Dreaming In Color with Jean Wells


What a magical concept! This year my goal is to be more of an explorer when it comes to my life in art. I will be writing a monthly blog sharing ideas that I hope will inspire your confidence when it comes to working with color in your projects.

Right after Christmas my newly upholstered studio chair was delivered. The chair really needed a small rectangular pillow to be comfortable to sit in so I went to work. I determined that a four inch repeat of squares would work in the space I had. Then comes the fun part, choosing a color as well as fabrics. I started with indigo blues and wanted to find an accent color. 


This is where the “dreaming” starts. What to put with the rich indigo blues to make them sing? The color vocabulary that I work with in the classroom consists of descriptive words that are opposites...

Temperature = Warm – Cool

Intensity = Dull – Bright

Value = Light – Dark

Opposites on the color wheel (red and green, blue and orange, yellow and violet)

In looking at the vocabulary words, I knew that I needed to add something brighter and/or lighter, as the blues I chose are darker. During the composition process I always try to “audition” colors as well as styles of prints. You never know which one will feel right to you. It feels like any of the combinations below would work to me. I am a firm believer that we know when it feels right.


One of the walls in my studio is a lime type of green, so I selected green as the accent. Besides color, I looked for prints that might have an area where I could add some decorative running stitches.


To make a similar pillow, you will need a few supplies in addition to the fabric. The fabrics are backed with a light weight, woven, fusible interfacing (Pellon Shapeflex SF101) which gives the cotton fabrics some body. I like to use size 8 Perle Eleganza thread and the Clover Gold Eye Embroidery Needles (Art No. 235) for hand stitched details. These needles stay sharper, and really travel through the fabric well. The only other supply needed is polyfil stuffing.


Pillow Instructions:

  1. Choose fabrics for squares. Cut squares 4 ½” or larger if your finished pillow size can handle a larger square. Cut interfacing squares the same size and follow manufacturer’s instructions and fuse to the wrong side of the fabric squares. If you choose you can add running stitches to accentuate some of the design features on the printed fabric.



  1. Arrange the squares in a pleasing manner and using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the squares together in row 1, then row 2, etc. until all of the rows are finished. Press the seam allowances open. Join row 1 to row 2 etc. Press.

  2. Cut backing the same size as the pillow front. Place the right sides of the pillow and backing together. Pin around the edges. Using a ¼” seam allowance stitch around the edges leaving a 4” wide opening to turn the pillow to the right side. Back-stitch at the beginning and ends of the seams.


  1. Trim the excess fabric off each corner. Turn inside out gently pushing the corners out with a medium size knitting needle or dull pencil. Lightly press the front and back of the pillow.


  1. To stuff the pillow, pull small wads of stuffing out of the bag and insert into the pillow through the opening. Every so often push stuffing into the corners. As you stuff the pillow keep pushing to the edges as well for a tight finish.

  2. When it is stuffed to your liking hand stitch the two sides of the opening together.


Happy Sewing,