Denim Circle Pillow, Tutorial- Part 3

If you missed Part 1, GO HERE. 

If you missed Part 2, GO HERE.


Here’s where we left off in Part 2... 




1.  Cut the backing fabric into two pieces, 13” x width of your

     pillow top.

     In this instance, I cut two pieces of fabric, 13” x 17 1/2”.




2.  Roll the long edge of each piece over 1/4” and press.

     Roll the edge over 1/4” a second time and press.

     Top stitch.  These will be the finished edges of your pillow
















3.   We are making an envelope style pillow backing.  Overlap the two finished edges on

      your table surface, WRONG SIDES up. 

      Move the two pieces of fabric back and forth until the width of the two pieces equals

      the width of your pillow top.  (i.e. 17 1/2”) 

      PIN the two pieces together at the top and bottom. 


   *Note: in the picture, the fabric is WRONG sides up.     IMG_1752
















4.  Place your pillow top, RIGHT SIDE up on the wrong side of your backing fabric. 

    Match the edges and pin around the pillow.  Do NOT leave an opening for
















   SEW using a 1/2” seam allowance.  Reinforce where your backing pieces


   I usually sew around the edges of the pillow twice, directly over the first seam

   to reinforce it.




   There are many different brands of spring loaded scissors.  Some I like better than

   others.  Two of my favorites are “Galaxy Notions” and “Fiskars Craft Snip”. 



















  I begin by snipping around the edges of my pillow.  The 1/2” seam allowance

  allows for plenty of room to clip.  Be careful not to clip the seam!!  Sewing twice helps

  in case this happens.  The space between each snip varies but averages 1/4-



  The edges of the pillow will be more difficult to cut through than the edges of your

  circles because there is a lot more fabric to get through. 















6.  Once you have cut around the entire pillow top, clip all of the circle

     edges.                              IMG_1761















7.  Rough up the edges of your pillow top and the snipped circles using a stiff

     cleaning brush.

     This is entirely optional.  I believe most people just throw their rag quilts directly into

     the wash after snipping. 

     This is just one of my little tricks.  I like my quilts and pillows to be as full as possible

     so I give them a good “brushing” prior to washing. 

     When you’re done, shake off the excess fabric.


     Warning:  This is a messy process.  Sometimes I do it outside on the patio table.  It

     also kicks up a lot of fibers so if you are sensitive, you may want to wear a dust   

     mask to minimize an allergy attack.













8.  Give your pillow a few good shakes, I do this outside.


     Wash and dry it and you’re done!  I usually iron my pillow back after it

     comes out of the dryer, it gets a little wrinkled. 


     You’ve got to wash and dry it to get the full frayed effect.  Make sure you clean your

     dryer lint trap once it’s done.  It will probably be pretty full.




    That’s it!!  Put it on your pillow form and you’re done!!




Thank you, I hope this was an enjoyable project.  If you have any feedback or comments, please let me know at:


  1. thank you so much for sharing that good tutorial. i always love things made of old jeans and your pillow is a very nice project!
    many greetings from Austria!

  2. Hi! Saw this pillow featured on Craft Gossip and had to check it out. Looks like a Cathedral Window pattern - like the denim and frayed edge! I'm your newest follower. I'd be happy to have you join me at

  3. Hi Joy,
    I'm so glad you came over to see my tutorial! Thank you!!!
    You're right, this really does resemble a cathedral window pattern.
    Thank you for becoming my newest follower!!
    I will also be going over to your sites ASAP!

  4. Hi Elenor,
    Thank you so much! ;)
    Happy to hear from someone in Austria!

  5. Heather, I was interested in your tutorial on the denim circle pillow listed on Craft Gossip. When I clicked on your link, I was surprised to see "Nevada Quilt Shops" and low and behold, our very own "Fallon Quilt Show" held May 2010. Thank you for the nice words about our members quilts and the show.
    Penny Gregory-Membership for Nevada Quilt Guild

  6. Hi Penny,

    We had a terrific time at the Fallon Quilt Show! We didn't make it this year but are planning on next year for sure!
    Thank you for mentioning that you saw it. I'm so glad to hear from someone in the guild!!
    Heather :)

  7. Hi - just popped over from the Quilt Inspiration blog and wanted to say thanks for the circle quilt tutorial. Nicely done!

  8. Thank you for visiting JustGail!!! :)

  9. this pillow is absolutly wonderfull. i like your tutorial very much.
    greetings from germany.

  10. Thank you Kleine (all the way from Germany)!! :)

  11. I just found your site today, and I've had this exact same design in my head for years! My plan is to cover the couch with it, since the cushions are starting to look bad. My design is to use a red neckerchief or hankerchief as the middle for each, and I finally found that fabric design a few weeks ago in Ohio!! (The regular handkerchiefs are too thin...)Now I have no excuse, except the wedding this weekend, the quilts for my son's wedding (3 years ago) and the daughter's wedding this week.... Maybe in a few months I can get started on it. Thanks for the great tutorial!!! EXACTLY what I wanted!!!

  12. Hi Kate,
    How great that you are going to cover your couch!! I'm certain it will look terrific! Sounds like you've got it well planned! Best of luck!

  13. thank you for a great tutorial, have been dauntet by the shear amount of fabric needed for regular Cathedral window quilts, so this way is awsome, thanks all the way from Denmark..

  14. Excellent tutorial! Thanks for a great project idea. Will be making one of these for my grandson's room VERY soon!
    Cindy in DE

  15. I know notice this pattern has been on for awhile but I just discovered it and can not wait to use all my denim scraps. Thank you for offering this. Great job.

  16. Thank you, I just discovered your site. Can't wait to make this. Finally using up my denim scraps.

  17. I think this would make an adorable vest to wear! Hmmm...

  18. I agree, a vest would be adorable! The possibilities are endless!

  19. Hi Heather! I just found your tutorials on - Excellent!! We live near Birmingham, AL and I am thrilled to see such inspiration available on the web. Thanks for sharing all of your neat tips. Looks like I'll have to "follow you" for more inspiration. ;-) Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Katie

  20. Thank you so very much for the easy to understand tutorial! I am going to use your method for all of my old jeans to make a family size beach blanket using your method. We are avid beach goers and I love to make things that are not only functional but creative and beautiful! Thank you so much!

  21. Great project I'm making a large throw using this pattern have 80 circles cut another 90 to go, I have a quick question, I don't have any batting, would fleece work as well or should I get some cotton batting.

  22. I was just wondering the other day if you could fluff up the rag part with a brush. I think the people who just throw them into the washer should worry about how many of those fibers get stuck in the washer itself. I was hoping to find a way to eliminate some of the fibers before washing. Thanks for showing me that it can work that way.

  23. Yes! Yes Murphy! Definitely!! This is actually something I teach in my workshops now. I use a stiff bristled brush from the Dollar Store (similar to a toilet brush) to roughen up the edgesand THEN I use my vacuum hose attachment and suck up all of those little fibers! Works great!


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