Foot of the Month: Quilt-in-a-Pillow for Little Ones

March 1, 2017By Joanne BankoEmbroidery, Foot of the Month, Quilting 19 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Practice your patchwork and quilting skills by making a small size quilt that stores in a pretty quilted pocket. Begin with bright colored patchwork squares decorated with embroidered accents, and then sew squares and strips together into a simple block for the pillow pocket. Next, create a small quilt to stuff inside the pocket for a completed piece that folds for self-storage. It’s an ideal size for babies and small children. This project features a variety of accessories that fit the Brother MuVit™ Dual Feed Foot, including the Dual Feed Quilting Guide for quilting evenly spaced lines from edge to edge on the quilt. Additional snap-on accessory feet for the MuVit™ Dual Feed Foot make piecing and quilting easy and accurate.

Featured Accessory

Dual Feed Quilting Guide for Dual Feed Foot – includes adapter for Dual Feed foot along with a right and left guide.
March 17 FOM feat access

Materials and Supplies

Note: Animal designs featured in this project coordinate with the Brother Free Design of the Month project for March.

Project features the Brother MuVit™ Dual Feed Foot and optional accessories designed for this foot. This foot is included with some machine models and available separately for others. Use a walking foot such as SA188 as a substitute if you do not have the MuVit™ option available for your machine model. Visit the BrotherSews website for additional accessories for your specific machine model. Important: When using a standard walking foot it’s advisable to only use forward motion stitches such as straight and zigzag stitches.

Fabrics and Batting for Pillow Pocket:

  • Bright colored cotton solids for Embroidered Squares: Four oversized pieces measuring 8” X 8.”
  • Coordinating print for Center Sashing A: Two oversized strips measuring 1½” wide X 6” long.
  • Coordinating print for Center Sashing B: One oversized strip measuring 1½” wide X 12” long.
  • Coordinating print for Outside Border C: Two oversized strips measuring 2 ¼” wide X 12” long.
  • Coordinating print for Outside Border D: Two oversized strips measuring 2 ¼” wide X 16” long.
  • Coordinating print for Lining Pillow Pocket: One piece measuring 13” wide X 13” long.
  • Medium loft bonded polyester quilt batting for Backing Pillow Pocket: One piece measuring 13” wide X 13” long.
Use this graphic as a reference during piecing. Note that strip lengths are cut to size after sewing, making it easier to sew accurate blocks.
Grey represents pieces cut from coordinating print fabric.

Fabrics and Batting for Quilt:

  • Coordinating print for Top Side of Quilt: One piece measuring 31” long X 41” wide.
  • Coordinating solid cotton for Back Side of Quilt: One piece measuring 31” long X 41” wide, or a mix of fabric strips pieced together to equal 31” long X 41” wide. Note: Be sure to add seam allowance if you are piecing strips together.
  • Medium loft bonded polyester quilt batting for Filler: One piece measuring 31” long X 41” wide.

Instructions for Embroidered Squares

  1. Layer each 8-inch square with tear away stabilizer and embroider a design combination with an animal design. Featured designs are rotated 45 degrees left or right and combined with a small built in circular frame pattern. See examples and size shown in Figure #1.
March 17 FOM fig 1ab
Figures 1a (left) and 1b (right)
March 17 FOM Fig 1c
Figure 1c
  1. Trim each embroidered square to equal 4½” X 4½” with design centered on the square.

