Saturday, February 7, 2015

I Love You to the Moon and Back Pillow Tutorial - Valentine's for Boys

Valentine's gifts and decorations can be tricky for boys.  Even  though I know several self-assured boys who LOVE pink and hearts, lots of boys shy away from them.

And honestly, my favorite Valentine's gifts are ones that can last all year.  (If you agree, you might want to check out some of these other off-beat Valentine's projects I've done through the years.)

It's important for our boys to feel loved too and be told we love them...And what better way than with an "I Love You to the Moon and Back" Pillow.

It's a gift the boy in your life is sure to love...and of course girls can love space and stars too.  In fact, my 10-year-old daughter is probably the biggest space fan of our kids (but it's my son who needed a pillow update and has the space themed bedroom.)

An extra fun touch is that the embroidery thread glows in the dark (as do the stars on the blue constellation fabric), so the message will shine through even when you've turned out their lights.

My husband is WAY into astronomy, and our kids are beginning to love it too (especially since it often delays bedtime), so astronomy is especially near and dear to our hearts.

And as regular blog readers may remember, two of my kids are adopted in open adoptions.  Liz is Seth's amazing birthmom and loves him with her whole heart...

So we thought she'd like a pillow of her own...with Seth's handwriting on it.

And since my 2-year-old thought that Liz's pillow was for him...I made him his own that he could keep...with an A instead of the embroidery...because Anson is NUTS over A's.  The fabric in the A and the "white" thread used in the applique glow in the dark.

Pillows don't get much simpler than this as far as construction.  Here's what you'll need to make your own:

Skill Level: Beginner

Materials:  Amount of Fabric will vary depending on the size pillow you choose.

  • 1 - 20 inch Home Elegance Pillow Insert  (or other chosen size.  I used a 20 inch for the black pillow and a 24 inch for the blue pillow.)
  • 2/3 yard of Outer Space themed fabric.  (The black fabric I used is Timeless Treasures - Solar System and the blue is Timeless Treasures - Glow in the Dark Constellations)  There are tons of other fun space prints out there.  The black Solar System fabric worked the best in my opinion.  The blue Glow-in-the-Dark fabric actually glows so bright that it's hard to see the embroidery...but it is super awesome fabric on it's own.
  • White marking pencil
  • Glow in the Dark Embroidery Thread (ore regular embroidery thread if you don't want it to glow.


Cut two squares of fabric that is 1-inch larger than your pillow for a regular fit, or cut it just 1/2 inch larger than your pillow for a snug fit.

Choose which of the squares you like best for your front.  Use your white marking pencil to write "I love you to the moon and back" meandering across your pillow.  I used a regular crayola white pencil and it completely wore of on it's own while I was doing the embroidery, but you'll want to test your marking pencil to make sure it will disappear.

Bonus cuteness if you get a child to do the handwriting.  If a child is helping you, you'll probably need to remind them to write BIG.

Embroider over the handwriting using glow-in-the dark thread.  Use AT LEAST three strands of embroidery thread.  Since I've only been able to find machine embroidery thread in glow-in-the-dark, you'll need to cut 3+ lengths and then thread them together into your needle.  Go slowly because the threads tended to bubble a bit more than regular embroidery floss.
You will likely have an easier time with the embroidery if you use a hoop to hold your fabric.

My mom was visiting and helped me do the embroidery on the black pillow for Liz, and I did the embroidery for Seth on the blue pillow.  My mom's chunkier stitching showed up the best in the dark, so don't be afraid to double over your stitching and really make them thick.

Once your embroidery is done, it's time to pin and sew your pillow.  Make sure you're sewing with RIGHT sides together and the WRONG side out.

I started a couple inches from one corner, sewed around three complete sides, and around all four corners, leaving most of the 4th side open.  Stitch with 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Be sure to cut off the tag.  You don't want it crunching around inside your pillow.

Stuff your pillow insert inside.

Pin the opening carefully closed, making sure the fabric at the opening is folded under a 1/2 inch.

For a particularly smooth look, you may want to hand stitch the opening closed.  However, we're into simple around here, so I just sewed it with a narrow seam.  It's a bit tricky to get it into your machine because the pillow is bulging, but you can do it.  The seam is on the bottom of the pillow and really not noticeable.

If this is going out as a gift, be sure to charge it up with lots of hugs.

And it's a great addition to a space themed bed.  (Tutorial coming soon for his Life-Proof pillowcase he's snuggling.)

Click here or on the picture below to see other Off-Beat Valentine's Projects from Pieces by Polly.

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