String Pieced Potholder Tutorial

I had several people ask for a potholder tutorial, so here it is!   Please ignore any funky curvy mat lines below due to my camera lens.

First, here's what you need for one potholder (finished size 8.25"):

  • one piece of muslin, 9" x 9"
  • a handful of strips cut to various widths (probably about 1.5" to 2", but I don't measure)
  • 2 pieces of batting cut to 9.5" x 9.5" (or 1 piece of Insul-bright and 1 piece of regular batting)
  • one backing piece, 9.5" x 9.5"
  • binding, 2.25" x 40"
  • loop piece, 2" x 4.5"

You'll be creating the string block by using a stitch and flip method on the piece of muslin.  I like to start with one wider strip right side up, down the middle.  Then add another strip wrong side up with the right edges aligned and sew it down.  As with all my piecing, I turn my stitch length down to 2.00.  

When that piece is sewn on, open up the strip and press it down.  Add another strip the the left side of the middle the same way.  Keep going until you've covered all the muslin.

In order to preserve as much fabric as possible, you can adjust the length of the pieces as you go (see the right side photo above).  The corners of the strips should always go off the end of the muslin at least 1/4".  

When you are done it should look like the photo on the right.  You'll notice that little tiny corner of the muslin peeking out, if that happens, it's ok.  I've added in a bit of extra on the muslin to account for things like that.

Flip over the block.  You need to trim the block to 8.5", but also watch out for that little corner.

I like to use my 9.5" square ruler to trim the block.  Here I am just lining it up so that I have that top right corner covered.  Trim those two sides, then turn the block and finish trimming to 8.5".

Here it is looking nice and neat.  When you are doing these blocks they look so messy until they are trimmed and all of sudden they look beautiful!  Next, layer your top with the two pieces of batting and the backing piece.  If you are using the Insul-bright, layer it this way: backing, Insul-bright, regular batting, string block.

Added bonus:  These blocks are exactly what I used in all those community quilts!

You can of course do any kind of quilting you want.  I did a super quick stitch in the ditch with the walking foot.  For the quilting I change my stitch length to 3.00.  

At this point the tutorial will also turn into a binding tutorial!  This is the method I use for all my small pieces.  That means any piece where the side where the binding ends meet is less than 12 inches or so.  Of course, it could be used on any size piece if you like this method.

You might wonder why there are two photos that look alike above.  On the left are the potholders right after quilting.  They are a little puffed and wavy on the edges.  On the right are the potholders after a good pressing with steam.  I think this step is very important in any finishing.  You'll get a much nicer binding result if you take the time to use your iron as you go along.

After pressing, trim the potholder to 8.25".  Also, notice the edges here.  When I was quilting I also stitched around the edge of the block (about 1/8" from the edge).  This is also an important step for a nice finish.  If you look closely you'll see a couple of spots where trimming the block actually trimmed off a little bit of the edge stitching.  On a small piece like this, it's wouldn't worry about it.  On a bigger quilt I would go back and add that edge stitching again.

Okay, so now the potholder is ready for the loop.  I actually prefer my potholders to not have a loop since I keep mine in a drawer, but I know lots of people like to hang them up, so I discovered this cool method which creates an inconspicuous loop on the back.  Take your 2" x 4.5" piece and press it lengthwise along the middle.  Then press the two sides into the middle.  Fold it over and top stitch along the open side.

Now, figure out which side is the top of your potholders and lay them out.  Turn them over and place the loop in the middle of the top edge on the back of the potholder with the raw edges aligned.  Baste in place.

Prep your binding by pressing it in half lengthwise.  Then open up at one end and fold over the corner as shown above left.  Fold the lengthwise fold back into place.  You've created a little pocket to accept the other end of the binding.

Place your binding piece with that little pocket on the backside of your potholder as seen above.  The pocket needs to be placed so that it's just about in the middle of that side.  Start sewing about 1.5 inches down from the end of the triangle (see photo above).  You will stitch on the binding as usual, but this first side only gets that small amount of sewing before you turn the corner.

Stitch around all sides of the potholder, mitering your corners as you go.  When you get to the beginning, stop and trim the end of the binding so that it is longer than the pocket.  It should fit in there without catching on the beginning stitching of the binding.

I like to use my seam ripper to tuck that end in before completing the stitching.