Instructions for Piecing Pillow Pocket

  1. Set machine for sewing a ¼” seam with Dual Feed Foot plugged into the machine and the ¼” Guide Foot attached.


  1. Determine layout for the four embroidered blocks. Sew sashing strips and piece blocks together to form one large square, following instructions below and pressing each seam to one side after stitching and trimming.
  • Select one Sashing A strip and sew to the first block having excess strip extended at each end.
  • Select another Sashing A strip and sew to the second block having blocks evenly aligned. Trim ends even with blocks. See Figure #2a and #2b.
March BOM 17 fig 2
Figures 2a (left) and 2b (right)
  • Repeat the process for the next set of embroidered blocks.
  1. Select Sashing B strip and sew to each set of completed blocks having excess strip extended at each end and both sets of blocks evenly aligned. Trim ends even with the blocks. See Figure #3a and #3b.
March17-FOM fig 3
Figures 3a (left) and 3b (right)
  1. Select strips cut for Outside Borders C. Sew to top and bottom of block. See Figure #4.
March17-FOM fig 4
Figure 4
  1. Trim excess strip as you did before.
  2. Select strips cut for Outside Borders D. Sew one to each remaining edge of the block. Once again, trim excess.
  3. Layer pieced block on top of 13” square of batting. Machine baste a scant ½-inch around outer edge of block defining area for seam allowance, then trim batting from seam allowance. See Figure #5.
Figure 5
  1. Quilt block as desired, keeping ½” seam allowance free of quilt stitches. See examples of quilting with various Dual Feed accessories in Figure #6a through Figure #6c.
Figure 6a

Attach Open toe and Quilting Guide accessory. Use quilt guide to evenly stitch along center sashing with guide following edge of pieced blocks. Serpentine stitch is featured in this section.

Serpentine Stitch
Figure 6b

Use Stitch in the Ditch Dual Feed Foot to stitch along areas where blocks join sashing, using bridging style stitches shown below:


Use quilt guide and open toe accessory to evenly stitch rows of special quilting stitch along outside border. See special quilting stitch below:

Tips for quilting and sewing with Dual Feed Foot:

    • Most bonded battings will feed through the machine easily without any added under layer. However, if you find batting catching on feed dogs simply add a layer of fine cotton batiste or muslin on the bottom, and then quilt through all three layers.
    • The MuVit™ Dual Feed Foot allows for use of many decorative stitches that are not suitable for use with a standard walking foot. Available stitches are accessible on the screen. You can adjust this foot in the setting mode using plus to ease the fabric or minus to stretch. Read more about this foot in your manual or in the packaging sold with the foot.
    • When using the MuVit™ Dual Feed Foot at the beginning of a fabric edge it is a good idea to start stitching on a small piece of tear-away stabilizer to help move the fabric forward. Simply tear away when finished.


  • Be sure to check that fabric is smoothly flowing behind the foot whenever you stitch with the MuVit™ Dual Feed Foot.

Instructions for Finishing

  1. Press quilted pillow pocket block.


  1. Layer 13” X 13” lining piece on top of block.


  1. Sew a ½” seam around three sides, leaving entire bottom edge open. Turn right side out and press.
  2. Layer the two 31” long X 41” wide pieces of fabric cut for top and back side of quilt with right sides together and all raw edges even. Slip pillow pocket piece between layers at the bottom edge of the quilt, with all raw edges matching. Center pocket at the bottom edge with patchwork side of pillow pocket facing the top side of the quilt. Place batting piece on top as a final layer. See Figure #7.
Figure 7
  1. Pin all layers securely together. Measure and mark off 8” across the top edge of the quilt to leave as an opening for turning quilt right sides out.
  2. Attach the standard Dual Feed foot. Sew all around the quilt using a ½” seam allowance, beginning and ending at the marked opening and having the batting side facing up. See Figure #8.
Figure 8
  1. Carefully trim excess batting from seam allowance and clip corners to reduce bulk. Reach through opening to turn quilt right side out. See Figure #9.
Figure 9
  1. Press edges and close opening with small hand stitches.
  2. You are almost done! It’s time to quilt the layers together and then attach the pocket as the final step.
    Follow these steps to finish:
  • Smooth the quilt out on a large flat surface with pillow pocket extended to keep it free from the body of the quilt.
  • Stitch around each colored square on the pocket piece using a straight stitch to quilt patchwork and pillow pocket lining together.
  • Use a removable marker to mark the lengthwise center of the quilt from top to bottom.

Select a stitch such as the narrow rick rack stitch seen below:

  • Attach open toe accessory foot. Sew down the center from end to end.
Tip: If you have the Sew Straight™ Laser you can use it as a guide for stitching this center line. Make small dots instead of a full line and let the light guide you from dot to dot! Dots from a marking pen are easier to wash out.
    • Use both left and right quilting guides to quilt evenly spaced lines from center toward each edge of the quilt. This project features lines stitched approximately 2-inches apart.


  • Stitch around the entire outer edge of quilt, stitching close to the edge.


