Moda Fabrics is a sponsor of the Million Pillowcase Challenge with American Patchwork & Quilting. I asked Jennifer Keltner, Senior Editor of American Patchwork & Quilting, what her inspiration was for such a big project. Here is Jennifer’s reply.
The inspiration for the project came from wanting to launch something that everyone could participate in—no matter what your skill level. With a pillowcase, it is fun and easy to make, doesn’t take a lot of time, and is certainly a way to showcase great fabrics you might not otherwise work with (don’t fit your usual style, color, etc.) It’s also a great way to practice a new-to-you technique such as prairie points, foundation piecing, diagonal block seams, etc. By incorporating that technique in a pieced pillowcase band, you can experiment first before making a commitment to a big quilt project.
On a very personal level, I was touched by two stories which made me think about the power of pillowcases making a difference. One was from a guild member who knew that in her area foster children had all their possessions tossed into a trash bag when they were moved from place to place. She vowed to have her guild donate pillowcases so every foster kid in the county could tuck their few possessions into a handmade case and have a soft place to rest their heads during trying times. The second was a story of a mother who made pillowcases for her son who was in a cancer ward—she was desperate to brighten up his room and his day. She did, and after he passed away, she had the courage to keep on creating them for the other people’s kids in the same tough spot. She and her husband eventually formed the ConKerr Cancer Foundation to make a difference for kids with cancer around the country by making pillowcases. Turning their grief into an ongoing effort for good really spoke to my heart.
I’m so touched by the hundreds of stories and emails I’ve read about where and how people are donating cases. The ultimate story of how the Million Pillowcase Challenge is an outreach to others came to my attention last week. Check out this girl learning to quilt with her mom, very inspiring girl (you’ll know what I mean when you check out her blog). Scroll down to the Tuesday, February 23 posting and make sure to click on the link to her friend Kristen’s blog to see how touched her friend was to receive the pillowcase. If this story doesn’t give you goosebumps….whoa! The power of quilting and motherhood and pillowcases and big hearts all rolled into one!
Thank you Jennifer
The staff here at moda fabrics have been feverishly making pillowcases. We are addicted! Jennifer also told me that they have a goal of 1000 pillowcases to be made by their staff. I will have to let the Moda crew know about that goal. The following pillowcase is a tutorial of the pillowcase I sent to APQ.
The following is actually 2 tutorials, Prairie Points and Pillowcases.
Determine the size of Prairie Point you need. (I used a pattern from APQ that required 3″ prairie points.)
I doubled that size and cut a strip, 6″ wide x 45″ long.
Fold the strip in half length wise and press to determine the middle. Start on one end of the strip and cut every 3″ stopping at the middle fold. From the other side of the strip make your first cut at 1 1/2″ then start cutting every 3″ being sure to stop at the middle fold. Your strip will look like the one below.
6″ strip cut every 3″ alternating on each side so it it staggered
Lay the strip on your ironing board and press all the squares in the same direction. Leave the 1 1/2″ strip
loose. You will get rid of it later.
Then continue pressing all the triangles back onto themsleves in the opposite direction.
The strip of “Points” will fold together to create your strip of prairie points.
By pressing the points in the same direction you can “nest” each of the points into each other as shown in the picture shown below.
The points all line up nicely and rest inside each other. This step if reminds me of a caterpillar. To hold the “caterpillar” in place you can now top stitch this down to hold them in place.
A couple of other notes before moving on to how I used it in my pillowcase.
If you want a strip longer than approx 41″ of points just make another strip and nest it into the last point on your strip. This is the perfect size for making prairie point border on a baby quilt or throw.
The length of the prairie point strip will always be the length of the fabric. The only thing that varies is how many points and how far apart they are.
For example, cut an 8″ strip for 4″ prairie points and you will have fewer but bigger points. The strip will still be approx 41″/42″ long.
Cut a smaller strip 4″ for 2″ points and you will have a bunch of cute little tiny points. The strip will still be approx 41″/42″ long.
NOTE TO SELF: Love the 2″ point idea. Go make some tonight.
The instructions listed below are almost like doing a magic trick. Everytime we finsh one we say Ta Da!!
However it is very hard to illustrate it in pictures. So my word of advice is to make a sloppy copy pillowcase just in case you mess up. And I also want to say TRUST ME! you will love this method. It is two seams! remember Magic! TA DA!
Pattern used is one of the free downloads from APQ.
Fabric featured is Whimsy by Fig Tree & Co.
Casing- Cut 9″ x 45″
Body of pillow 28″ x 45″
You choice of small flange, ric rac etc.
In the instructions below I have used the prairie points from above.
Lay CASING piece right sides up. Pin the points or trim of your choicealong the edge.
With me so far?
Lay Pillowcase fabric right side down towards casing fabric. Lightly roll the pillowcase fabric until you can see the casing fabric below. This will seem odd but it does work.
Taking the exposed casing fabric and roll it up to the top enclosing the entire pillowcase fabric. Pin together. Now you may think that you are making fabric sausages, but you’re not. This is also where you have to really trust me.
SEAM 1: Sew the tube together. I know it seems odd, but this IS where the magic happens.
Once you have done this step, literally grab a section from inside the tube and start pulling. (Love my great picture?This is where I needed the video.) Keep pulling until you have turned the entre thing right side out.
TIP: You must say TA! DA! as you pull so that the magic happens!
This is what it looks like when it comes out of the tube. The casing is completely sewn without doing any handwork!
Fold the Pillowcase right sides together.
SEAM 2: Sew down the side and across the bottom.
You now have a finished pillowcase. Serge or Zig Zag the edges if you choose.