As you can see above, the binding was placed right over the basted on loop.

Now's the time to get your iron going again.  I do this on every single binding I do and it makes a beautiful finish.  Press the binding outwards and get the tip of the iron right into the miters.  

Then pick up the potholder and pop the binding on the corners to the other side and iron the edges all over to the right side, pressing your mitered corners as you go.  When you do this you make binding a cinch whether you are binding by hand or machine.  

Here's a little aside (and possibly a rant):  I am always astonished when I see that people with dozens of binding clips going around a quilt.  There's absolutely no need for so many clips!  I can do a hand stitched binding with three clips when I take the time to press it all first.  I use three clips and just move the current one to the end of the line as I go.  Try it!

So, here you are!  You are almost done.  Now you just need to top stitch the binding edge on the front of the potholder.  By the way, this method is what I use on every community quilt I do.  If you are spending hours hand stitching a binding on a community quilt, you are not using your time wisely.  Try this on the next one!  Just remember to stitch the binding to the back of the quilt to start!  I still make that mistake sometimes.

Anyway, here you go.  You don't need to pin or anything, just turn down your speed if needed and use a regular stitch length (2.40 on my machine).  Use your fingers to help the binding stay folded.  Pressing makes this a breeze and saves time.  I don't use pins or clips when I machine stitch a binding no matter the size of the quilt!

Ta da!  You are done and ready to take them to the kitchen or gift them to some lucky someone!

See how that loop is well hidden on the back.  Easy to use if needed or keep folded back if not.

Improv Feather Tutorial

Last month when I showed the photos of Chloe's graduation quilt, Wings to Fly, I suggested that I'd have more to say about feathers at a later date.  Well, today's the day!  I have found these feathers to be pretty easy to do, especially if you are already familiar with improv techniques.  Even if this is your first improv, I hope you will give this a try and let me know if you do.  Please leave a comment if anything is unclear and I will do my best to explain better.

For the following tutorial I am using fabrics sent to me by Heidi Parkes.  I discovered Heidi on Instagram about 7 months ago because she had a contest where people could post photos of a quilt they love.  Tamara King happened to post a photo of my quilt Plain and Fancy for the contest and I had no idea until I had my name linked to Heidi's post.  She was very kind to send a stack of fabric to me as well as Tamara!  I plan to make some more of these feathers to use in a quilt to donate to my guild's community quilts program so the gift just keeps on giving.

I am also writing this tutorial for members of my Central Oregon Modern Quilt Guild's QuiltCon Charity Quilt project.  This year the charity quilt has a certain color palette, must be made collaboratively and must be made with intentional improv.  The feathers seemed like the perfect thing for this project.  Click here to read more about the QuiltCon Member Charity Challenge.

So, here we go!  COMQG members will be getting packets of fabric to make their blocks, so my instructions refer to that.  Words will be below the photo they refer to.  

Please read all the way through before sewing and/or practice on scrap fabric if this is new to you.

***  I am using a 1/4" foot, but my seams are not necessarily exact.  This is another of the lovely reasons to do improv piecing!

***  It is extremely important to use a small stitch length with improv piecing.  You will be cutting across seams on a regular basis and you want your seams to be strong!  I change mine to 2.0.

COMQG members- you have received a packet of fabric with colored rectangles for your feather vanes, a black strip for the feather shaft, two large background rectangles, one small background square and one larger background square.  

First of all, arrange the colored rectangles as you can see above.  You may put the fabrics in any order you wish.  Notice that in each section the rectangles are offset to the right or to the left.  It's really important to make sure they stay that way as you sew, although you'll notice the sequence of my fabrics got mixed up and it doesn't matter.

Above you can see that both sides of the feather are sewn together.  The offsets are about 3/4" to 1".  Sew both sides of the feather vane this way, but remember to offset one set to the right and one set to the left.

Now you'll use a long ruler to trim off those points.  First cut the middle part (the part that will be attached to the black feather shaft.  Then trim the outer edges and top points.  Notice that the outer angle is wider at the bottom and more narrow at the top.

Notice that the feather vane on both sides is wider at the bottom and more narrow at the top.  You should also cut the taper for the top of the feather so that both of the vane sections look complete.

Above you can see all the parts of this puzzle.  There are two ways to deal with the squares.  You can cut them corner to corner as you see in these photos above and below.

