Beyond the Garden Gate – A Free Pillow Tutorial with Garden Delights by Gray Sky Studio

June 21, 2017

I love love love those fantastic Liberty tiny florals. I forced my family to make a Liberty pilgrimage in London, found the fabric district in Paris to locate more Liberty, and I would absolutely paint my house in ditsy floral if I could.


However. There are only so many yards you can buy and projects you can make with fabric that costs $40/yard, as pretty as it may be.

That’s why I LOST MY MIND when Marcia brought in Garden Delights by Gray Sky Studio. It’s the kind of detailed, ditsy, gorgeous English garden floral I love in Liberty, but in quilting cotton that I CAN AFFORD.

I got to thinking about another of my favorite things that I can only afford in small doses, and this cute pillow was born! (Okay, it was also born of a desire to use as many prints as I could of this new line in one place, because I love it so much.)

It starts with Cathedral Windows, which while I can afford the fabric to make it, the time it would take for a whole quilt is only affordable if I forego all other projects for a good long while. I can’t commit to that, as much as I LOVE the look of it.

Cathedral Windows looks to me a little like the trellis on top of a garden gate – one of those wrought iron gates where you peek through and find bustling, busy, colorful, overflowing English-style gardens. This pattern uses just 2 Cathedral Window blocks with a “gate” below to give you the feeling of abundant florals and interesting construction with only the commitment of a pillow! Mine has already been claimed by my daughter for her bed, so just be aware you may need to commit to making two.

Beyond the Garden Gate Pillow


1/2 yard background fabric
Various 1/4 yard pieces of prints you love
Stuffing or a pillow form


Background fabric: 
2 – 16.75″ squares
8 – 4.5″ x 1.5″ strips
2 – 1.5″ x 16.5″ strips
1 – 1.75″ x 16.5″ strip

Floral fabric:
6 – 4.5″ squares (for the gate section)
2 – scant 8″ squares (for the “petals” in the trellis section)
4 – 5″ squares (for the trellis section – cut 3 on the diagonal to form 6 half square triangles. Only one should stay a square.)


I can’t imagine making a more awesome and detailed tutorial for Cathedral Windows than this oldie but goodie from one of our favorite fabric lines – The Charming Windows Pillow Tutorial from Moda Bake Shop Blog. I highly recommend using her detailed pictures as you create the blocks, but my measurements for Beyond the Garden Gate.

There are a few places where she and I differ, and I’ll note them as we go!


  1. Instead of making the cardstock template and cutting your background blocks so large, since we’re just doing two for this pillow, I go a little easier route (hers is perfect for lots of squares in an assembly line!). If you decide to make a cardstock template and start with larger pieces of fabric to end up with your 8″ squares,  you’ll need more background fabric than I told you to get above!Take your two background squares and use a ruler to mark 1/4″ in from each side. Use that line to press each edge over like a little hem. You can use a dab of fabric glue here if you’d like – just to make everything stay put where it should be. All 4 edges should be pressed to the wrong side.  
  2. Follow her instructions for pressing and folding towards the middle twice. I use a little spray starch just for added staying power. 
  3. Sew the two Cathedral Windows together on one side using the two flaps, just as she shows.  
  4. Our large square openings fit a fabric square that’s just shy of 8″. Instead of sewing all around as she does, I take a shortcut here with my handy dandy Sewline glue pen and put a dab on each side and corner. Saves a ton of time and holds just as I’d want it to. 
  5. Feel free to play here with your colors. If you’d like all your “petals” to be the same print, use the same fabric in your 8″ squares. Maybe you’d like a wild and crazy floral garden with all of your favorite prints in an order that’s most pleasing to you – do it! 
  6. Arrange your 5″ square and half-square triangles as you see here. I put another little dab of glue on the corners instead of using pins.
  7. Follow her instructions for sewing the openings down along the curves, and voila! You’ve got the Cathedral Windows half of your pillow done!
  8. Next, we’ll make the gate. For my pillow, I imagined the garden had some greenery near the bottom of the gate, greens mixed with flowers as we went up, and a lovely little ornamental pond right down the center. You don’t have to be as literal as all that, of course! 

    Create two units using the short background strips and the squares – sew them together like so, pressing to the dark side. 
  9. Next, you will attach these long units to your long background strips to make the cross-beams of the gate. The 1.75″ width strip goes on top (this one will attach to the Cathedral Window section).
  10. Finally, attach the gate unit to the Cathedral Window trellis unit using a 1/2″ seam (that’s why you have that wider strip up there!). The wider seam will encase any loose fabric from the windows, and for our gate, I like losing those bottom points to make it really look like it could be a trellis attached to a gate! 
  11. The pillow back depends on how you’d like your pillow. I love doing pillows with my own stuffing – I can make them as stuffy or as floppy as I’d like, and I’m not limited to the size of a pillow form if I decide I want to add some sashing or take some away from a pattern. (If you’d like to use a pillow form – check out Marcia’s wonderful Quilting Quicky video with an envelope back tutorial!) 
  12. Square up your pillow front now that it’s attached, and decide how you’d like the back. You can use multiple fabrics from your quarter yard pieces in strips, pick up an extra bit of background fabric to make a more neutral back, anything your heart desires. I decided to use my daughter’s favorite pink floral (as she had already started hovering around the sewing room with an eye on the pillow) to make our back.I had the remaining bit of the 1/4 yard piece after making the squares for the windows, and cut it to the width of the pillow, seamed it down the middle, then trimmed to the size of the pillow front.  
  13. Right sides together, start sewing the seam of the pillow about 1/3rd of the way from the first corner you’ll turn. Sew the top and sides at 1/2″, the bottom at 1/4″. Sew your pillow all the way around until you are back on the side you started with. Stop sewing and back stitch a few inches away from where you started. Turn the pillow right side out, stuff, and stitch the opening closed. Enjoy your pillow! 

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