Monday, May 18, 2015

"The Pigeon" Reading Pillows

We've made a lot of pillows this year, but these fun Pigeon Reading Pillows just might be my favorite. They're made to last with washable quilted covers made to last all the wear and tear they're likely to get in their new home in my daughter's kindergarten class.  And as always a big thank you to Fairfield for making this project possible.  They provided me with the pillow inserts and batting and compensated me for writing this post.  All ideas and opinions are my own.  The post contains affiliate links that help support my blog and allow me to continue to bring you great projects.

We made these for Teacher Appreciation Week as a gift for my daughter's kindergarten teacher, but they'd make a great end-of-year gift too.

My favorite teacher gifts are things that meet a specific need for their room, and lots of teachers have a reading corner with cushions to encourage kids to cozy up to a favorite book.

If you have an early reader in your house and you haven't discovered The Pigeon books or the Elephant and Piggie Books by Mo Willems yet, YOU NEED TO.  We were introduced to them a couple year ago by our school librarian, and they are awesome.  Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus is the original Pigeon book and The Pigeon Fabric from Cloud 9 Fabrics focuses on that book.  But really if you have an early reader, you need the whole set or a trip to your local library.

Mo Willems books have been super popular this year in my daughter's kindergarten class, so we thought Pigeon pillows would be perfect.

Skill Level: Late beginner - Intermediate

Time: 1 - 1 1/2 hours

Here's what you'll need to make one 16-in pillow.


Cut 1 - 17"inch square and 2 - 17"x11" rectangles of EACH of the main pigeon fabric, your batting, and your lining fabric.  (So, you'll have a total of 3 squares and 6 rectangles.)

Cut out 1 or 2 large pigeons and 1 or 2 large word bubbles from your cheater print.  Cut out paper backed interfacing large enough for each shape.

Iron paper-backed interfacing onto the BACK of your fabric following manufacturer's instructions.

Cut out leaving a generous 1/8-inch of fabric around your word bubble and pigeon.

Peel off paper backing.

Arrange onto your 17" square.  You want it AT LEAST 2-3 inches away from the edge of your pillow, so that it will still be clearly visible when your pillow is stuffed.  Iron securely according to manufacturer's instructions.

Layer your front, batting, and lining fabric into a quilt sandwich. 

I love to use basting spray to keep everything from sliding, but it's not completely necessary on a small project like this.  If you've never tried basting spray, you should.  It will revolutionize your quilting life. 

Using a tight zigzag stitch or satin stitch, sew around the edges of your appliques with coordinating thread.  Leave your thread tails long INSTEAD of back-stitching.

Pull your thread tails through to the back and tie a secure knot.

Using coordinating thread, add some extra quilting lines to the front of your pillow to keep things secured.  I just did random lines going every which way, with breaks, so they didn't go through my large pigeon or word bubble.

Now we'll start on the back side of our pillow.  Because I just had 1/2 yard of fabric and my print had an up and down to it, the opening on the back of the pillow had to be vertical.  Take your rectangle pieces and layer them with with the batting on the bottom, your lining fabric FACE UP, and your main cover fabric FACE DOWN.

Pin along the interior edges that are going to become your pillow opening.  Stitch with a 1/2 inch seam.

Iron your seam so that the batting is now between the lining and the main fabric.  It works best to fold it so that some of the main fabric just slightly shows on the back, thus making sure the lining fabric does not show on the front.

If you're using basting spray, you may want to add some between the batting and the two layers of fabric to hold everything in place.

I had extra large Pigeons and extra word bubbles, so I chose to add them to the back of the pillow as well.  If you're going to add appliques to the back, repeat the steps from earlier to add the pigeons and stitch around them using the zigzag stitch.

Add quilting lines the same way you added them to the front.

Cut 17 inches of sew-on velcro.  Sew one side of the velcro 1/8-1/4 inch from the edge of the outside flap of the pillow cover.

Place your two back rectangle pieces over your front square, with the outside flap on top.  Carefully fold over the top flap just beyond the velcro, so you can measure for where to place the other side of the velcro.

Pin and sew.

Use the velcro to connect your two back pieces to form a square that will make the back of your pillow.  

Place the front and back of your pillow RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, and pin around all four edges.

Sew with a 1/2 inch seam allowance around all four sizes.

Trim corners.

Open the velcro and turn right side out, paying particular attention to the corners.

Insert your your pillow.

Now go grab your favorite pigeon book!

Connect with me on...

Please show my sponsors some love...
The Pigeon Dreams Fabric - From Quilt Sandwich Fabrics
The Pigeon Repeat Fabric - From Quilt Sandwich Fabrics
The Pigeon Speak Fabric - From Quilt Sandwich Fabrics 
Modern Baby Quilt with Sarah Jane Fabrics - Pieces by Polly

I'll be linking to:  make it wear it    Photobucket Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!   Fresh Poppy DesignOr so she saysSo I Married A Craft BloggerWIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSomewhat Simple   I Quilt @ Pretty BobbinsThe Girl CreativeThe Girl CreativeMake it and Love it

Pin It


  1. I love these pillows! They are sooooo cute! I'm pinning this. I my have to get some of the pigeon fabric.

    Navy Wifey Peters @ The Submarine Sunday Link Party


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you. I also love responding, so please make sure your Blogger account is set up for me to be able to see your email address or include your email address. I've had to stop accepting anonymous comments due to spam. If you don't have any other way to comment, you can always send an email.