Tutorial: Kaleidoscope Quilted Cushion - PART 1

If you are a beginner quilter or dressmaker wanting to learn how to quilt but you worry that making a whole quilt would be a bit too much to start your quilting journey with, I've a great tutorial waiting for you :)

Using one of the two main blocks of my Kaleidoscope Quilt pattern, you will be able to learn how to sew Half-Square Triangles, nest seams and square-up blocks, which are all great techniques to learn when you are starting and that you will use in many other quilt projects in the future.

Quilted cushion tutorial

Fabric and pieces needed

For this sample, I used different colours from the Starry Collection by my favourite fabric brand for prints, Ruby Star Society. The background is an off-white shade from Pure Solids by Art Gallery Fabrics, my other preferred brand for solids.

This project is a great opportunity to use scraps you've got at home, so take a look in your stash before buying any new fabric :)

To make this quilted cushion, you will need to cut the following amount of squares:

  • 8 x 4 ½'' Off-white background fabric
  • 4 x 4 ½'' Pink Starry fabric
  • 4 x 4 ½'' Aqua Starry fabric

  • 4 x 3 ½'' Yellow Starry
  • 4 x 3 ½'' Citron Starry
  • 4 x 3 ½'' Blue Starry
  • 4 x 3 ½'' Green Starry
  • 4 x 3 ½'' Off-white background fabric

Apart from these, you will need:

  • Wadding or batting: a piece around 3'' bigger than your quilt top all around.
  • And last, fabric for the back of the cushion to create an envelope type of opening. The two back pieces for my cushion are 15''x18'' each.

The finished block / cushion front is 18''x18''.

Tools and supplies

  • Sewing machine.
  • Regular thread for piecing the quilt top.
  • 1/4’’ quilting foot is recommended to achieve an accurate seam allowance (although a piece of tape would work as well!).
  • Walking foot for the quilting part.
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat.
  • Others: fabric pen, fabric scissors, pins, quilting ruler...

Steps to make a Kaleidoscope Quilted cushion

1. First, we are going to create the Half-Square Triangles for those squares where the print colour is mixed with the off-white. For this, pick up your 8 background 4 ½'' squares and the rest of the colour 4 ½'' squares and divide them in pairs (1 off-white with 1 printed square).

Draw a line at the back of one of the two squares on each pair from corner to corner with a piece of chalk or fabric pen. Pin them as shown.

2. Sew two lines of stitches at either side of the drawn line using a 1/4'' seam allowance.

Then, using your rotary cutter, cutting mat and quilt ruler, cut along the drawn line to obtain to triangles per square.

Now, before opening the triangles to get your HSTs, what I do is to square-up the piece using a special ruler, as the finished measurement should be of 3 ½''.

As it is probable that you don't own this specific ruler (no worries, it is not mandatory to have one, it is just useful if you make many of these), you can also square-up your block after pressing the HSTs open.

3. To press all the HSTs, you need to first set your seams by pressing them gently and then finger pressing each square open as shown below.

After this, I opted for pressing the seams towards the darker colour. Open seams would work just as well but I didn't want the seam to be seen through the light off-white fabric.

TIP: When pressing, don't iron as you would do with a garment. Gentle taps are best and don't use steam so as to not distort your block.

4. Check that all your HSTs have the correct measurement. You can learn how to square-up a block on this tutorial. Then, cut the so called 'dog-ears' or little triangular fabric pieces that you find in two of the corners of the block. If you have enough of these, you could make a pouch with them!

5. Now, following the block and steps that you can find on the instructions when you get the Kaleidoscope Quilt pattern, you can start sewing units together to create the main block / front piece of the cushion.

These are the different units that you will need to sew together:




Use a 1/4'' seam allowance and the chain-stitching technique to save time.

Press all seams open.

Make sure that when joining the two upper units with the bottom ones on each mini block, that you nest your seams properly.

 Press again all the seams open.

Lastly, join all the mini blocks and rows together.

You the front layer of your Kaleidoscope cushion is finished. On the next post, we will be quilting it and creating the back of the cushion using the classic envelope style opening. 

Thanks for reading and happy quilting!


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