  1. Flip the pocket up and pin in place on the quilt, having the embroidered piece facing down. Stitch close to pocket edges with a straight stitch, stitching from end to end and back again. Re-enforce the upper edges with a short length of zigzag stitches. See stitching lines shown in Figure #10.
Figure 10
  • Fold quilt and stuff into pocket as shown in Figures #11a-11d.
  • Fold quilt lengthwise, folding toward center, having fold lines even with edges of pocket.
Figure 11a
  • Reach inside pocket and turn pocket so the right side faces out and bottom edge of folded quilt is inside pocket.
Figure 11b
  • Fold quilt into thirds, folding toward pocket. Push folded quilt into pocket and adjust quilt until it lays smooth inside the pocket.
Figure 11c
Figure 11d

You are finished! Enjoy!

Options and Ideas:

The typical adult size for this type of quilt in a pillow features a pillow measuring 18” square and a quilt measuring approximately 45” wide X 72” long. Feel free to adjust the measurements and embroider another theme on the pillow for a project suitable for adults.

Stay tuned for the Free Design of the Month that coordinates with this project coming next week!


    • Hello Gailete, thanks so much for your kind comments! You are so right, this could be made with wide variety of colors and designs, and enlarged for adult sizes. A quilt-in-a-pillow makes a great gift too!!!

    • Yes Terri! You can do all of the embroidery featured here on your Brother Persona machine. The same decorative circular frame shape is part of your built-in menu of designs. You also have some very cute small designs built-in to you machine that you could use for another quilt with a similar style. For the piecing, sewing, and quilting sewing in this project you can find comparable accessory feet such as a walking foot, a quilt guide, and a 1/4-inch foot for many different Brother sewing machine models.

  • I’m very excited to see the Brother MuVit™ Dual Feed Foot featured this month! I just bought one last week (here’s a plug for Amy at Brubakers Sewing Center) and even went back for more attachments ( open toe and 1/4 inch foot ). I’m anxious to try them all out and your project and instructions are a great guide to get me started. Perfect timing! I’m soon heading back to Amy to get my quilting attachment!

  • Thanks Carol! Your comments about the Brother MuVit™ Dual Feed foot project are greatly appreciated!!! It’s rewarding to know that you were inspired to gather up these “tools for creativity.” I’m sure you will make something very special with them. Enjoy!

  • Great project for people like me who are staying indoors due to health problems under this emergency provisions. I used my Brother V3 for the embroidery and my brilliant Brother NV1300 for the sewing elements – my NV1300 has an excellent range of decorative stitches. I have one quilt completed and on my second one. I didn’t use the children embroidery designs but used those already on my V3. Delighted. Thank you Joanne, please let us have more.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Prof David Flynn JP! We’re so glad to know you made some great quilts with these instructions. I bet they look fantastic!!! Happy Sewing!

    • Hi Jenelle,
      Thanks for writing. I’m happy to answer your question. If you’re referring to the embroidery designs you find links to these at the end of the materials and supplies list. As far as the pattern for the pillow block and quilt, you’ll simply cut pieces as described in Fabrics and Batting for Pillow Pocket AND also Fabrics and Batting for Quilt. Follow the sizes listed and then put the block together as shown in the colored graphic near the top of these instructions. Let us know if you need more help.

    • Hi Beth,

      Let me try to clarify for you:

      After completing the pillow, it is layered with the quilt front back, and batting. See figure #7. Next, you sew all around the quilt, enclosing the pillow inside and leaving and opening to turn this right sides out. See steps 4-7. Once you turn the quilt right sides out and close the opening you need to flip the pillow out of the way and then quilt the layers of the quilt together. Step 9 shows this process. To finish up, the pocket gets flipped and secured to the quilt. See step 10. After that you’re ready to fold the quilt and insert it into the pillow.

      Please reach out if you need more help.

  • I was a little confused also about the quilting and assembly process after completing the pillow. While the instructions and photos were great, this short clarification helped a lot. Thanks.

    • Hi again Mary Anne!

      I’m glad I was able to help. I’m always seeking ways to improve the instructions and make things easy for folks like you. I greatly appreciate your input.

      Happy Sewing!

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