Dorm Décor: Memory Pillow

My oldest daughter is off to college this month! She will be 1,600 miles away from home so I thought I’d make her a little something for her dorm room to help her remember us while she is away.

DIY Dorm Room Memory PIllow

Supplies

DIY Dorm Room Memory PIllow

Note: All seam allowances are 1/4”-wide unless otherwise indicated.

Step 1) Cut the fabric.

Cut the following:

  • 5 fat quarters for patchwork border: Cut twenty 2¼ʺ squares
  • Border fabric: Cut four 4ʺ x 11ʺ strips
  • Border corner fabric: Cut four 4ʺ squares
  • Pillow back: Cut two 10ʺ x 18ʺ rectangles

Step 2) Print the fabric photo.

Select a photo to use for your pillow and resize/crop into a 7-1/2ʺ square. Remember that 1/4ʺ on each side will be taken up by the seam allowances.

Print your photo on printable fabric following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Trim photo to 7-1/2ʺ square.

family photo

Step 3) Piece the pillow front.

Attach the quarter-inch foot to your machine. This foot will help you maintain an even ¼ʺ-wide seam allowance as you piece together your pillow.

quarter inch foot

Following the guide below

  • Sew four 2-1/4ʺ squares together. Repeat.
  • Sew six 2-1/4ʺ squares together. Repeat.

Press all seam allowances to one side.

patchwork layout

Following the guide, attach the upper and lower strips:

  • Sew one strip of four squares to the lower edge of the photo square. Press seam allowances toward the patchwork strip.
  • Sew the second strip of four squares to the upper edge of the photo square. Press seam allowances toward the patchwork strip.

Following the guide, attach the side strips:

  • Sew one strip of six squares to the left edge of the photo square. Press seam allowances toward the patchwork strip.
  • Sew the second strip of six squares to the right edge of the photo square. Press seam allowances toward the patchwork strip.

attach left and right strips

photo with one border

Following the guide

  • Sew one 4ʺ square to each end of one 4ʺ x 11ʺ strip.
  • Repeat.

upper and lower borders

Following the guide, sew one 4ʺ x 11ʺ strip to each side of the pieced photo square. Press seam allowances to one side.

 attach side borders

Following the guide

  • Sew one square-border-square strip to the upper edge of the pieced pillow front.
  • Stitch the other strip to the lower edge of the pieced pillow front.

Press seam allowances to one side.

outer border corner

Step 4) Quilt the layers together.

Cut a 21ʺ square of white fabric and a 20ʺ square of white batting.

Make a “quilt sandwich”:

  • Place the white fabric right side down and spray it with basting spray.
  • Center the batting square on the white fabric.
  • Center the pieced pillow front on the batting.

Attach the walking foot to your machine, or attach BERNINA Reverse Pattern Foot #1D and engage the BERNINA Dual Feed.

Insert a Quilting needle and thread your machine with 40-weight thread in the needle and 50-weight thread in the bobbin.

walking foot

If your BERNINA sewing machine has a Sewing Advisor, select HEAVY WOVEN from the fabric type menu.

sewing advisor screen

Select QUILTING, then select OK.

sewing advisor screen

sewing advisor screen

Stitch parallel straight lines across the pillow front borders, working in only one direction to help keep the fabric from bunching up. Do not stitch on the photo square!

straight line quilting

quilted pillow front

When stitching is complete, trim the quilted pillow top so all layers are even, the sides are straight, and the corners square.

Step 5) Attach the covered cord or piping.

With the machine still in “quilting mode,” attach the cording/ piping foot (BERNINA Bulky Overlock Foot #12/12C) to your sewing machine. This foot will allow the piping (covered cord) to move easily under the foot and turn 90° at the corners.

Align the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the pillow front. Adjust the needle position so it stitches close to—but not on top of—the piping.

Begin stitching, leaving a 2ʺ-long tail of piping at the beginning.

Sew the piping to the edges of the pillow top, clipping the piping at the corners to allow it to turn at 90°.

attach cording

When you get back to where you started, clip the piping so it is even with the stitched down piping.

clip piping

Unpick the stitches from the tail of piping you left at the beginning. Unwrap the cord and clip the cord out of this piece.

Fold under the raw edges at the end, feed in the remainder of the piping from the other end, and stitch the overlapped ends to the pillow front.

joined ends of piping

Step 6) Insert the zipper.

Attach the zipper foot to your sewing machine.

If your machine has Dual Feed, attach Zipper Foot #4 and engage Dual Feed.

Center the zipper over one 10ʺ x 18ʺ rectangle of fabric; there will be 1ʺ or more of zipper extending past the ends.

Pin the right side of the fabric to the right side of the zipper; stitch in place.

Repeat for the second rectangle and the other side of the zipper.

insert zipper

Press the fabric seam allowances away from the zipper.

From the right side, edgestitch along the sides of the zipper.

Trim the pillow back to 18ʺ square, avoiding the zipper.

Step 7) Construct the pillow.

Pin the pillow back to the front, right sides together.

Reattach the piping foot to your machine.

Stitch the pillow front to the back, sewing over the stitching used to attach the piping.

Trim away the excess zipper.

completedd pillow, wrong side out

Unzip the zipper and turn the pillow right side out.

unzip the zipper

corded corner

Insert the pillow form.

DIY Dorm Room Memory PIllow

DIY Dorm Room Memory PIllow

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