Hi, fellow GO! Getters! It's Gina from Gem Hill Quilts. I'm so excited to share with you my first guest blog post for AccuQuilt and it's all about making pillows with one of my favorite blocks.
Recently, I made 18” and 24” pillows using the brand-new GO! Churn Dash die in the 9” Finished (55339) and the 12” Finished (55459) versions, respectively. The name of the pattern is the GO! Butter Churn Pillow. It was delightful to use the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter for these pillows.
Actually, it wasn't just delightful - it was and IS an ABSOLUTE DREAM to use the GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter! Plug it in, push a button to turn it on and away you go. Fabric shapes are effortlessly cut in seconds! What a breeze! Can you tell how much I love this machine?
The GO! Churn Dash is a BOB™ (Block on Board) design, which means all the shapes needed to make the block are on one die. So, on this die, you will find the shapes for the square, rectangles and triangles that make up the Churn Dash block.
These pillow patterns are pretty thorough. Except for the border, every patch can be cut with this one die. Here, I share with you some tips and tricks to make these pillows even easier to make.
First, prepare your fabrics for cutting. I rough-cut the necessary width-of-fabric strips and then, I cut them in shorter strips – maybe 2 or three per width-of-fabric strip. That way, the strips are short enough to fan-fold to get multiple cuts in one shot and yet you don't go over the recommended 6 layers of cutting at one time.
By the way, I leave the selvages on the strips because it's a quick way to see the lengthwise grain, which runs parallel to the selvage. This helps me orient the strips correctly on the die. Remember, to ensure accurate cuts when using the GO! Fabric Cutting System, you always want to have the lengthwise grain of your fabric go through your cutter. If you send your fabric through the cutter on the crosswise grain, some stretching of the fabric may occur, which can cause inaccurate cuts.
To cut even quicker, I fan-folded the fabrics for all three shapes and placed them on the die ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I do make sure that where the fabrics overlap, the total number of layers are no more than six. So, three fabrics on one die! Oh, my!
Place the cutting mat on top of the fabrics and the die and give it a gentle push through. The GO! BIG Electric Fabric Cutter takes over right away and all you have to do is stand back, smile and watch magic happen!
Lift the mat off the die and voila, you have nicely-cut shapes.
Continue to cut the shapes needed, doing multiple fabric cuts when possible.
Once you have all the shapes cut, lay them out in the pillow design so it is easier to visualize. Sew adjacent rectangles into square units. You can chain-piece these units if you like.
Then, sew adjacent triangles into square units, chain-piecing again if you like. I love that the triangle corners are pre-trimmed. You know exactly where to align the triangles with the sewing machine needle for the perfect 1/4” seam and there are no “dog ears” to trim off after pressing!
Replace the rectangle and the triangle units in your layout. Start sewing units within each row together. Then, when all the rows are sewn, sew them together into the quilt square.
To cut the border strips, I used the GO! Strip Cutter – 2” (1 1/2” Finished) (55025) for the 18” pillow and the GO! Strip Cutter – 2 1/2” (2 1/2” Finished) (55017) for the 24” pillow. Sew the border strips onto the quilt square and the top is done!
My friend, Anne Cowan, machine-quilted motifs on these pillow tops using her longarm machine. Didn't she just do a wonderful job?!
To finish the pillows, I created a backing by layering two folded pieces of fabric. This creates a built-in opening in the backing. Placing the quilted pillow front on top of the backing, match the raw edges and sew all the way around. Serge or use a zigzag stitch to finish the seams. Turn inside out and the pillow is done!
Here's one last tip: Use an oversized pillow form – a 20” form for the 18” pillow and a 27” form for the 24” pillow. This fills out the pillow better.