Ships at Sea pillow covers

I think I’ve mentioned before that I wanted to cover the pillows on my couch because I don’t like the pattern on them. (I’ve actually always wanted to do this – I once almost bought some blue, navy, and gold upholstery fabric to cover them and then decided to wait.) I should have done it when I wasn’t living with Z, because then I could have picked whatever fabrics I wanted, but now that we’re living together we are compromising on decor. So I let him have some say in the design process. I looked through my 501 Quilt Blocks book and picked several block ideas, and from those he chose Ships at Sea. I also discussed color choices (nautical, of course) and showed him some of the fabrics to make sure he didn’t mind them.

I wanted to size it up – the largest blocks in the book finish at 12″ – and I spent a lot of time trying to do complicated quilt math and geometry. (Pythagorean theorem, anyone?)  In the end I decided to start with the HSTs and measure everything else as I went. I started with red for the ships on a white background and made my HSTs. Then I added my half triangles. I did not trim it at this point, and I probably should have, because my half triangles were a little large and now my ships float half an inch above the surface of the water. I showed it to Z and he didn’t care, so hover ships they will be.

Then I measured all the sides so I would know how to cut the additional triangles. Since I was making two pillow covers, that made the cutting easier.  I used a directional print for the bottom light blue triangles – it’s whales in the ocean – so I cut four squares and cut them on the diagonal following the directionality of the fabric. I have four leftover triangles now; I’ll have to cut some more triangles and make myself HSTs (and then find something to do with them…)

They finish up at 16″, which is exactly the size of my pillows.

I decided to FMQ waves on the pillow covers so it would look like the ships are sailing through water. I think one looks better than the other but it did achieve the purpose.

Then I FMQed more waves in the bottom section.

The rest of the quilting I did with my regular foot. I quilted straight white lines in some of the “boats” to look like sails. (So I guess it looks like one boat with three sails…) Also, lines in the “sky” in the top corners. That’s it, since it’s just pillows.

I think you can really see the quilting here.


I bound them in red and white polka dots.  So cute, right?  For the back I used the grey crosshatch leftover from the teal and grey quilt I made. I think it’s Carolyn Friedlander?


I love them.  Z thinks they’re really soft, and they look great on our couch.


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