Off-Kilter Log Cabin Pillow

The featured pillow for the 2017  Pillow Challenge offers a modern approach to a traditional Log Cabin quilt block design. The color choice gives the pillow a mid-century modern feel—the process is the time-honored Stitch ‘n Flip technique. Curious? The complete instructions are below.

Fabrics and Cutting/Labeling Instructions

This pillow can easily be made from fabrics from your stash or fabric purchased specifically for this project. As you cut out the squares or strips, label the strips for easy reference.

  • Center block (turquoise): Cut one 6-1/2″ square, label #1
  • Half-square triangle (purple): Cut one 3-1/2″ square, label #2
  • Interior logs (black—1/4 yard): Cut one 2-1/2″ and one 4-1/2″ crosswise strips.

Subcut:

  • One 2-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ rectangle, label #3
  • One 2-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ rectangle, label #4
  • One 4-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ rectangle, label #5
  • One 4-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ rectangle, label #6
  • Exterior logs and pillow backing (grey—1 yard): Cut two, 5-1/2″ and one 2-1/2″ crosswise strips.

Subcut:

  • One 5-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ rectangle, label #7
  • One 2-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ rectangle, label #8A
  • One 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangle, label #9A
  • Two  5-1/2″ x 19-1/2″ rectangles, label one #10 and the other #11
  • One 5-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ rectangle, label #12
  • One 5-1/2″ x 24-1/2″, label #12
  • Accent logs: (lemon—2-1/2″ crosswise strip): Cut one 2-1/2″ crosswise strip.

Subcut:

  • One 2-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ rectangle, label #8B
  • One 2-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ rectangle, label #9B
  • Polyester Fleece or Quilt Batting: One 26″ square

Layout squares and strips as shown.

Stitch ‘n Flip Technique

Note: Seam allowances are 1/4″ unless indicated.

  • With right sides together, stitch #8A to #8B and #9A to #9B, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the seams toward the darker fabric.

  • Create a half-square triangle. Align squares #2 to #3, with right sides together, in the lower right hand corner. Stitch from corner to corner. Trim 1/4″ from stitching line.  Press block #2, right side out.


  • Position square, right side up, on the polyester fleece square 9″ from the top and 8″ from the right side. The red lines indicate the fleece edges.
  • Machine baste the square to the fleece around the outside edge.

  • Align strip #3, right sides together, to the right side of the square. Stitch.

  • Flip Strip #3 to the right side; press.

  • Align strip #4, right sides together, to the lower side. Stitch.

  • Flip Strip #4 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #5, right sides together, to the left side. Stitch.
  • Flip Strip #5 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #6, right sides together, to the top side. Stitch.
  • Flip Strip #6 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #7, right sides together, to the right side. Stitch.
  • Flip Strip #7 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #8, right sides together, to the lower side. Stitch.
  • Flip Strip #8 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #9, right sides together, to the left side. Stitch.
 
  
Pin seam allowance at intersection.
  • Flip Strip #9 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #10, right sides together, to the top side. Stitch.
  • Flip Strip #10 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #11, right sides together, to the lower side. Stitch.
  • Flip Strip #11 to the right side; press.
  • Align strip #12, right sides together, to the left side. Stitch.
  • Flip Strip #12 to the right side; press.
  • To easily make the off-kilter block, cut a 20-1/2″ square from poster board or tag board.
  • Place the window over the block. Mark corners.
    • Using a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat, trim off excess fabric.
Ta-dah! The Off-Kilter Block is finished.

Consider making this Off-Kilter design in a brighter colorway using the guide below:

The assembly steps are the same as described above.

 To develop this block into a pillow, follow the instructions used on the Sew a Pillow from an Orphan Block blog post. Enter the pillow into the 2017 Pillow Sewing Challenge! View the Pillow Challenge entries in the photo album here.

  For the Off-Kilter Pillow, I did not shape the pillow corners as in the orphan block. Instead, I opted for sharp-square corners to complement the modern style. 

Go Social with Your Pillow Sewing Challenge 

2017 Pillow Sewing Challenge by Nancy Zieman

If you have a website, copy the code above and paste it into your website editor to have the Pillow Sewing Challenge badge on your site.

If you are on social sites like Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, or Facebook, let all your friends know you are working on the Pillow Sewing Challenge by tagging your post with the hashtag:   #NZPillowChallenge.

Over $1,100 in prize packages from our generous sponsors:

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Hobo Tote Template and Notions bundle donated by Nancy Zieman, value $50


2017 Pillow Sewing Challenge Schedule

  • March 28: Entry Deadline
  • April 4: Winners Announced

Watch Sewing With Nancy online.

Bonus Inspiration

What if you were to make this Off-Kilter block into a quilt? Here are three fun digital quilt design options:

Quilt 1

This larger quilt mixes the two different color blocks, rotating the design as the pairs are joined. Notice there is no sashing on this contemporary design.

Quilts 2 and 3

Both quilts feature blocks made in a single color palette. The designs have sashing strips and cornerstones making modern and traditional styles collide. Sashing and border strips feature colors from the original block. Notice each block is rotated.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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