Thursday, June 30, 2011

A new pillow for our bed--An AccuQuilt Go! Baby tutorial

The hubs and I have disagreements over decorative pillows.  He sees them as generally unnecessary.  I love them.  Besides, it's smaller than a new quilt. I've had this one in mind for a while, I just haven't wanted to cut the hexagons from my Modern Meadow scraps.  When Carolyn over at AccuQuilt offered me the chance to try out the Go! Baby in their bloggers program, I immediately chose the hexagons as one of my dies. 

This is one of my favorite pillows I've ever made.  I'm totally in love with hexagons right now, I still love Modern Meadows, and I love the flange.

Here is what you'll need to make your own:
(45) 5" squares for the hexagons (scraps work great as well)
(1) 26" x 26" piece of batting
(1) 26" x 26" piece of fabric for the front lining (I use Ikea sheets)
(2) pieces of fabric 16" x 23" each for the envelope back
(2) pieces of lining fabric 16" x 23" for the back (again, I just use a sheet)

Step 1: Cut the hexagons
I'm not going to show "action" shots.  There are lots of those around.  It's pretty self-explanatory to use this machine.  You put the fabric in and roll it through.  The one thing I want to address is waste.  This was my main concern with the dies.  This guy worked perfectly with scraps.  I probably would have wasted as much fabric had I cut these with my hexagon ruler. I carefully folded my fabric in half then half again.  I just trailed the remaining fabric behind as I rolled it through. No precutting was even required.

If you are careful there is minimal waste.  There are three hexagon sizes on this die.  Had I used the middle die precutting would be required.  Using the largest shape on the end made it much easier to cut because I didn't have to precut anything.

Edit:  A cut hexagon is 5" wide (point to point), with a 2.5" side and is about 4.25" tall. These could also be cut with a hexagon ruler if you don't have a Go! cutter.

Step 2:  Arrange the hexagons.
Arrange them as shown below:  Columns alternate with 6 hexes then 7, ending with a column of 6.

Step 3:  Machine-piece the hexagons
Rather than do a full tutorial on this, I will just refer you to the two tutorials I learned from over at So Happy and Lady Harvatine.  My must-do tip is to mark your seams.  It makes all the difference when the Y-seams come together.  Sew the columns of hexes first, then press seams open.  Carefully join the pieced columns.

Press all seams open after joining columns.  When sewing all three points, be careful not to catch the ends in the seam.  It presses better and lays flatter if you hold the ends out of the way.

Step 4:  Quilting
After piecing the top, baste (spray or pin) the lining piece, batting and top.  Quilt as desired.

I did straight-line quilting by following the seams.  I first followed the vertical lines approximately 1/4" from the seam on each side.  I then followed the horizontal seams approximately 1/2" from the seam.

After quilting, square up the pillow top.  Trim the top and bottom along the edges of the shorter columns.  Trim the sides by lining up the ruler with the points of the valleys where the seams meet.  This will be approximately 22 1/2" wide and 23" tall.

Step 5:  Prepare the envelope back
Pair each back panel with a lining panel.  I chose to do one white panel and one patterned panel.  Place right sides together of the lining and backing panels.  Sew with a 1/4" seam down one long side.  Flip right side out and press.  To make this edge seam as crisp as possible, press open first before folding and pressing the seam flat.  Edge stitch as desired.

Place right sides together of the outermost backing panel and the pillow top.  The backing panels are about 1/2" taller than the pillow top.  This provides for potential differences in seam allowances and will be trimmed later on).  Make sure all raw edges of fabrics meet or overlap slightly.  Pin well.

Repeat with inner panel, overlapping as shown.

Step 6: Sew together
Sew the pillow sandwich with 1/4" seam and a walking foot.  The wrong side of the pillow front should face up.

Trim any excess from the backing and clip corners slightly.  Turn pillow cover right side out.  Push out corners.  At this point you have a finished pillow cover for a 22" pillow form.  To add the flange, continue onto the next step.

