Hello! I’m back! Maybe it looked like I’d given up on blogging but I promise I haven’t! Now I can’t wait to get caught up on all those projects that haven’t been blogged (going back to November last year!!). First up I have a pillow that I made for Alison and Sami’s Instagram pillow swap a while back…


No, not that one! I spotted this pillow in a shop window in Auckland over the summer holidays, I thought it would be fun to recreate something like it for my partner in the swap.  I really wanted to replicate the way the “blocks” interlock but I still haven’t figured out how to do that. I played around with scale before deciding that the blocks needed to be small, not as small as the ones in my inspiration pillow though, that would be crazy. Even so, my narrow strips ended up being 3/8″ wide (finished). I think that’s as small as I could go without resorting to foundation paper piecing, much as I love paper piecing, I prefer not to if I can help it!

The background fabric is from Katarina Roccella’s Wonderland collection, Diamond Flush in Gold. The squares on my cutting board are 1cm not 1″, these blocks are tiny!

Pillow in progress

Pillow in progress

Pillow in progress

Pillow in progress

Here’s my finished pillow. It really needs a better name… maybe “Summer Cabin”…


I had two people ask for block dimensions (yay, thank you both!! ;b) and here they are… for a 4 1/4″ finished block…

Quarter Log Cabin coloured

For each “Summer Cabin” block you will need;

Background fabric;

  • one 7/8″ x 15 3/4″ strip, cross cut into the dimensions in the diagram above. (I suggest cutting your strips a little longer, say 17″, so that you have some wriggle room, or am I the only one who runs out of fabric for the last cut?)
  • two 1 1/4″ squares

Main fabric:

  • one 1 1/4″ x 19″ strip, cross cut into the dimensions in the diagram above. (As above, I suggest cutting your strips a little longer, say 20″, so that you have some wriggle room.)

To piece the block;

Start with the 1 1/4″ square of main fabric. Sew the smallest background strip to the left of this fabric square,  then sew the second smallest background strip to the top of this pieced unit. Now add the main fabric strips, on the left of the pieced unit, then the top of the pieced unit. Continue alternating adding background and main fabric strips. Before adding the last round of strips, sew the background squares to the main fabric strips. Your block is complete.

To make a 20″ pillow

  • you’ll need 13 blocks
  • my sashing strips are cut 7/8″ wide
  • for the side setting triangles cut five 5 1/8″ squares in half on the diagonal
  • for the corner setting triangles cut one 5 1/2″ square in quarters on the diagonals
  • if you use only one background fabric like I did, you’ll need 1/2-3/4 yard. Cut the setting triangles first as they’re the largest cuts
  • the pillow finishes at 20″ square
  • mine is quilted using my walking foot and a serpentine stitch
  • my favourite technique for adding a zipper is Svetlana’s zipper closure tutorial. Svetlana’s tutorial is for a 16″ pillow. For a 20″ pillow, I cut 12″x21″ and 15″x21″ pieces for the pillow back (this allows for wriggle room!!)
  • feel free to play with block layout, orientation, colours…
Let me know if you try this out, I’d really love to see! I know I’ve skimmed over some of the details, so if you have any problems or questions message me on IG or send me an email (links to both are over on the top right).

9 thoughts to “A pillow and a tutorial

  • dutchcomfort

    Welcome back Rachel, I missed your inpsiring posts and small blocks. You nailed it again! I love your Summer cabins!!

  • Vera

    Looks fab! Great cushion!

  • Saija

    Beautiful! Thank you for this pattern! It would be lovely to make 🙂

  • Julie

    Summer cabins sounds perfect – though summer bach is probably more apt for us kiwis.

  • Karen Ackva

    I really like the looks of this pillow, design and fabrics you chose. I like the name summer cabin as well!

  • Peter Kim


  • Malerie

    Hi! Thank you so much for this tutorial! I'm working on my own pillow and have a few questions. Why do you need five 5 1/8 squares? I only count 8 side setting triangles In addition to the corners. Also, do you add sashing strips to all 4 sides to every block or only between blocks? Thank you!

  • Sue Flego

    I have just found your blog, and LOVE the cushion you made with the quarter log cabin design. Thank you for the tutorial!

  • Judith

    Hi, I have just finished this pillow, made in neutral and gray tones. Thanks for the tutorial. I wanted to upload a photo but I have not found the option.


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