Pillow Talk

Last September, Noah asked me to make him a blanket.  In one of his favorite books, Elmo has a quilt made by his mama and Noah thought he ought to have one too.  We went to the fabric store together and Noah picked out the fabrics he liked – I was impressed by his choices!  I also made him a matching pillowcase. 

The project was a lot of fun, but it left me with a bunch of leftover fabric scraps just begging to be used!  What to do?  Well, for about 6 months, nothing.  Then last week I was inspired to make Noah this framed initial for his wall, thanks to Kate at The Gaines Gang.  (See here for instructions.)

While I was on a roll, I wanted to find a use for the extra orange and white fabric that was left after I put the backing on his blanket.  I had seen a cute idea in a recent Family Fun magazine where they handstitched felt letters onto white pillow forms to spell out the word “READ” for a library themed party.  I thought it would be fun to use the orange fabric to actually make a pillow and then add an “N” with brown felt to spice it up and give it a personal touch.  Here’s a step-by-step look at how easy this was to do!
– fabric scraps large enough for the pillow you want to make (mine took less than 1/2 yard)
– 1 piece of coordinating color felt
– several pieces of computer paper
– measuring tape or ruler
– thread to match both the felt and the pillow fabric
– polyfil
– sewing machine
– scissors
– sewing needle and pins
STEP 1: Decide how big you want your finished pillow to be.  I wanted mine to be 14″ x 14″. 
STEP 2: Use ruler to help you piece together computer paper to make a square that’s your desired size plus 1/2″…My square was 14.5″ x 14.5″.   Tape it together; this will be your pattern.
STEP 3: Fold your fabric so that the right sides are together and pin your pattern on top. 
STEP 4: Cut fabric and set aside.
STEP 5: In a Word Document, choose a bold font (I used Arial Black) and type the letter you want to use to decorate your pillow.  I sized my “N” to 600.  Print the letter. 
STEP 6: Pin the letter to your felt and cut out.
STEP 7: Using measuring tape, center the letter on the right side of one of the two pieces of fabric you cut.  Then, pin it in place. This part was a bit tedious, but worth the time to have it look right.

STEP 8: Set up your machine with thread that matches the felt (unless you want a contrasting color on purpose).  Carefully stitch around the outline of the letter close to the edges.

STEP 9: Pin the pillow front and back together with right sides in.  Set up machine with thread that matches your fabric.  Starting along the bottom edge, sew around pillow with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Make sure not to stitch it all the way closed, but to leave a space open for turning.

STEP 10: Clip corners and turn. Make sure to use a tool (chopsticks are great for this) to poke the corners out.

STEP 11: Stuff with Polyfil.  This is totally my least favorite part.  I have a hard time finding just the right balance between not fluffy enough and overstuffed. :p  I did a lot of squishing from the outside and fluffing it with my fingers from the inside to keep it from feeling or looking lumpy.
STEP 12: Carefully hand stitch the opening shut with matching thread.  Your stitches should be as tiny, neat, and unobtrusive as possible.  Several months ago, my hubby and I were discussing pillow making (I have no idea why) and he asked what “professional pillow makers” do because the ones in the store don’t have a hand sewn part.  I told him that although it might not be hand stitched, yes, “professional pillows” do always have some stitching you can see…they have to, or else you couldn’t turn and stuff them.  He then proceeded to play detective with all of our throw pillows and got excited every time he found what I was talking about.  Boys. 🙂

Ta-da!  Your pillow is complete!  Fluff and enjoy!  I would love to post a pic of the finished product in Noah’s room to show you how adorably it matches his set, but like most of my craft projects, I made this while the Baby Bear is asleep in his native habitat.  I’m unwilling to break one of our most important house rules: “Never wake a sleeping child,” and so, this pic in our comfy chair will have to do.

Cute, huh?  I really like how it turned out and can’t wait to see it on Noah’s bed!  While I was at it, I also whipped up a second pillow for our bed.  We have a lot of browns and whites in our room and I wanted to add a little splash of color for Spring.  This fabric screamed at me from the shelf at WalMart…“Buy me, you know you want me!”  Who was I to refuse?  Because of the print, I decided against a letter on this one, which made it even easier.  To make a non-initialed pillow, just follow the same steps, starting at Step 9 and you’ll be done in no time!  My bed, unfortunately, isn’t being put to good nap use at the moment, so here’s a pic of the pillow there.
Well, all this pillow talk is making me sleepy (yawn) Maybe I’ll go quality test this one for awhile.  After I clean up my mess, that is…
I shared this idea here: https://www.bluecricketdesign.net/
Link up you latest project every Wednesday on the Elle Belle Creative Your Way Wednesday link party!Photobucket

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  1. Love the pillows!!! I’m sure Noah will just love his. He lovwes anything his Mama makes him with love…I really like the material for yours. Very Springy!!!

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