) ” × 5¼” [B4, C4, D4, E4, F4, G4, H4, J4, K4]
  • (1) 1¾” × 4″ [B3, C3, D3, E3, F3, G3, H3, J3, K3]
  • (1) 1¾” × 2¾” [B2, C2, D2, E2, F2, G2, H2, J2, K2]
  • (1) 1¾” × 1½” [B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1, H1, J1, K1]

Piecing Directions

1. Lay out (1) A1, H1, and H2 as shown below. Sew the A1 and H1 together. Press the seam.

2. Sew the H2 to the left side of the A1/H1 unit. Press the seam.

3. Lay out (1) A2 and A3 next to the unit from STEP 2 as shown below. Sew the A2 to bottom of the unit. Press the seam.

4. Sew the A3 to the left side of the unit. Press the seam. Trim to 4″ if needed.

5. Lay out (1) C4 and C5 next to the unit from STEP 4 as shown below. Sew the C4 to bottom of the unit. Press the seam.

6. Sew the C5 to the left side of the unit. Press the seam.

7. Lay out (1) A4 and A5 next to the unit from STEP 6 as shown below. Sew the A4 to bottom of the unit. Press the seam.

8. Sew the A5 to the left side of the unit. Press the seam. Trim to 6½” if needed. This is the LOG CABIN unit.

9. Mix and match your ACCENT fabrics and repeat STEPS 1-8 to create (8) additional LOG CABIN units.

10. Lay out all (9) LOG CABIN units as shown below, making sure to rotate them into the correct orientation. Sew the THREE units in each row together. Press the seams.

11. Sew the THREE rows together and press the seams.

12. Your pillow top is now complete!

13. Layer the completed block on top of the 22-24″ batting and muslin squares and quilt the pillow top as desired. When you are done, trim the block to 18½”.

Note – if you add dense quilting, your top may shrink a bit in size. Just trim it to the largest square that you can. You can trim the width of envelope backing fabric a bit in the next step if needed in order to match your actual top size.

14. Create a finished edge on the long side of each of the (2) 13½″ × 18½” pieces of envelope backing by folding 1/2″ of fabric over the wrong side TWICE. Stitch a seam near the edge to secure it.

15. With the square top facing up, layer the envelope pieces RST on top of it as shown below and sew a 3/8″ seam around the edge of the pillow top.

16. Trim the edges of the corners a bit to reduce bulk. Turn the pillow case inside out and insert your pillow form. Your pillow is now done! Enjoy your fun modern make!

I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pillows everyone makes! They can be very addicting! Be sure to share them on social media! #makeitmodernpillows #iloverileyblake #sewbrainydesigns.

If you check out my blog, I have some more color mockups and some freebie coloring pages you can download. Plus a sneak peek of a companion quilt pattern for this block that’s coming soon!

I’ll see you in February with strips and log cabins! Don’t forget to join us in the Facebook Group!

Until later, happy quilting!


Jamie is the creative brain behind Sew Brainy Designs. This self-proclaimed science nerd loves bright colors, big blocks, Mid-century modern design, and using as few seams as possible. Find all of her Make It Modern Pillows on the Riley Blake Designs blog!

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