House in the Night Pillow How To
Here is the tutorial for the pillow I made inspired by the children’s book The House in the Night, written by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes. I used Michael Miller’s Gray Citron and Plane Jane Gray fabrics for this project.
For this 16″ x 13.5″ pillow, you’ll need:
- 9 fat quarters, 8 in prints and 1 in a wide stripe.
- White thread
- Fiberfill for stuffing
All seams are 1/4″.
*Note: I cheated on some of the stripes in this pillow. The rows of white and citron stripes are actually 1 fabric that I used, cut into 3 strips, and just added 1 or 2 squares of print fabrics to accent. If you want to piece together all 8 rows of this pillow, you’ll actually need more like 12 fat quarters. These instructions are based on alternating a striped fabric for some of the rows.
1. Set aside 1 whole fat quarter for the pillow back. We’ll cut that out later. You should have 8 fat quarters left.
2. From each of the remaining 7 prints (not the stripe shown at the bottom of the above picture), cut out 1 strip from the selvedge to the opposite edge that is 2 1/4″ wide. From the striped fabric, cut 3 strips 2 1/4″ wide.
The length of these strips should be roughly 21″-22″.
3. When you have all 7 print strips and 3 striped strips cut, lay them out so you can trim off the selvedge and cut end to square them up (only 1 of the striped strips are pictured below).
4. Set aside the 3 strips of striped fabric. With the remaining 7 strips, stack them on top of each other then cut every 2″ until you have 9 stacks that are 2″ wide by 2 1/4″. Make sure you keep them all facing the right direction, so the stacks are 2″ wide and 2 1/4″ long.
5. Begin piecing the stacks together using 1/4″ seams. Each row will be 11 pieces long and there are only 7 patterns, so you will repeat 4 from another stack.Then for the 2nd row you piece, you’ll have a stack with 3 fabrics left, and you’ll have to add from the next stack, and so on.
Your rows should start to look like this:
If you look at the top row, which is my 1st row, you’ll see that I started with 1 stack of 7 pieces. Then I moved on to the next stack and added 4 more pieces. The 2nd row picks up where I left off at the end of the 1st row, finishes that stack, adds a whole other stack, then also adds the 1st fabric in my 3rd stack of pieces to add up to 11. I never shuffled the stacks of pieces, I just pieced each row until I had 11 squares (not exactly squares, but for descriptive purposes). Then I started the next row wherever the last stack left off.
6. Piece the rows in this way until you have 5 rows with 11 squares each. You’ll have 8 squares left over. Press all the seams on each row.
6. Now move on to your striped fabric. Make 1 or 2 cuts in each strip so you can add in some of the remaining squares from your print rows. Here I cut into the strip twice so I could add in 2 squares.
Sew all of these sections together and repeat for the other 2 remaining strips. Press all the seams to one side.
7. Now it’s time to piece the pillow top together. You should have 8 rows total, 5 shorter patchwork rows and 3 longer striped rows. The length of the striped rows will give you more flexibility for placement without having to worry about keeping the 16″ width of the finished pillow.
When you’ve decided on your row placements, begin by pinning your top row to the next one down, spacing out the squares so they look like a brick pattern (staggered, not right on top of each other). Pin them right sides together. **I ended up working bottom up, but that was because I had my first strip turned upside down. Sew one side together using a straight stitch. Unfold and repeat with the remaining 6 rows, spacing each row to give it a brick work effect. Press all the seams.
Your pieced top should look something like this:
Be careful not to space out your 5 shorter rows too much, or you’ll have to cut off so much from either side when you square it up that it will be much less than the width you want.
8. Square up your top so that it measures roughly 16.5″ wide x 14″ long. Take the fat quarter you set aside for the back of the pillow, match it up to your pillow top right sides together. Cut all the way around so the pillow back is the same size as the pillow top. Pin it all the way around.
9. Straight stitch all the way around the pillow, leaving a 3″-4″ opening in the bottom for stuffing.
10. Turn the pillow cover right side out, pushing out the corners with a knitting needle or orange stick.
11. Stuff the pillow and blindstitch the opening closed. I’m terrible at blindstitching, it’s always a bit wonky and homemade looking. But I actually sort of love that.
Now your pillow is finished! I made this one in a few hours, it’s pretty quick.