How To Make a Quillow
What Is It?
Updated January 14/15
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a quillow is a quilt and a pillow all in one. They are great for the couch or in a vehicle. They are relatively simple to make...all that is required are some basic sewing skills and a sewing machine. The sewing may be done by hand as well, but the machine is much faster. If sewing by hand, be sure to make the stitches small and backstitch every few inches to keep it from coming apart.
I have made several over the years. The one pictured was made from 100% cotton broadcloth; simple yet functional.
Note: The instructions below are for a single quillow, but with some minor adjustments you may make a larger or smaller one. To make a pillow that your quilt will fit into easily, divide the width of your quilt by 3, then add 4 to 6 inches to your cushion panel.
A "Must Have" Book
Deciding on Fabric
To begin, decide on the fabric to be used. One hundred percent cotton works perfectly, but a polyester/cotton blend may also be used. Once this has been established, it’s time to go shopping!
Purchase four and a half yards of fabric (45” wide), a twin size polyester batting and thread to match the fabric. For those who are sewers, these are items that are most likely already lurking in the closet just waiting to be used.
I have made them using plain fabric, but any print fabric will also work. When my son was little, I bought two "road" panels, sewed them together and used flannel as the back. The cushion part was a race car panel. He spent countless hours playing with his Hot Wheels on that quilt, and it was his favourite quilt to curl up under.
Something to help with fabric selection is to think about the intended use of the quillow. If sporting events or camping are popular in your household, flannel and denim work great. The denim side doesn't attract much in the way of grass, and the flannel side is warm. Plus, wrapping up in a polyester quilt is not the safest around a campfire.
7 Steps to Completion
A rotary cutter and mat make the cutting go much faster, but if these are not available scissors and a big ruler will work just as well.
1. Cut the fabric into two 72 ½” lengths. There will be a piece left over. Cut this piece into two 19” squares and set aside.
2. Place the two big pieces of fabric right sides together and lay them out on the batting. Leave at least one inch of batting sticking out past the fabric. Pin the fabric to the batting. Now it is time to sew!
3. Leave an opening at one end of the quilt 18” long. To mark the start and stop lines, measure 9” from the center in each direction and put in two straight pins.
4. Start sewing at the first set of pins to the right of the opening, using a ¼” seam allowance. Sew all the way around to the next set of pins. Be sure to backstitch both start and stop points. Trim the batting even with the fabric. Turn right side out and smooth out. Turn the opening in and either blind stitch by hand or machine stitch close to the edge.
5. To make the cushion part of the quillow, lay the two squares right sides together and place it on a square of batting. Follow the same procedure as for the quilt, but only leave an opening of 6”. Turn right side out and stitch the opening closed.
6. To attach the two together, place the square at one end of the back of the quilt. Center it and pin in place. Start the stitching line on the top right side of the cushion, sewing as close to the edge as possible. Sew around the three sides to the top left corner, remembering to backstitch beginning and end. The fourth side is left open.
7. Fold the long sides of the quilt toward the center as far as the edge of the cushion. Hold them in place using straight pins. This will mark your quilting line. Sew one line from the cushion end to the opposite end, being careful NOT to catch the quilt edge in the stitching. Do the same for the other side. Remove the pins.
How It Works
To fold the quilt, lay it cushion side down. Fold the long edges toward the center. Place hands inside the cushion and turn out. Fold the remaining length of quilt into three and tuck inside the cushion. This does take a little practice when first learning how to do it, but it will become easier.
Share the Joy
Make one for each family member and a couple to spare. They are great for camping, picnics and sporting events (a must for hockey games). The best part about them (in my opinion) is feet get tucked into the cushion when the quillow is unfolded.
For those of you who enjoy quilting, a front panel can be made using your favourite quilt pattern. Make a matching cushion panel and you have a real "quilt in a pillow".