In-the-Hoop DIY Embroidered Tooth Fairy Pillows
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My daughters are fortunate to have cousins close in age. One is 9 months older than my oldest and lost her first tooth a couple months ago. And is about to start Kindergarten. WHAT? How are we here already!? Of course, one of my immediate reactions was I’M NOT READY FOR LOST TEETH BECAUSE I HAVEN’T MADE TOOTH FAIRY PILLOWS!
I’d been meaning to. It’s been on that revolving To-Do list that’s been lost under piles of wet swimming suits, my kids’ new My Little Pony obsession, and me doing my best to be in the moment with them as much as possible this morning. I’m the kind of person that would freak out if we lost our first tooth and didn’t have a special, ceremonial place for my daughter to put it. I mean, what kind of parent isn’t prepared for these things?! Well, likely many. So here’s your inspiration to get working on this project! While I’m at it, I’m working on cranking some out for cousins as well.
Thankfully, my go-to embroidery & appliqué gal on Etsy, Lovely Leaf Appliqué, has adorable ready-made tooth fairy designs. You can’t go wrong. She offers a fairy, fireman, baseball, mustache, pirate, and basic design. I made a fairy pillow for each of my girls and a pirate for my nephew. They all turned out super-cute. Lovely Leaf designs come with PDF instructions so even when your brain is fried from too much summer fun-in-the-sun (yep, that’s me), you can get these done!
Using my 5 x 7 hoop and as much scrap fabric as possible (I always try to middle away at my ridiculous fabric hoarde) and some peel & stick stabilizer, I set out to work. My machine allows on-screen editing so I added my kids names as an additional step. If you don’t have on-screen editing, you can use computer software or position your child’s name manually.
Of course, I found a way to make something simple fancy by layering some lacy fabric on top of some quilting scraps (technically sheets since basic fabric is often cheapest this way). This added an ultra-girly touch to these sweet little pillows and as an added bonus, they match the kids’ bedding perfectly since it’s the same actual fabric. Great for us type-A types!
For those experienced in appliqués, it’s the same process of layering appliqués as you’d do on anything else. Lovely Leaf designs always have a placement stitch and a tack-down stitch ahead of the satin stitches. Above you can see what the project looked like after I trimmed all of the appliqués before starting on the finishing stitches (except for her name, wanted to make sure I loved the color before going ahead with the rest). The instructions include detains on how to add the pocket. It’s a bit of fabric folded over so it has a right-side on both the inside and outside of the pocket. It looks like it will be tight mid-project, but once the design becomes a pillow it works great.
This is one of those designs that is really exciting to watch come together. The design includes steps to add a ribbon for hanging the pillow on your child’s bedpost. Only one of my kids beds has bedpost, and being Irish twins they have come to expect receiving duplicate versions of everything, I opted to skip this step for both. What a great idea for making the Tooth Fairy’s job easier, though! I found another way to add that extra-something-girly…
True to my habit of making everything a touch more complicated, I added lace! To do this, I repeated the first tack-down stitch with lace in place of the ribbon steps. Since I already had a tack-down stitch, I knew right where to place the lace. I stopped the machine at each corner so I could line up the lace on each side. I held it in place, but you could also use pins or spray adhesive if you’d prefer. This particular lace has a slight-metallic finish so I placed this “right side” down towards the front design of the pillow.
Lace made the next step extra tricky because i had to make sure that all of the lace was in place so none would get stuck in the final in-the-hoop step of adding the back side of the pillow. Like any project, take care to get the prep work done right and it will turn out great the first time.
After the hoop steps are completed, remove as much stabilizer as possible and trim the edges and corners. I used extra-sticky stabilizer so It was difficult to remove all of it, but this helps the final project to be soft for your child. Then you carefully turn the design right-side out through the opening left at the bottom, stuff with poly-fill, and sew the final edge. Since I added the lace, I was able to do this final closing stitch on the machine for the fairy pillows. I did sew the pillow closed on the pirate pillow by hand.
I’m so used to girly designs that I had a really tough time finding the right fabric for my nephew’s pillow. I wanted something that he would think is “cool” and that was trendy enough for his parents to like as well so I went with this mixed metallics blue & red design. The pocket is made from left-over vinyl from a costume I made and was very difficult to trim. I don’t think I’d pick that material again.
Here are the final pillows! I did my best to tailor the fabrics to each child’s taste. My 4.5 year old sleeps with her new pillow every night while my 3.5 year old loves having it on display. I can’t wait to give my nephew his pirate pillow!
Here’s a closer look at the fairy pillows. As usual, I’m really happy with how these Lovely Leaf Appliqué designs tuned out!
Now I can check that box off the To-Do list. And just in time to obsess over getting the kids ready for back-to-school in style (Lovely Leaf has designs for that as well, y’all)!