Step 7: Flange
Carefully edgestitch about 1/8" from the edge all around the pillow.  Roll the seams as you go to get them as close as possible.  I use an edge-piecing sewing foot for this step.

Lay the cover flat and pin all the way around about 1.5" in from the edge.  (As this picture shows, I used straight pins.  After drawing blood twice while sewing, I would strongly suggest using safety pins for this step.)

With a walking foot sew around the perimeter of the pillow 1.5" inside the edge.  Once finished this will fit an 18-20" pillow form.

Finished!  I think it makes a rather nice addition to our bedroom set, even if it is just for decoration.

Go! Baby product notes:
I was invited to participate in the AccuQuilt bloggers program.  I received a free Go! Baby and three dies to test and review.  I will also have the opportunity to give away a Go! Baby and three dies to one of my readers. I chose dies for items that are difficult or tedious to cut.  I don't do applique on my quilts and as such didn't choose any applique dies.  I chose the hexagon die, 2" square, and drunkards path.  I will provide short tutorials on the remaining dies in the future.
  • I found the Go! dies work fabulous with scraps.  It's easy to use and fast.  I cut all the hexagons for this pillow from various scraps in about 15 minutes.  Although, I'm not sure I would use the Go! to cut an entire quilt if I had yardage.  I would likely stick to my hexagon ruler if I had fabric strips the width of fabric.
  • Follow the directions precisely on the Go! cutter.  You may not get accurate cuts if you don't cut along the lengthwise grain as directed.
  • Overall, I was really happy with the results from the Go! cutting my hexagons for this project.  


  1. How fun is this!?! I think they will be at CHA again and I will definitely stop by their booth to see it in action, but this looks really impressive!

  2. Very nicely done - your pillow and your tutorial. I've admired hexies from afar, for a very long time. Guess I'll just first need to win an Accuquilt!

  3. You've made a very lovely bed set!

  4. You're making me wish I'd gotten the hexagon die! This is a great project.

  5. Thank you so much for the "how-to!" I am going to do this!

  6. I've never looked at a Go cutter so don't know much about them, but I must say I am totally impressed that you got those trees to land right in the middle of the hexagons. Amazing! And the pillow is gorgeous.

  7. I got the hexagon die too for the exact reasons you are talking about. I wanted dies that would help cut the more tedious or difficult pieces.

    Oh and my husband is EXACTLY the same with regards to throw pillows. He delights in throwing them on the floor. ;)

  8. Cushions for decoration - they are a must - you should have some for each season! I love your fabric choices too, especially the fussy cut trees. As for the Go, I think you had a good plan by picking things that are difficult to cut out.

  9. Agreed agreed and agreed! Love the hexagon die and love the GO especially for things that are a pain to cut! Your pillow looks great love the colors!!

  10. What an absolutely gorgeous pillow!

  11. Looks great Kati! I haven't tried hexies yet, but I want to. The y seams intimidate me!

  12. Gorgeous!!! I got this die, too, and totally intend to make a pillow just like this one :) It looks great on your bed!

  13. This pillow is awesome. And I like that you pieced the hexagon's by machine - I need to be brave and give it a whirl.

    Your bed is to die for. I REALLY need to update my bedroom and I've resisted the idea of making a bed size quilt but yours has totally inspired me!! I love the whole ensemble!!

  14. I've been so chicken to do a hexagon quilt, but a pillow is a great way to get my feet wet without being committed to a big project, thanks for the tutorial!

  15. Cute pillow! I always bind mine like a quilt - I may make more if I did a binding to sew.

    Looks like a GoBaby success!

  16. Wonderful tutorial! BTW, what is up with men not liking throw pillows? I have a son who removes the pillows from the couch before he sits down EVERY time he visits! My sweetie is the same way, and I just love to be surrounded by pillows --behind me, and on my side!

  17. Lovable bet set, your step by step explanation is very nice and easy to follow...