Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The 'Manly' Reading Pillow

Plaid shirts are practically my oldest son's year round uniform, which has led to some good natured teasing from the rest of his family.   Being the affable fellow he is and in defense of his fashion sense, he smilingly declares, "Plaids are just Manly".  All teasing aside, I happen to like using plaid shirts for patchwork projects, like this quilt for my son.  Seeing that my plaid stash isn't waning any, plus the fact that said son loves to read,  is it any surprise I came up with this project? LOL

Pattern to make an updated and pre-cut friendly version of this reading pillow found HERE
 The pillow itself is a fairly simple design.  The main body of it is in one piece (what better project for my first foray into patchwork hexagons?) and the end panels are right angle triangles.

 The patchwork piece is machine quilted while the end panels are one layer cut from a shirt and framed by piping I made using a red plaid shirt. A zipper runs the full width of the bottom of the cover, to make it removable for washing.  My newest serger was used to  finish the raw edges (using only two threads - which I find so amazing), so that laundering the plaid cover won't make it fall apart.  Especially important, as this son is one to regularly launder things.

Lastly, there's a pocket, taken from a shirt front, stitched onto the one end panel for my son to slip his MP3 into.  I like that little extra touch of function because I know how much he loves listening to music when he's hanging out in his man-cave.

I had to share this shot, taken yesterday.  The  vibrant colour of the leaves against the sky was so gorgeous. Nature is so inspiring and Autumn is here in all her glory.  Thankfully, sunny days have arrived so that I can get out to enjoy the beauty of it.  I'm storing up the energy of those colours and savouring the sunshine.   Hope your days are every bit as brilliant!   Happy sewing....


I now have a PDF pattern available for purchase (here) so you can sew your own version of my patchwork hexie reading pillow.  The pattern has been updated so that you can use pre-cuts to make it, but of course you can keep it scrappy like my "Manly" original.  Enjoy!


  1. What a great idea for sewing for guys. I'm sure your son loves it! The plaids are perfect.

  2. Oh my gosh Katherine! That pillow is amazing!! That is by far the perfect reading pillow!

    Is it hard to do? I don't think I could handle the hexagons, but I could likely handle a striped one. Or one with my rainbow fabric (that would be for me though, as not very manly ;-)

  3. Hi Katherine! I'm so glad I found your blog! It's good to "hear" from you.

    That's a great reading pillow; I'm especially amazed at your being able to keep the lines of the plaid straight. If it was me, they'd really show up the crookedness of the seams.


  4. Such a clever reading pillow and those fabrics are so boyish.. sorry... male!

    I love those yellow coloured leaves!

  5. just look at you! once again you have been so clever! great guy project indeed!

  6. Wasn't it absolutely gorgeous yesterday!!!

    Your manly pillow looks like inviting!

  7. Great idea with that pillow...the pocket is a lovely personal touch!

    Those colours in the picture are so vibrant...great capture!

  8. Clever you making such a funky reading pillow.
    I marvel that you are embracing Autumn and we are embracing Spring!

  9. Well, first you inspired me to make a plaid quilt for W and now I think I really must make one of those pillows for E. Thank you!

  10. that. is. completely. awesome.

    i love the triangular shape. and the pocket! that detail had me squealing. perfect!!!!

  11. I would love to get a tutorial or pattern to make this plaid reading pillow!! You did a great job.

    Do you share this?

  12. What a great pillow! I’m inspired to make one. Can I ask you what kind of pillow filling you use? I’d Like to use something that’s least likely to trigger asthma.

    1. Thank you! Lovely to hear I've inspired you to make a pillow, too. I have made different versions of this pillow using either shredded foam or poly fibre fill as the pillow stuffing. The foam makes for a denser/firmer pillow (as I pack the pillow form as full as possible), while the poly fibre fill pillows are a bit softer/squishier.


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