Cat Block Pillow

Created By:

Elizabeth Hartman

Skill Level: Intermediate

Use your favorite scraps to create an array of charming patchwork cats. Make an assortment of 6” x 6” cat blocks, or combine 10 cats to make a large block perfect for a 20” x 20” pillow cover. The cat lover brain behind this project is Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Frannson!


Janome Supplies Required
  • Janome Sewing Machine - Elizabeth uses a 1600P-QC
  • 1/4 piecing foot or narrow foot with cloth guide
Fabric and Notions Required

Notions Required:

  • Rotary cutting tools
  • Water-soluble fabric marker or chalk liner

Unless otherwise noted, all seams are sewn with a 1/4" seam allowance and pressed open.


  • Refer to the diagram below to rotary cut the fabric pieces for each block. Don’t hesitate to mix and match fabrics for a scrappy look!
  • The cat’s face (piece A) can be made from a single piece of fabric, or by sewing together smaller scraps at random and then cutting the finished patchwork to size, as shown in my example above.




Instructions for a 6" Square: These directions will make a 6” x 6” finished quilt block. The block will measure 6½” x 6½” with seam allowance and 6” x 6” after it is sewn into your project.

Fabric: for Face and Ears

  • A – 1 piece 4” tall x 4½” wide (pieced, if desired)
  • B – 2 pieces 2” x 2” each


  • C – 1 piece 2” x 4½”
  • D – 2 pieces 1½” x 1½” each
  • E – 2 pieces 1½” x 5½” each
  • F – 2 pieces 1” x 6½” each


Step 1: Make the Ears

  • With right sides together, place each ear piece B on top of background piece C, aligning the pieces along the outside edges of piece C.
  • Use a fabric marker to draw a diagonal line from the upper left to the bottom right corner of the piece B on the left (left ear). Draw a diagonal line from the lower left to the upper right corner of the piece B on the right (right ear).
  • Sew along the marked lines to create diagonal seams. Trim away the excess fabric to leave 1/4" seam allowances and press the seams open to finish the ear unit.

Step 2: Make the Cat Face

  • With right sides together, place each background piece D on top of face piece A, aligning the pieces in the lower left and lower right corners of piece A.
  • Use a fabric marker to draw a diagonal line from the upper left to the bottom right corner of the piece D on the left. Draw a diagonal line from the lower left to the upper right corner of the piece D on the right.
  • Sew along the marked lines to create diagonal seams. Trim away the excess fabric to leave 1/4" seam allowances and press the seams open to finish the face unit.

Step 3: Finish the Block

  • Sew the ear unit to the top of the face unit.
  • Sew 1 background piece E to the left and 1 piece E to the right side of the block.
  • Sew 1 background piece F to the top and 1 piece F to the bottom of the block.


Instructions to me a 20" Block : These directions will make a block that measures 21” x 21” unfinished (including seam allowances). If you use the block to make a quilted pillow cover, as I did, use a 1/2" seam allowance to sew together the front and back, leaving a 20” x 20” finished pillow cover.


If you decide to use the large block in a quilt, you may wish to trim the block to 20½” x 20½” before sewing it into your project using a 1/4" seam allowance. Doing so will result in a 20” x 20” finished quilt block.



Fabric for Faces and Ears
For each of the 10 cats, you will need:

  • 1 face piece A, 4” tall x 4½” wide (pieced, if desired)
  • 2 ear piece B, 2” x 2” each

Fabric for Background
1/2 yard of neutral solid fabric at least 43” wide, cut as follows:

Cut 1 strip 5½” x width of fabric. Subcut into:

  • 4 piece H, 3¾ ” x 5½” each
  • 7 piece G, 1½” x 5½” each
  • 2 piece I, 1¼” x 5½” each

Cut 1 strip 4½” x width of fabric. Subcut into:

  • 10 piece C, 2” x 4½” each
  • 20 piece D, 1½” x 1½” each

Cut 1 strip 2¼” x width of fabric. Subcut into:

  • 2 piece K, 2¼” x 21” each

Cut 1 strip 1½” x width of fabric. Subcut into:

  • 2 piece J, 1½” x 21” each

Making the Block

Step 1: Make the Cats

  • Refer to the directions for making the 6” block to make 10 pieced cats, omitting the background pieces E and F described in Step 3.

Step 2: Finish the Block

  • Refer to the diagram above to arrange the cats in 3 rows, with 3 cats in Rows 1 and 2, and 4 cats in Row 2. Sew together the cats in each row, sewing a background piece G between each cat, as shown in the diagram.
  • Sew 1 background piece H to the left side and 1 piece H to the right side of Rows 1 and 3. Sew 1 background piece I to the left side and 1 piece I to the right side of Row 2.
  • Sew together the 3 rows, sewing a background piece J between each row, as shown in the diagram. Sew 1 background piece K to the top and 1 piece K to the bottom to finish the block.

Using the Block to Make a Pillow Cover

This block can be used to make a cover for a 20” x 20” pillow form using your preferred quilting and finishing techniques and sewing the front and back of the pillow cover together using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Everyone is Talking about Cat Block Pillow

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

I like the concept, but the directions are "sloppy." Nowhere in the supply list does it mention the felt or the batting (how much?). Also, I would never use a high loft batting in a placemat, or a table runner, as I think that it would be too unstable for a glass. The next time I make these, I will cut out the batting (I use flannel) and spray baste it to the wrong side of the Dresden plate before I put the Dresden plate on the felt to cut out. I have not yet washed the finished placemat, and am hoping that the single layer of felt does not curl up, or become distorted after washing/drying.
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Friday, February 24, 2017

I made this today but your cutting directions need to be changed. You only need 4 of color 1 and color 3 4.5 squares for the triangles. Also the inner border, you only need 2 cuts as WOF is long enough to cut each in half to fit the sides.
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Very helpful tutorial
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I want to say thank you for teaching me this method of applique. I was able to do it with a small letters. This method is the best so far from all of those I've seen and tried.
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Thursday, November 30, 2023

I'd like to express my gratitude for teaching me this appliqué method. I successfully applied it with small letters, and, so far, it's the most effective among all the methods I've seen and tried.

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