Denim Circle Pillow- Tutorial, Part 2

**If you missed Part 1, go HERE (Part I)


Now, we’re ready to assemble the pillow front.


Make sure you have the following supplies ready:

     -16 (5”) fabric squares

     -16 (4”) batting squares

     -your 4 previously created rows of denim circles

     -thread to match the denim





1.  Work on one row at a time.  Center each batting square in a denim circle. 

There is no need to measure, just approximate the center of the circle.





2.  Next, center the fabric squares over the batting squares.  Again, approximate the

center and in this case, the fabric WILL be too big for the circle but the excess will

not matter.  Just smooth the excess fabric up the sides of the flaps.







3.  Pin each flap down in preparation for sewing. 

Notice that you cannot see the excess fabric because it has been tucked up

underneath the flaps.






4.  Start sewing!

Begin with the first pair of pinned flaps. 


Sew down one side, pivot (this is easier if you keep the needle in the down

position) and sew around the other side.  Backstitch at both ends.  


I like to use about a 3/8” seam allowance.  The seam allowance

should be big enough to clip later.


Do this for all four rows.









5.  NOW…let’s put all of the rows together!

Use a ruler that is at least as long as your row of circles (I used a 24” ruler).

Measure 1” from the edge of the circles and draw a line.


(Again, no one will see this line so use any kind of marking device you

would like.) 





6.  With WRONG sides together, pin this row to the next one. 

Make sure that in both rows, the fabric squares are facing the OUTSIDE, wrong sides



Sew along this line.  Backstitch at both ends of the row and reinforce each curve by

sewing back and forth over the line.



Reinforce at corners.




8.  Press open the seam and then sew the other two rows together just as you did above.




You should now have two identical sections composed of two rows each.



9.  Sew down the flaps in both sections. Use an approximate 3/8” seam


I have found that the easiest way to do this is to sew in a figure eight pattern,

down one side and up the other.


When you get to one end, leave the needle in the fabric, turn and sew back down the

other side. 

You are basically following a figure eight pattern.  (*see picture below)





10.  Join the two sections together in exactly the same fashion as above.  


Measure 1” from the edge and draw a line.  Pin the two sections together and sew on the

line.  REMEMBER, wrong sides together (fabric facing outward). 


**Backstitch at both ends and reinforce at the circle corners.  






11.  Press the flaps open and flat. Sew the flaps down.  Again, use a figure eight pattern

and a 3/8” seam allowance.






12.  Trimming the Pillow Top.

Measure 1” from all four edges of the pillow top, in this case it is not necessary to

draw a line.  Cut away and discard the 1” circle edges.   




14.   Check the size of your finished square. You will probably need to square it up so

that it is the same width in both directions.

You will want your pillow top to be somewhere between 17 1/2” - 17 3/4”.  Any smaller

and you may have problems getting your pillow form to fit.




On to finishing the pillow!  You will not do the actual clipping of the seams until the back is attached.

For the last step you will need:

     -1/2 yard of backing fabric

     -18” pillow form

     -spring loading scissors (or regular sharp fabric scissors will also work)

     -stiff cleaning brush (optional)


  1. I'm loving your tutorial, but I have a question: If the charm squares are a little too big and the sides have to be smoothed up the sides of the flaps, why not just cut the squares a little smaller? I'm probably not visualizing this very well in my mind.

    I saw a quilt similar to this once, but the raw edges of the circles were satin stitched down instead of clipped and frayed. That must have used up a lot of thread! So I think I like your pattern better.

  2. Yes, you're right!!! If you cut the squares at 4 1/2" they will fit perfectly and you won't have that overhang.
    I really debated putting this in and probably will go back and do so.
    The reason I used the 5" is because I was working with charm squares. With the pillow, it's really not a big deal to cut 16 squares.
    With the quilt, however, there are a lot more squares to cut so I usually use charm squares for convenience.
    Thank you SO much for pointing this out. I will make this change so hopefully, others won't be confused!
    If you make a pillow, I would LOVE to see it!
    Heather :)

  3. Ah, charm squares! I never buy precut squares or strips so it hadn't occurred to me that you were using them. Yes, I can see where that would definitely save a lot of cutting.

    I'm going to try making at least a pillow as soon as I finish my current project because I've been saving jeans for quite a while. (I'm doing the Crumb Quilt-Along at Jo's Country Junction.)

  4. I wasn't thinking this through enough! I should have been more clear about what I was using! :)

    Thank you for bringing this up.

    Oh, the crumb quilts! Good for you. What a great use of all of those little pieces.

    Best of luck on finishing it and I hope the pillow goes together well too!

  5. I think that it is good that you have the fabric bigger. I made a sample and I used the same size fabric and batting and you could see the batting sticking out in some places. I thought that you had bigger square to prevent that from happening. I'm going to try a new sample with the bigger square on top.

  6. Hi Michelle,

    I'm glad you are trying the tutorial. Thanks for the feedback on the batting. Yes, I didn't like the batting sticking out either. Also, by making it smaller than the fabric there are less layers to sew through when putting the flaps down. So many things to consider! :)

  7. Hi I love your pattern-just googled the cath windo quilt pattern-your site came up--what a wonderful way to use up old jeans--cant wait to try this one--thanks for sharing

  8. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy making it!!

  9. HI, I want to thanks for learn us!!! I love patchwork and the Rag Quilt is fantastic, so I'll try to do soon!!!!
    Say hi from Chile!!!

  10. Thanks for the great idea! I just received the rag 12 1/2" circle die for Christmas for my accuquilt studio cutter and now know what my first project will be. Enjoyed your tutorial as well, felt it was very clear instructions and I will recommend it to some of my older women I teach quilting to.

  11. I am visiting our local mission's Thrift Shop...they put boxes just inside the store entry of "give away"s. I just pull the larger sizes in heavy denim (no stretch or light weight) wash and cannibalize. I am careful to take only the ones that no one would want, I am saving the seams to make a tote I saw on you-tube where you zig zag them together (like a rag rug). Then I keep the really ratty pieces to chop up and use in paper making. Only throwing away the waistbands and zipper portion. (maybe I will keep some zippers to try those trendy rose embellishements). I even kept the back "butt" area of a larger pair to add a ruffle and a sash in the loops of the waistband to make a cute apron using red bandana print.

  12. I came across this tutorial one day when I googled scrap denim quilts (I've been saving for quite some time). I don't use throw pillows much in my home, but once I saw this I thought it would make a lovely handbag, so I've modified this tutorial to make a bag instead of a pillow. I'll post pictures when it's done.

  13. Gracias por compartir tu tutorial, la técnica la he realizado cosiendo a mano, me pareció interesante hacerla con la máquina de coser, considero que se realiza más rápido. Voy a intentar realizarlo, gracias nuevamnete

  14. What a wonderful way to use up all my husband's old work jeans. He needs a quilt to cover his chair and protect it when he sits down in his dirty clothes. Thankyou. Nola

  15. I'm making a pillow, thanks for the instructions. I made a baby blanket out of flannel that was double sided by sewing 2 large circles together then turning them inside out and finishing it like the pillow without the batting and the squares.

  16. Since denim is so heavy is the batting necessary. Thinking it would be ok for a large quilt to leave it out.

    1. You can certainly leave out the batting for a lighter weight quilt but honestly, the batting doesn't increase the weight that much. :)


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