Above you can see how the triangles will be used.  The larger ones are used on the bottom of the feather, the smaller ones at the top.

It's time to sew the bottom triangles on to the vane.  Notice that the angle of the background triangle and the angle of the feather base are not the same.  

In this case I decided to trim the feather vane angle to match the background triangle angle.

Above you can see the other option which works better if you have a solid fabric for your background.  You can cut the larger square into these offset "triangle" shapes.  If you do this, you are not wasting fabric on the point that would have stuck out on the right side of the bottom triangle.  However, if you are using a print the other half (top grey piece) wouldn't be usable on this feather.  If this was a solid grey, I could just turn it over to use on the other half of the feather vane.

Above you can see that both sides of the vane have the background triangles attached.  

Now it's time to trim off the extra fabric and straighten up the middle edges of the feather vanes.

Trimmed and looking good!  Here I'm also trimming the outer side of the vane.

Ooopsy!  I didn't quite get the background piece on properly, so my angle doesn't work here.  See below for the fix.

Luckily, this is improv and the exact angle of my feather isn't at all important!  I can adjust my ruler just enough to trim off a skinny bit that goes all the way from the top to the bottom.

So, you can see the feather vanes all ready to add the shaft.  Please note, I have not added the top background triangles yet!

Here I've flipped the first vane onto the shaft, pinned it and am sewing.  You'll probably want to use pins for any sewing now that includes bias edges.

Okay, so the left side is sewn to the shaft.  How to add the right side?

When adding the second side, it's best to try to make your shaft taper a bit- wider at the bottom and narrower at the top.  Don't trim the angle before sewing.  Just lay your second vane on top of the shaft so that it angles a bit toward the top.  Sew first, check to make sure you did it right, then trim off the extra.

Here I'm trimming the extra fabric from the seam allowance.

Now the top needs another trim!  Just keep the angles you've already cut to the vanes and continue it over the shaft.

Top trimmed.  Now, get the small background square.  You can cut this one from corner to corner and use the triangles as you see here to fill out the top.

The first small triangle sewn to the top of the feather.

Here the angle is trimmed for the next seam (the one for the left side of the top of the feather).

Line up your other triangle and flip and sew.

Ta-da!  You're almost done!

Trim up the sides of the feather.  Again, you may have to trim some extra away to get a straight line all the way from the top of the feather to the bottom, but you'll be maintaining an angle to the outside of the feather.

Above you can see that the middle section is complete if a little wonky on the top and bottom edges.  Don't worry about those wonky edges just yet.  Right now you need to figure out how to add the sides on.

Whenever I want to cut an improv angle, but still keep my block on the straight of grain, I will use this technique.  Always place the pieces FACE UP when doing this technique.  Place left side background piece on your mat with the left edge lined up with a line on the mat.  Place the middle feather section so that it remains fairly straight up and down, but also so that it overlaps completely the side background piece all the way from the top to the bottom.  

Lay the ruler on the background fabric and butt it up against the edge of the middle section.  Cut that angle, then flip and sew (again, pins are a good idea on these bias edges).

Now, one more section to sew on.  Do that same thing: line the background piece FACE UP up with a line on the mat, over lap the feather section FACE UP, and trim the angle.

Flip and sew this piece and press.  

Now it just needs "squaring up"!

Don't worry about trimming to any particular size.  Just trim the edges to be straight with 90 degree corners.  

Hey, it looks great!  I love that there are no paper piecing or patterns needed.  Just use your brains and a little improv know-how and you are set!  Not only that, but you are free to adjust as you go.  COMQG members should just do this basic feather for our guild charity quilt, but if you want to play with your own fabric, here are some ideas you could try:

  • make one feather vane much narrower than the other
  • add in some gentle curves (to the shaft and/or to the feather edges)
  • piece some of the colored feather sections from smaller pieces to add interest
  • piece some jagged bits of background into the edges of the feather vane to show a more ragged edge

Above are the leftovers from this block.  I can never leave well enough alone, so I transformed them into 

this!  The block on the left could certainly be used on the back of this quilt.  I will keep them with this project until I decide if I'm going to use them.  If not, they can go directly to the orphan block basket.

I hope you find this tutorial useful!  Please let me know if anything is not clear and feel free to share!

