Monday, February 8, 2016

Conversation Heart Pillow Tutorial

We had another birthday around here. I was all geared up for making some spectacular cake for my new 12-year-old. He's prone to liking lemon cakes. So I was excited to see what we could come up with. But when it came down to it, my newest adolescent asked for a simple Texas Sheet cake. It was uncomplicated and sweet, just like him. I have a feeling raising a teenage boy might be a little easier than raising a teenage girl....but we shall see...

He also (like his older sister before him) requested cinnamon rolls for breakfast and pot stickers for dinner. And he would like to take chocolate chip cookies to school tomorrow (because today is a holiday for him). So yay for a three-day weekend to kick off your thirteenth year! Speaking of holidays....

Valentine's Day is less than a week away! And what says Valentine's Day more than those hard little Conversation Heart candies? Since I'm fond of making plush things, and since I couldn't make a lemon cake, I decided to make a Conversation Heart pillow! I have a purple one in the works too. It's not too difficult, and it makes me feel like I actually decorated for a holiday, so that's a plus!

All that is required is the ability to make a heart shape (or half a heart shape really), and a printer to print off some letters in "Word" at 200 size. I used the font "Calibri" in all caps. Here is what else you will need in case you want to make some of your own:

  • 1/2-3/4 yard fleece color of your choice
  • scrap of red felt large enough for you to cut out your desired letters
  • sewing machine and matching threads (red thread and thread to match the fleece)
  • hand-sewing needle (just a small amount of hand-sewing is required).
  • polyfil stuffing
  • optional: washable glue stick
See? Not much. In case you don't trust your heart-drawing skills, I'll attach the heart shape I used in a google doc. conversation heart pattern here

The pattern will print out in 2 pages, Tape them together where it indicates (the pages will be taped together in landscape), and then cut out your half heart shape. 

I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

1. Trace your half-heart onto fleece that is folded over. Line the center of the heart (the straight edge) against the folded edge of the fabric. You will need to do this twice as you need two hearts. After tracing, pin the hearts and cut them out. 

You will also need to cut out two strips of fabrics to make up the side of the heart pillow. If you are using the pattern I drew, your two strips should measure 30 1/4 inches x 4 inches each.  

Don't worry if you drew your own heart, I will tell you how to get the measurement for your strips in just a minute...

If you are using your own heart that you drew, here is where you have to get creative to find the length your strips of fabric should be. I used a string to measure along the outside (circumference) of my heart. Then I measured my string and added an inch (to account for seam allowance). I decided to make my strips 4 inches wide, because with seam allowance, that would give me a 3-inch thickness of pillow. You can make your strips larger if you want. 
You can see I loosely taped on some string around the border of the heart (half-heart) I drew. That measurement happened to be 29.25 inches. So I added an inch since I will be sewing the two strips together (to account for seam allowance).
2. Trace and cut out your letters from red felt. As I said above, I printed out the letters I wanted in Word, at a font size of 200, and I used the font "Calibri" in bold and in ALL CAPS. I then cut them out (giving myself a little extra paper around each letter), traced them onto the felt, and cut out the felt. You can have fun, adding whatever saying you'd like!
You can see how I cut out around the letters to make them slightly larger/thicker.

 3. Arrange the letters on your pillow front (on the correct side of the fleece). If you look at real conversation hearts, you see that often there is one word above the second word, which is why I placed my words this way.

Then using a glue stick, I glued the letters on to the front to hold them in place while I sewed them on. I sewed them on using a zig-zag stitch that was a width of "3" on my machine, with a length of 1.5. Feel free to experiment with the size of zig-zag you prefer.

I went slowly around those curves and corners.

sewing letters on with zig-zag stitch

Letters are all appliqued on here (sewed on using the zig-zag stitch).
I guess if you didn't want to do a zig-zag stitch, you could always just do a straight stitch along the very edge, outlining each letter. That would work too. My second "s" is a little crooked. Argh...

4. Sew your strips together, end-to-end (short ends), with fabric right-sides together. This will make a loop. The with the correct sides of the fabric facing each other, pin the pillow top to the loop, matching the seams at the top and the bottom of the heart. Sew with a half-inch seam allowance.
sewing strips together

strips sewn together; I finger-pressed this seam open. 

I pinned the strip to the pillow-top, with right-sides together. 
5. Attach the bottom of the pillow. You will now pin the bottom pillow (heart) piece to the un-sewn part of the strip.with right-sides together. The pillow will look inside-out as you do this. Sew together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance again, but MAKE SURE TO LEAVE A 4 INCH GAP unsewn where you will turn the pillow right side out. 

But before you turn your pillow right side out, you need to clip your seam allowance, especially on the curves so that your pillow will lay/lie? right. (Alright grammar nazi's: which word am I supposed to use there?).

I cut notches out at the top of the heart, and clip perpendicular to the stitches for the rest (see the pics).
notch cut out at top corner of heart

little slits in the seam allowance

pillow with seams clipped, prior to turning right-side out.
6. Turn the pillow right-side out through the gap that you left, and stuff it with polyfil stuffing until your heart's content (see what I did there?). Then pin the gap closed and hand-sew it shut using a ladder stitch (so that it looks invisible). 
pillow turned right-side out, but unstuffed

pin the gap shut and hand-sew it together. 
7. Admire your pillow!
I had to add that little purple raccoon in there. I just finished her yesterday :) She'll be in my etsy shop soon. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

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