New This Month


Quilted Silk-Tie Pillow

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, December 2009


This quilted pillow, created by in-house crafter Kirsten Earl, makes a memorable gift for loved ones.


  • Fabric scraps or cut-up silk ties, in similar colors

  • Silk pins

  • Sewing machine threaded with coordinating thread

  • 3/4 yards silk taffeta fabric, in a lighter color than scraps

  • Iron

  • Scissors

  • Rotary fabric cutter

  • Ruler

  • Rotary paper cutter

  • Low-loft quilt batting

  • Plain muslin

  • Bone folder

  • Silk thread in coordinating or contrasting color

  • 18-inch pillow form


  1. Print and cut 16 log cabin templates from paper, cutting slightly outside the outer border.

  2. Turn one template face down and place a small scrap of fabric right side up over the "1" square. Place a second scrap of fabric right side down over the first scrap. Hold the paper template and scraps up to light and adjust the scraps, if necessary, to completely cover the "1" square. Holding scraps in place (a pin may help in this step), straight stitch along the line between "1" and "2," starting slightly before and ending slightly after the line. No anchoring or backstitch is needed.

  3. Turn template with sewn scraps over, and cut away excess seam allowance. Press seam open, and place another scrap on top of sewn scraps, right side down. Stitch along the line between "3" and the previous work. Trim excess seam allowance and press seam open.

  4. Repeat, adding scraps to areas 4-7, always placing scraps right side down over previous work, trimming seam allowance, and pressing seam open before moving on to the next numbered section. (Note: If you would like to introduce a pattern in the final quilt using the light/dark properties of a log cabin block, use silk fabric that is a lighter value than the scraps for areas "4" and "5.")

  5. When the block is completely sewn, use a rotary paper cutter and ruler to trim around edges of template, cutting off excess paper and fabric to make a perfect square.

  6. Arrange 16 squares into a large square as desired, and sew together along 1/4-inch border marked on each of the templates. Once large square is complete, carefully remove paper backing by tearing along perforations created by stitching. (Note: To make the diamond pattern as seen on the show, create 12 blocks with a light and dark side as detailed in Step 5. Create four "plain" blocks using the light colored silk fabric, and place these in the corners of the larger square. Arrange the other 12 blocks to visually create the darker diamond.)

  7. Make a sandwich with the pieced top, low-loft quilt batting cut to a slightly larger square, and plain muslin cut to the same size as the batting. Baste layers together with silk pins.

  8. Quilt by machine-topstitching with silk thread as desired. To replicate the quilting done on the show, topstitch "in the ditch," or along the seam line, following the border of each piece in the quilt.

  9. Once the quilting is complete, trim the edges of the pillow top to 16 1/2 inches. Create a border: Cut two 1 3/4- by 16 1/2-inch strips of fabric and sew onto two opposite sides of the quilted piece with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press seams open. Cut two 1 3/4- by 18 1/2-inch strips and sew onto the remaining two sides of the quilted piece with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press seams open.

  10. Create the back pillow pocket: Cut one 18 1/2- by 18 1/2-inch piece and one 18 1/2-inch by 14-inch piece from silk fabric. Create a 1/2-inch hem on smaller piece along 14-inch edge. Fold larger square in half, and press fold.

  11. Place quilted top face down on a flat surface. Place folded piece on top, aligning raw edges with bottom. Pin in place along edges. Place hemmed piece on top, right side down, aligning raw edges with top of quilted piece. Pin in place. Sew all around square with 1/4-inch seam allowance. Trim seam allowance in corners, being careful not to clip into seam. Turn pillow casing right side out, and poke corners to a point with a bone folder. Stuff with pillow form through back pocket.

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