My daughter’s recent craze has been for cuddle toys. I am not sure if it is a ‘girl’ thing or just a phase that she’ll outgrow soon. She loves to arrange her bunnies and teddy bears on the couch and on the staircase landing. I find it so cute when she toddles around with toys her size, hugs them, rubs her nose against theirs, lays them down for naps and rests her head on them. All my life, whenever I’ve seen a mom going gaga over her children, I’ve wondered what could be so special about them. All it takes is becoming a mom to see it. Motherhood is such a lovely thing. My sister once told me, “You don’t realize you can really love someone so much until you have babies of your own”. True that!
Anyway, I decided to make a personalized soft pillow for MY favorite cuddle toy a.k.a “my daughter”. I wanted to make her something she could sit on, sleep on, just hug and one day maybe even learn how to spell her name from 😉
I have loads of scraps from previous projects – so much that I’ve decided I somehow need to use up my stash before I buy new fabric (lets see how long I can hold off before I break that resolution :|). Recently, I’ve been watching a few quilting shows on TV and online and am in love with the idea of piecing together scraps. I have been itching to try some techniques that I’ve learnt.
For one side of the pillow, I used the mod mosaic quilting pattern and for the other side, I used a simple neutral colored fabric and appliquéd my daughter’s name with iron-on adhesives and zigzag stitched them.
Supplies you need:
My pillow measures 8.5″ * 8..5″. If you need a bigger pillow, you could choose to cut the scraps/sashing accordingly.
- Lots of fabric scraps, all cut into quadrilaterals roughly of 2″ to 4″ . They don’t have to be a perfect square/rectangle or of the same size, though you could make them so if you like uniformity. You’ll need about 15-30 pieces. It is hard to say how many because this technique is pretty improvisational.
- Sashing fabric – a neutral color fabric of 1″ width and length of at least the size of the pillow.
- A neutral/coordinating Fabric for the backside of the pillow
- Fabric for ruffles – 4 pieces, 24″ * 1″
- Fabric for lettering – 1 piece, 12″ * 3″
- Rotary cutter – A must if you want your job done fast and get perfectly straight lines
- Iron-on Adhesive sheet
- Polyester fibre filling (polyfill)
The mod mosaic design on the pillow front is by Elizabeth Hartman and you can find her tutorials at Oh Fransson. For the piecing on the pillow front, I suggest you look at her instructions. They are so brilliant I don’t think I can do better job describing it. The best thing I like about this technique is it is very improvisational. You build as you go. You don’t have to have any experience piecing/quilting and you can still do a beautiful job.
One tip is to build smaller squares/rectangles, trim and straighten edges as you go and continue to piece each of these with one another. Keep in mind that you need to keep a uniform seam allowance throughout, for a consistent look.
Finish the final square by squaring it up.
Now that you have the front side ready, let us look at the backside. Cut out a piece of fabric (same size as the front) for the backside.
You could opt to leave the backside plain, make it mod mosaic or choose to personalize it with either a monogram or your child’s name.
I added a post on how to create an applique. View it here.
After I made the applique, I did a basic zigzag/satin machine embroidery stitch around it. It is a very basic stitch and is available in most machines. There are some lovely online tutorials on how to satin stitch, if you need more information. One important tip that I can give you is that you need some thickness under the needles to keep your fabric from crumpling. While stitching, always place another layer of fabric underneath. You could always chop off the extra fabric from the bottom layer later.
Once you’re done with all the embellishments, you can proceed to join the 2 layers to make a pillow. But then, I decided to add a ruffle, to add a little more fun to the project.
Cut 4 strips measuring 1″ by 24″ ( approximately 3 times the length of each pillow side). You could lessen this, depending on the extent of ruffling you need. I would suggest going at least twice the length of the side you’re trying to cover.
Join all four at the ends so they form a loop.
Fold them by half (width-wise) and press.
Mark the centers of each of the 4 sections. You could use a pin or a fabric chalk.
Again, there are so many different ways of ruffling. I just chose to do it by hand, since my fabric was thicker than expected and my machine failed miserably at gathering it. Also, I wanted wider ruffles.
Sew a straight stitch by hand. Start from one end of a section and after you have reached the end of the section, gather it until it is the length of the pillow side. Pin the edges and the center of the ruffle to the corresponding edges and center of the pillow. Even out the ruffles. Add more pins if necessary and run it under the machine to secure it.
Do this to all four sides of the pillow. Now, your ruffles are done.
Finish the pillow by pinning the front and back (right sides facing in) and run a straight stitch along the sides. Leave a small opening (about 3″-4″) to put the stuffing in. Don’t do this at the edges as it may weaken them.
Your pillow is now ready. All that is left, is filling it up with poly fill and giving it some finishing touches.
Trim the corners diagonally for better shaping.
Turn the pillow right side out.
Stuff the insides with poly fill. Make sure the stuffing is evenly distributed. Keep going until the pillow is full and has the amount of softness you desire.
Fold the seam inwards and pin.
With a thread color similar to that of the pillow fabric, sew a straight stitch as close as you can to the edge.
There you go. You fun pillow is READY!
Tips and Lessons learnt:
- Always test the machine embroidery you are attempting on a piece of scrap fabric before you do the actual project. The little things like thread quality, thickness of base fabric or even the machine tension matter when it comes to these stitches.
Inspiration: Oh Fransson – Mod Mosaic Floor Pillow
Comments/Suggestions are most welcome!