March 30, 2011

Personalized Make-Your-Own Pillow Kit

My son was invited to five, yes five, birthday parties in less than a month.  I knew if he wanted to attend all of them, we'd have to get creative for gifts to stay within our budget.  Plus, I think personalized gifts for the birthday child can be even more fun than a little toy that will quickly lose its appeal.  Since we all know I love working with fleece  (see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE), I decided to go with personalized pillows for the gifts.  Each one I did slightly differently, I'll show you the first "style" here now and then show the others later.  (Think of this as the first in a three part series! ;)  )  The great thing about this gift is that a sewing machine is not required!!

My son is a big sports fan and loves to talk sports with his little friends.  For the first pillow gift, I made a Make-Your-Own Pillow Kit for his friend, Julia.  They played on the same tee-ball team last year and I knew she liked the Baltimore Orioles, so we thought this would be perfect. 


  •  Two pieces of coordinating fleece, each approx. 19"x25"
  •   Heat'n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
  •   Small piece of coordinating fabric for name ( not fleece )
  •   Polyfil stuffing (oops, not pictured)
  •   1/2 yard piece of tulle ( also, not pictured)


1.  Trace the letters for the name onto the paper side of the Iron-on Adhesive.  (You'll want to flip the letters over backwards when tracing so the letters face the right way when you cut them out.)  Following the directions on the package, iron the Heat n Bond to the wrong side of your fabric for the letters.  Cut out the letters for the name.

2.   Carefully iron the letters onto the fleece.  (You'll want to be very careful not to leave the iron in one spot for more than a couple seconds or it will melt a mark into the fleece!!)  Then machine stitch around the letters to more securely attach them. 

( NOTE:  The machine appliqueing is totally optional.  
I like the more finished look it gives but you could totally make this a no-sew project and just use the Heat'n Bond Ultra Hold  to insure that the letters are firmly attached!)
3.  Using a marking pencil and a ruler, draw lines 3 1/2" in from each of the edges on one of your fleece panels.
Draw your guidelines 3.5" inches from the edges.

4.  Using the lines as a guide, cut a 1/2" fringe around the perimeter of your pillow.  I cut the extra pieces off at the corners so they wouldn't be too bulky when tied.

Fringe is cute and edges are notched.

5.  Next, I used a fabric paint pen to mark two X's on one pair of strips.  This way, if the two panels become separated before the child starts the project, they can match them up easily.

Just to be safe!

Pillow panels are ready to go.

6.  Pull out handfuls of the fiberfill stuffing to be used to stuff the pillow.  I just laid it on top to get an estimate of how much I'd need, then added a few more handfuls to be safe.

Get the stuffing ready.

7.  Lay the stuffing on your piece of tulle.  Smush it down as you're tying it up to get a nice, compact bundle of stuffing.  Tie it up with a scrap of your fleece.  Then roll up your fleece panels, and also tie them with a scrap of fleece.  Add a little tag and directions and your gift is ready to be put in a gift bag and taken to the party!

Want an idea of what the finished product will look like?  Here's another pillow we made that was ready-to-go.

** NOTE **  I'm happy to report that the recipient loved her pillow kit!!


  1. What a great gift idea!!! You are SO creative and I love your blog! I'm going to be attempting your flower fleece pillow this excited!

  2. Awesome idea Laura!!! Thanks for sharing at For the Kids Friday at Sun Scholars!

  3. What a great idea! I love gifts where the recipient gets to make something!

  4. What a great gift - and budget friendly to boot! You get an "A" for awesome!
    Visiting you from Tater tots and jello!

  5. Laura-

    I've seen blankets like this, but not pillows...

    Thanks for linking to Creative Juice Thursday. Hope to see you back this week!

  6. This is an awesome bday gift for my dd to help make and give to her friends! Thanks!

  7. We made smaller versions of these at my twin daughters' 10-year-old late night birthday party. It was a lot of preparation, but a perfect activity while they watched a movie ("Beethoven" since it's old enough that many had not seen it!). The pillows turned out darling! One thing...some were all one color and some girls chose two colors. The two color pillows made it easier to do the ties properly. Thanks for your great instructions!

  8. I am having my daughter give this as a gift, but I have an extra pillow form that we are using instead of batting. What would you suggest for the measurements of my fleece for the pillow to fit inside when she makes it? The exact same as the form? Maybe a 1/2 inch extra on all sides? Thanks -

  9. Erin, I'd make it the same size as the form, plus 7-8" for the fringe. So, if you have a 14" pillow form, cut your fleece to a 21-22" inch square, then cut your 3 1/2"-4" fringe strips on all sides. Does that make sense?


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  11. Awesome, i am always looking for new ideas. This is beautiful and unique.Thanks for explaining it step by step. fnaf


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