Adventures with Caran D'Ache Neocolor II: Watch Your Step

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (1)

I have been wanting to try using watercolor on fabric for a while now.  It started with the beautiful AAQI quilts that JoAnn Stowell has been doing.  Since I discovered her work last year I think I've bought three of them!  I asked her about her technique and discovered that she's been trying various ways of doing the watercolors.  I decided I should just jump in and try stuff- my favorite way to work!

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (3)

I searched online and found a video and tutorial by Terri Stegmiller. Both are useful and gave me the impetus to start this project.  This idea was inspired by my Undercover Quilters April 12 x 12 theme of "shoes".  I had an image in my mind from the butterfly house we visited last month.  I was afraid I'd step on one so I kept looking down to watch where I stepped.  Those are my favorite shoes depicted with a Blue Morpho butterfly.

This technique is so much fun to do.  First I created a crazy pieced top with the light neutral fabrics.  Then I layered it with batting and a backing.  I quilted it all over with dense machine quiting lines.  I created my free hand full size drawing on regular paper and traced it onto tracing paper with a Sharpie pen.  If you use a color other than black it's easier to see the paper when you need to tear it off.  I layered the tracing over the quilted sandwich and sketched with black thread over all the lines one time.  Terri's video shows you how to do all of this.  After you pull off the paper, you go over your lines several more times to give it the sketchy quality.  

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (4)

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (5)

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (2)

Then it's time to color in with the Neocolor II water soluble wax crayons.  This was a lot of fun, using the color just as you would on paper.  The colors are pretty dull when they are dry, but you apply them like you would regular crayons, layering and using several values of a color to get texture and shading.

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (6)

The next step is to mix the textile medium with some water.  I combined the two in approximately 1:1 proportions, though you may need less water.  I think the consistency of milk works well.  I used a brush with a small square end to brush it on and into the fabric.  I soaked the colored areas pretty well and noticed that there was very little color spread.  The color did leak through to the backing fabric in some areas, so if that was an issue you might consider putting on another backing afterwards or even doing the quilting and sketching on just the pieced top and some batting.  The colors brighten up significantly when the textile medium/water solution is applied.

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (7)

One thing I love in the above photo is that print with the swirls which really comes alive when the paint is applied.  It's a white on white print and the swirls barely show up normally.

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (8)

The colors stayed pretty vibrant after the piece dried.  Now I just need to add an edge finish.  This was a very fun technique to try and something I know I will do again.

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (9)

Neocolor II- Watch Your Step (10)

I really love the texture you get when the piece is pre-quilted.  The variations in the background surface made this very enjoyable to do.

From what I have read, these crayons are not normally wash fast.  The use of textile medium to dissolve the color does help somewhat though.  I did a little test by running a sample under the faucet with some gentle scrubbing and the colors lost some vibrancy.  The hand of the fabric improved quite a bit though.  I haven't decided whether I'll wash "Watch Your Step" yet, but I might.  Below you can see the colors of Inktense pencils as well.  I used them for some finer details in some other pieces that I'll show you tomorrow.  The adventure continues!

Neocolor II and Inktense wash test

Wish Upon A Card 2013

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (13)

I've spent the past two days working on my Wish Upon a Card postcards.  These are part of a fundraiser for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and benefits the show as well as Wendy's Wish which supports cancer patients in Central Oregon. This year they had a challenge fabric and I used that in two of them.  The others are more basic.  I even got to finally use an old SOQS print fabric.

These took 1-2 hours each, often just due to pondering over what embellishment to add.  If you'd like to try one, there's still time.  While the challenge cards are due on April 15th, you can send your non-challenge postcards in by July 1.  I have added this tutorial to the Tutorials and Ideas tab at the top of the blog.  Check out that page to see more of my tutorials!

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (8)

This is the first one I did and the one I spent the most time on.  The challenge fabric is the brown and black print which you can see better in the next piece.  I embellished with some beads.

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (7)

The challenge fabric had the tiki faces and was not something that I would normally buy.  It took me a long time to figure out how to use it.  This island paradise includes some of my hand dyed fabric and some batiks.  Embellished with beads again.

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (6)

I had fun with this one.  I've been saving selvedges forever, but haven't used them much.  I found the SOQS piece and built the rest from there.  The little quilts came from the quilt show fabric you can see in the last three postcards.

