We made this throw pillow for Emma's first grade teacher at the end of this school year. We wanted something to help her remember Emma, and it just happened that Emma had written this adorable paragraph about her the week before school let out. So I had her draw a simple portrait to go along with it, and then I made this pillow, complete with misspelled words, because they are precious.
You can refer to the pictures above for visual help, but if you have ever made anything with applique, this will be simple for you.
1. Select the drawing and writing sample you want to use. Emma's portrait was a little small, so I enlarged it myself. You could also use a copy machine for this.
2. Break down the drawing into simple shapes, and make a pattern for each one. computer paper is fine for this.
3. Cut out your pattern pieces and remember to label them.
4. Choose a piece of fabric for each pattern piece, and apply (with an iron) the back of the fabric with some fusible webbing. Place the pattern pieces lightly onto the paper backing to make sure you have a large enough piece. Place each pattern piece RIGHT SIDE DOWN onto the paper backing and trace around it with a pencil. Label it with with your pencil if you need to and cut it out.
5. Arrange your pieces onto your pillow front. My pillow fabric is a solid neutral, cut 17"x17", to fit a 16" pillow form. Carefully remove the paper backing from each applique piece, making sure you are not also pulling off the adhesive webbing. Arrange them all in place, adhesive side DOWN, and secure with the hot iron, according to directions.
6. I used a raw-edge applique method to sew down the pieces. Carefully sew a straight stitch around each applique piece. I went around each one twice, to make it more secure AND to create a kid-drawing effect. Pull the loosed threads to the back, tie off, and clip.
7. I wanted to include Emma's actual handwriting on the pillow, so I traced her schoolwork directly onto the pillow fabric using a water-soluble pen.
8. Embroider the letters with a single strand of cotton floss and a back stitch.
9. The back is a simple envelope style. Cut two pieces of fabric 17"x20" and hem before constructing the pillow.
10. If needed, use a damp cloth to wipe away stray marks from the soluble pen. (Those are the water spots above.)
That's it! I know there are several steps and techniques involved, but they are worth it to capture a precious stage in your child's life. Who will you make one for?