Patchwork: The Tie That Binds

I am not a quilter.  I admire the skill and creativity it requires and also the beautiful and intricate designs. But I don’t have the key ingredient: patience. However, I do love using up pieces of this and that. I have trouble throwing away scrap fabric because I know it can be made into something. Another thing I love about patchworking is that you can combine seemingly mismatched fabrics to create a cohesive whole. 

The Situation

Suppose you have this scenario: you painted your favorite pastel color on your walls. But then you got a great deal on some on-trend curtains. But they don’t have your favorite wall color in them. Then there are the other elements: the chair from grandma, and the brand-new sofas, the sentimental chotchkies, the beautiful painting. But the problem is that none of them work particularly well all together. Eclectic style is great. But the way to make it successful is to have a common thread running throughout your space. Color can be that tie that binds. So, what do you do?

The Solution


Go to the fabric store and get a variety of patterns that speak to you. But be sure that some of them have your wall color and some have the curtain colors, etc. Get fabrics that have all the colors you are trying to use in the space. Now it’s time to do something with them. I decided that throw pillows could be the secret to bringing the space into a happy harmony. Since we were going for a funkier, less country vibe, I decided that simple stripes were the way to go. Here is what I did.

The Process

  • Prewash all the fabric.

  • Cut each one into 4” strips.

  • Lay out what order you want them to be in.

  • Sew them together side by side.

  • From the back side, iron the seams open.

  • Cut the fabric to fit a pre-made pillow form. I used an 18” x 18”. I always cut the pillow cover on the small size to make the finished product seem overstuffed. Make the backside about 1 ½” wider to accommodate a zipper. 

  • Sew in the zipper.

  • Sew the front to the back, rounding off the corners. Double stitch it for strength.

  • Cut off the excess from the corners. 

  • Turn it right side out and insert the pillow form.

  • Ta-dah!


You may not have realized it but this throw pillow was exactly what you were needing; the tie that binds. If you have leftovers, make a table runner, basket or tray liner, or even a small quilt for watching T.V. The possibilities are almost endless!


Feeling Helpless?

If you are don’t sew but would like to learn some basics, sign up for November’s Chics With Tools Workshop. Bring that machine someone gave you that’s been collecting dust in the closet and make a Christmas throw pillow. You never know; it may spark a passion for patchwork! Registration will be open soon!