Cathedral Window Patchwork Pillow

This article has been re-posted with permission from The Nifty Stitcher.

glamour shot 1img Here is a great cathedral window pattern that will let you brush up on your hand sewing skills. Use these techniques to make a fabulous ruffled pillow with the colors and fabrics of your choice!

This particular pillow finishes at 18” square. To make it, you will need:

• 25 8” squares for the background (a little over a yard of fabric should be enough)

• A little over a yard of fabric for the ruffle and back

• A pillow or cushion form

Sewing the Squares

step 1 Step 1: We will start by working on our individual squares. Make sure you have cut out 25 8” squares of fabric. Then, take one square and fold over 1/4″ on all sides and press.

step 2 Step 2: Fold in half and press, then fold the opposite way and press. You want crease lines here.

step 3 Step 3: Fold each corner into the center and press. Aim for nice sharp points on each corner!

step 4 Step 4: Next, flip the square over and fold each corner into the center again.

step 5 Step 5: Repeat until you have done this for all 25 squares. (If you want a smaller finished product, 16 squares total will give you a 14” pillow.)

step 6 Step 6: Using your thread doubled, secure the points of each square with some small stitches.

step 7 Step 7: This is what your squares should look like now. The square on the left is the front and the square and on the right is the back.

step 8 Step 8: Now take 2 squares with right sides together and sew together. Double your thread for extra strength. Don’t worry too much about your stitching here as this won’t be seen.

step 9 Step 9: Then sew all your squares together in this way to give you the face of your pillow.

step 10 Step 10: Now it’s time to add the windows! You will need a selection of 2″ squares. I’ve used some colorful batiks for my pillow.

step 11 Step 11: Place your 2″ colored squares on your folded squares as shown in the diagram. (The pink diamonds represent the 2″ squares – they should be placed essentially in between the sewn edges of your first set of folded squares.)

step 12 Step 12: To “frame” the window, you will take an edge of your folded fabric that is underneath your 2″ square (represented by the green line in the diagram) and carefully fold/roll it over the edge of one of your 2″ squares to get a nice curve. Pin in place.

step 11 Step 13: Then you will work a running stitch along your curved edge. Try to do this very neatly, especially if you are using a contrasting thread!

step 12 Step 14: Keep this going until you have filled all the boxes. Isn’t it beautiful?

Making the Frill

16Step 15: Now we’ll move on to the frill. You will need double the length of each side. First cut 5″ strips, join them together, fold over, and press. (Hint: it’s just like making binding.) If you want a smaller ruffle, simply cut your strips narrower.

Sewing it on is also similar to adding binding except a small pleat is added every inch or so. Don’t forget to fold over your ends at the start and finish of adding your ruffle. This will be hand stitched together at the end. (For more tips on adding ruffles to pillows, check out my Dresden Plate Cushion tutorial.)

17 Step 16: Pause with the needle in the down position (if your machine has that function, otherwise do it manually) of the previous pleat, and make the next pleat. Continue all the way around. At the corners, make a pleat as close to the corner as you can, turn the corner, and immediately make another pleat.

18 Step 17: Before the backing is added, pin the ruffle at the corner neatly so as not to catch it when stitching down the backing.

Add the Backing

19 Step 18: For the backing cut two rectangles the width of the pillow and about 12″ long. Fold and hem the width of your pillow edge on one side of each piece. With right sides together, pin the top piece first and stitch, then add the second piece. Turn it right side out and add a pillow form.


20 And there you have it! A beautiful quilted pillow to show off your handiwork. Something to note: A quilt made using this method would not need batting or backing. (Something I’ve yet to do!)

22 Hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! To see more of my quilting and sewing tutorials please visit my blog, The Nifty Stitcher.

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43 Responses to “Cathedral Window Patchwork Pillow”

  1. Tamara

    My mom made a king size Cathedral Window quilt then 2 more for her sisters. They are too heavy to sleep under.

  2. Pat

    I love the bright Batik with the ruffle. I’ve been afraid to start a quilt but the thought of pillows as gifts is exciting and a good place to start. Thanks for the hints as to how much fabric is required per size.

    • Customer Service

      Dear Pat,

      Thank you for your patience, here is the experts response:


      We are glad you enjoyed this tutorial and the tips!


      National Quilters Circle

  3. Patrecia Cook

    This has been the best tutorial for steps (with pictures) on making the Cathedral window pattern that I have ever reviewed. It makes me want to start right now!!

  4. Rozan Barnette

    This actually looks like something I could complete because of its “finish as you go” method.

  5. Manoj

    This is a really very informative post. I would like to share this technique with my fellow artisans.
    Keep posting
    Team Kraftvendor

  6. Lise

    I love this pillow, my question is. The white material is it muslin or can you use broadcloth or other fabric. I would like to make a quilt with this pattern.

    • Customer Service

      Hi, Lise. You can use muslin, broadcloth or quilters cotton for the background of this pillow. Hope this helps!

  7. Margie

    I see someone else asked the question, but there was no reply. So, can you do all the sewing on the machine rather than doing hand sewing?

  8. Barbara

    Beautiful pillow! I would never have thought to use the cathedral window pattern for a pillow. What a great idea! It is just beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  9. gris

    muy buenos trabajos…me encantan…podran mandarme para hacer proyectos de almoadones?…cover …y demas…muchas gracias…soy argentina…aca no se ven estas cosas tn buenas y lindas

  10. Diana

    I would like to make this Cathedral Window patchwork pillow. But when I tried to download the instructions to print I got pages of gobble-de-goop and just wasted paper. Are we not able to print out just the directions? If so, How.

    • National Quilters Circle

      Hi, Diana. Thank you for your comment. You may print the instructions by right clicking on the page and selecting print via the drop down menu. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 1-855-706-3538.

  11. krazykatt

    Do I sew all the way through all layers to make windowpane or just the folded material to color pane material only?

    • Customer Service

      Thank you for your comment. You will want to sew all the way through the fabric. It will hold better.

  12. Judith Autié

    There seems to be a step missing between 10 and 11 : exactly how and where are the batik patches placed, and how do you obtain the rounded white edges?

    • Editor

      We’re so sorry about that – we’re working on filling in these missing details and will let you know when the project has been updated!

    • Editor

      Hi there! We have added some additional information to bridge the gap between steps 10 and 11. Please let us know if you need further information!

    • hsarfp

      I think the center pieces are placed in there as pictured. You secure them by turning out the triangles ( white ). You fold the edges of the white, each of the center thiangles, see pictures. As you turn the white edges stitch them in place. I used appliqué stitches because I don’t like to see the stitches. It’s not really as complicated as you go. When you see it you will know. It’s a good hand project. Hope this helps you.

  13. janapka

    Krása a nádherná inspirace. Již dlouho mám připravené čtverce, naskládané, ale nedokončené. Po tomto návodu a pěkného postupu tento nádherný polštář dokončím.