Color Block Pillow – With A Twist!

Hi everyone!  It’s Jann again from Newton Custom Interiors.  As some of you know, I LOVE pillows!  I love how they can quickly and easily change the look of a room.   Today I’m going to share my tutorial for how to make a color block pillow with a twist.

How to make this stunning reversible color block pillow with knife pleat panel and cording.  Videos help you every step of the way.

This pillow is made with two or more fabrics, and is a great way to use those small scraps of fabric that you can’t bear to part with!

side view

The twist is the knife-pleated middle section on the front.  I love how the pleating adds a lot of detail and dimension to the pillow.

center pleating

The back side is plain – no pleating.  A nice reversible option!

back of pillow

This pillow also has cording around the outer edges.  (Which is completely optional!)

color block pillow cording

You can make any variation of this type of pillow that you have enough fabric for.  You can add cording, make the sections all the same size, or have a larger center section and two smaller side sections.

Here’s an example of a pillow that I made for a client.  As you can see, the center section is much wider than the outer sections.  Just play around with the fabric you have available.  Have fun with it!


Color Block Pillow

The amount of fabric that you need for this type of pillow depends on the size of your pillow form, and how much fabric you have available.  You can see from my examples that you can make the sections whatever size you would like.

My pillow size is 12″ x 16″ – actually my pillow form is a 12″ x 16″, and my finished pillow is 11″ x 15″ because I don’t like to add in seam allowances.  I like my pillow covers to fit snugly on the form.

You can adjust your measurements accordingly for your size of pillow, and the fabric that you have available.

Materials needed:
Fabrics – at least two different fabrics
Pillow form
Fabric stabilizer (iron on) – this helps to stabilize the knife pleated middle section

Instructions – for a 12″ x 16″ pillow form:

  1. Cut out the front pieces – again you can make each section as wide or narrow as you’d like.    I decided to make each end section finish at 5 1/2″ and the center section to finish at 4″.  5 1/2″ + 4″ + 5 1/2″ = 15″ for my finished width.  Add in seam allowances for sewing the sections together.   I forgot to take a picture of the long center section, so I had to do an overlay in Picmonkey.  That’s why the center section doesn’t look long enough in this picture.  To figure the length of the knife-pleated center section, take your finished length and multiply it by 3.  I like to add a couple of inches  just in case I need extra fabric.  12″ x 3 = 36″ + 2″ = 38″ for the length of the center knife-pleated section.  Each outer section is cut at the size of you pillow form – mine is 12″.
  2. front pieces   Cut out the back pieces.  The width of each piece is the same as the front of your pillow.  If you don’t want to have a knie-pleated center section on the back side, then the length of the center section will be the same as the end sections. back pieces
  3. Starting about 1″ away from the end of the center section, make a knife pleat ruffle on one side of your center section.  I’ve made a how to make a knife-pleat ruffle video which helps explain the process.knife pleating
  4. Cut off the excess fabric on each end of the pleats – making sure that you have 1/2″ left on each end for the seam allowance.  I wanted my pleated section to measure at 12″.  Making the pleats is not an exact science – sometimes the pleats are looser or tighter, so you may have to re-do some of them to get your final correct measurement.pleated section Cut out a piece of fabric stabilizer, and place it on top of the wrong side of the knife-pleated section.  Making sure that the iron-on glue is next to the pleated fabric.stabilizer
  5. Iron the stabilizer on to the pleated fabric.  This will help to keep the ruffles in place when your pillow for is inserted.  Otherwise the pleats can spread out too much.stabilizer ironed on
  6. Sew the second end of the knife-pleated ruffles.sewing other side of pleat
  7. Sew the front sections together.  Sewing the middle seams – right sides together.front sections
  8. Front sewn together.  Because of the pleating and the fabric stabilizer, you probably won’t be able to iron the seams open.front pieces sewn together
  9. Sew the 3 back pieces together.  Right sides together.  Iron seams open.back pieces
  10. Optional – make enough cording to go around the pillow.  I’ve made a how to make cording video tutorial if you’re unsure how to do this.cording
  11. Sew the cording to the front side of the pillow cover.  I’ve made a video tutorial that shows how to add cording to a pillow too.sewing on cording
  12. Pin the front to the back side (right sides together).  Start and end the pins 2″ from each end of the bottom side.  This will leave an opening on the bottom side to insert the pillow form.front and back pinned
  13. Sew the front and back sides together.  Clip the corners and turn pillow cover right side out.corners clipped
  14. Turn pillow cover right side out, and insert the pillow form.  Pin the bottom edges closed.pinned
  15. Hand sew the bottom edges together using a ladder stitch.  I’ve done a video tutorial that shows how to hand sew a pillow closed.

You’re done!  I hope you’ve enjoyed this pillow tutorial.  Do you enjoy making different types of pillows to change the look of your room?

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Introducing Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

Hi!  I'm Jann Newton, and I blog about home decor, sewing tutorials and DIY projects at Newton Custom Interiors.

Recently, I was asked to teach a class for Craftsy -  Custom Bedding - Decorative Shams & Bolsters.  So Sew Easy readers enjoy a discount on my class!

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14 Responses to Color Block Pillow – With A Twist!

  1. Beverly says:

    So excited about this tutorial – thanks!! Definitely want to try this!! Beautiful pillow!!

  2. Sahana says:

    It’s really nice pillow. I will try..

  3. Margaret Martin says:

    What I think? I think I want to make about 4 of these in a little different shapes and sizes for my bed and 4 for our guest bedroom. OH…did I say I love them!

  4. stephanie says:

    I am going to give this a try not done much sewing before

  5. Beautiful, Jann. The pleats look so effective. Featured today.

  6. Ramona says:

    I love making pillows and this is a wonderful tutorial to add to my collection.

  7. Cathy says:

    Such a wonderfully detailed tutorial! Thanks so much

What do you think?