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (9)

I wanted to use up some more of this old hand dyed Pimatex.  I can't hand stitch through the stuff so it's perfect in this application.  I still have some left that I think I'll use for an AAQI quilt or two.

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (3)

I did the last three today with this Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show fabric from 2005.  I had fun embellishing with charms, buttons and beads as well as the selvedge words.

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (5)

Wish Upon A Card 2013 (4)

Fabric Postcard Tutorial

Below is the fabric card tutorial I first posted on  my old blog in 2007.  The cards shown are old ones.


  • double sided, heavy weight, sturdy fusible interfacing, such as Fast-2-Fuse, for the middle layer
  • lightweight fusible web for fusible applique, such as Wonder Under (optional)
  • applique pressing sheet or parchment paper
  • fabric bits and scraps
  • thread to match
  • embellishments, selvedge words (optional)

Cut the sturdy fusible interfacing to 4" x 6" or whatever size you plan to make.  The interfacing shown below is Pellon and has a thin plastic backing you can see in the photo.  Fast-2-Fuse doesn't have the plastic backing.    

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (5)
Choose a background fabric cut slightly larger than the card and fuse it to the heavy weight interfacing. I use an applique pressing sheet underneath to save my ironing board.  Kitchen parchment paper works just as well.  I cut the fabric to the edges of the interfacing after fusing.  I just realized that I have mixed photos of the two different cards I did.  This is actually the background for the second one, so the rest of these photos will show the first card.  You can also piece a background  and fuse it on at this point.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (6)
Here you can see how thick this interfacing is.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (7)
If you want to add bits of fabric to decorate the front of the card, cut them roughly into squared off pieces so it will be easier to fuse them. The next photo shows some motifs that I'm testing out on the background fabric.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (8)
Here they are laid out right side up on the fusible side of the Wonder Under.  I just put them together so the sides are touching.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but you don't want to have areas of fusible web showing between the pieces.   

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (9)
Then I covered it with a bit of scrap paper to keep the web from melting to my iron and I ironed them for about 10 seconds.  Again, you can use an applique pressing sheet or parchment here.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (10)

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (11)
I cut the motifs with a bit of edging on them, but you can cut all the way to the edges if you like.  If you are cutting fabrics such as the hand dyed ones that don't have a motif, draw your shape on the paper side of the fusible, fuse to the fabric, then cut along the line with paper scissors before you remove the paper.  This ensures that the fusible glue goes all the way to the edge of the shape.

Here are the shapes arranged on the background that has been fused to the heavyweight interfacing.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (13)
Now, fuse the whole thing again.  Then, take off the plastic backing as you get ready to sew it all together.  If you are using Fast-2-Fuse, you will not have a plastic backing so be sure to fuse on the applique pressing sheet or some parchment paper.

Once the backing is off and all the pieces are fused to the background you can sew.  I did some straight stitching, free motion embroidery and some of the fancy stitches.  You can doodle as much as you want and even do some "thread painting".

At this point you can add some embellishments if you want.  Be aware that anything like buttons and beads will make it harder to fuse on the backing, but it can be done.  I hand sewed on the buttons and beads right through the interfacing on the cards at the top of this post.

I picked out a fabric for the back of the postcard.  I discovered that the threads on the back showed through so I did a double backing on them.  First I fused a piece of muslin to the back.  Remember, you've already removed the plastic backing so it's ready to fuse.  The fabric was cut a little big, then after fusing trimmed to the exact size of the card.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (1)

Then I picked out this pretty yellow to go over the muslin.  I had to use more Wonder Under to fuse this in place.  Again, cut it a bit larger at first and then trim to size after fusing.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (2)
Lastly, from the front of the card go around the edges with a zigzag stitch to finish it off.

Fabric Postcard Tutorial (3)

I'd love to hear if you use this tutorial to create any fabric cards.  Just leave a comment and a link if you have one!  If you have a card without embellishments it is actually possible to send it in the US mail all by itself (extra postage and hand cancelling required).  With the time it takes to make one though, you might wish to place it in a padded envelope for mailing.  Happy Sewing!

Modern Button Back Pillow Tutorial

Modern Button Back Pillows (7)
Modern Button Back Pillows (7)

Below you will find my original Button Back Pillow Tutorial from my old blog, Knit One Quilt Too, first published on June 10, 2007.  I am republishing today and adding the Tutorials link in the category list.   Check it out!

Modern Button Back Pillows (1)
Modern Button Back Pillows (1)

I had been meaning to make new pillows to replace the original ones ever since we moved to our new house in 2011.  My husband kept asking for those new pillows I kept saying I would make.  

Modern Button Back Pillows (3)
Modern Button Back Pillows (3)

Well, here they are!  I was lucky that I had a few pieces of Kokka and Echino cotton/linen blend prints in my stash.  These are decorator weight fabrics that are a better choice for pillows that get lots of use.  

Modern Button Back Pillows (10)
Modern Button Back Pillows (10)

I ended up making 6 pillows of various sizes, so I've added new dimensions for the various pillow sizes at the bottom of this page.  

Modern Button Back Pillows (12)
Modern Button Back Pillows (12)

The sixth pillow came about because I just couldn't leave the little pieces alone.  Now the window seat is a well stocked and very comfy reading nook.

Modern Button Back Pillows (8)
Modern Button Back Pillows (8)

Modern Button Back Pillow Tutorial

There are probably lots of ways to do this, but this is my favorite.  These are 16" pillows and the block pattern is from the book, Fat Quarters are Beautiful.  In the book the pillows are not quilted.  I wanted them quilted and wanted them bigger so I took the 12" block and added borders to make the whole top about 18".  I layered it with batting and muslin and quilted free hand.  After I did the quilting I trimmed the top down to 17" so I would have a 1/2" seam allowance.  Please excuse the photo quality here.  These are older and taken before I knew what I know now!

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (6)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (6)

To make the back, cut two pieces of backing fabric to 12" x 17".  Prepare both pieces of fabric this way: Fold under one 17" edge 1/2".

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (4)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (4)

Then fold under again 2".  This is the part of the backing that overlaps and has the buttons/buttonholes.

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (5)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (5)

Lay the pillow top down right side up and position the two backing pieces right side down on top to make sure the folded parts overlap properly. 

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (7)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (7)

It should look like this.

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (8)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (8)

Top stitch close to both edges of the fold on both pieces of backing. 

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (14)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (14)

Now it's time to mark the places for the button holes. For mine I marked the center, then made marks every 3" out from that on both ends.  I did 5- 1 1/8" buttons total.

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (9)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (9)

My sewing machine has an automatic buttonhole maker which is wonderful.  However, it only holds buttons up to 1" I found out after I'd bought the buttons.  Luckily, the 1" size worked fine for these slightly larger buttons.  Whether you have an automatic buttonhole maker or not, be sure to test your buttonhole on scrap fabric first.

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (10)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (10)

To cut open your buttonholes, fold the fabric like this and make a tiny snip right in the middle of the buttonhole.

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (11)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (11)

Then, unfold and insert the scissors this way and snip to just before the sewing on each end of the buttonhole.

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (12)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (12)

Now, lay the top and backing pieces together just as you did above, making sure to have the backing piece with the buttonholes on the bottom of the overlap, and pin every couple of inches all the way around.  Rembember, this is a button back so you will sew all the way around and don't need to leave room for turning.

Button Back Pillow Tutorial (16)
Button Back Pillow Tutorial (16)

Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew all the way around, clip the corners, turn and iron it out to be sure you have the edges are neat.  Sew on the buttons and you are done!

Button Back Pillows (5)
Button Back Pillows (5)

And here are the backs.

Button Back Pillows (7)
Button Back Pillows (7)

Dimensions for other pillow sizes

Finished                             Quilted                        2 Backs                              2 Backs
Pillow Size                Pillow Top Size             Cutting Size                     After Folding
14" Square                     15" Square                     11" x 15"                              8.5" x 15"
16" Square                     17" Square                     12" x 17"                             9.5" x 17"
18" Square                     19" Square                     13" x 19"                           10.5" x 19"
20" Square                    21" Square                     14" x 21"                            11.5" x 21"
12" x 16"                            13" x 17"                       10" x 17"                            7.5" x 17"

Notes:  I like to cut my top and backs slightly larger than these dimensions so that I can cut them true to size after quilting the top and after adding the topstitching on the backs.

The buttons I like to use are flat and smooth.  They are great for pillows because they will still feel fine if the pillow is used back side forward.  They come from Hill Creek Designs. (Theresa's Hand Dyed Buttons).

PS:  Here's a link to another button back pillow I made a couple of years ago.