Baby pillows, second take

About a year ago I sew some baby pillows for my colleague when she was expecting her daughter (link to the article). Now that I am the one expecting, she urged me to sew some pillows for my baby as well, as she found them very, very useful. She laid them beside the baby girl to prevent her from turning and from bumping into the side of the crib, then later they were used under the stomach to get her used to lie on her belly and now at the age of one for playing, of course.

So I found myself in the weird situation to read my own blog about how those pillows had to be sewn. Luckily the instruction was quite understandable and even did not lack important pieces of information.

Now that I sew those pillows again I can though provide a cleaner, more understandable instruction:

First I cut out 3 squares of 25 cm each side and 6 circles of 10 cm diametre. To get a nice circle, I had printed out a 10 cm circle onto paper and cut it out, then pinned it to the fabric and cut it out of the fabric.I used cotton fabric, as I still had some beautiful cotton fabric in my sweing box and as it is easy to sew and easy to wash in the washing machine.

So this is what I got after cutting out the pieces (click on the pictures for a bigger picture):

Then I sew velcro stripes onto some of the pieces:

  • * two long stripes of the non-sticking part onto two of the three squares. Be careful how you sew on the stripes, if the fabric has a certain pattern (e.g. stripes) and you want all pillows to look the same (or if there is text or sth. else that you want in a certain direction on the pillow).
  • * two non-sticking stripes of velcro to two of the circles and
  • * two sticking stripes of velcro to two of the circles.

This is what the pieces look like with the velcro:

Then I ironed the sides of the squares around:

And here a picture of which pieces will be sewn together to three separate pillows:

Now comes the sewing part. First I pinned the sides of a square so I got a tube:

And then I carefully pinned my way around to add the end of the pillow (the circle). This was the most trickiest part of the whole process:


and this is after the sewing (with the machine):

It would have left the nicest edges, if I would just have handsewn them, but I am far to lazy for that. So I ended up with quite irregular “homemade” circle-like ends. I tried out different ways how to get a nicer circle. For example I draw a 7 cm circle onto the fabric with a pen that will be washed away in the washing machine; then I cut in the sides of the circles, ironed them down and tried pinning them to the tube, Here still a few pictures of that try, if you want to try it that way:


It all ended with the circles looking the same, which way ever I tried: edgy, homesewn-looking, uneven. Well, mommy at least made them just you you, my darling.

In the end anyways I was done with sewing on all circles and now it was a very short way to go anymore. I pinned the pillow together, leaving only a small hole for the filling process, stuffing the filling nicely every time to each side, so that the pillow would be nicely and evenly filled.I did not stuff them too full/stiff, because I thought they might dry better, if there is air in between the filling parts. For the filling I used the inside of an “old” pillow, as I knew this would be washable.

Then the last step: sewing the pillows closed over the filling. This time I closed this seam by hand. Made a much nicer seam than with the machine, what I made last time (because of the time pressure).

And here they are now. The pillows are done.

I added all my pictures from this project to Flickr, Set: Baby pillows (ape tube pillows).

Sewing baby pillows

** Better instructions coming!**

My dearest colleague will have her baby soon and in addition to sewing handbags and so on for Christmas, I decided to sew something for her (read: the baby) also. As time is precious and much too short I thought to sew three small round pillows that can be attached to each other with velcro strips.

*Update: my colleague told me the pillows were really useful especially to prevent that the baby turns around. So nothing useless at all 🙂 Hopefully the baby likes to play with them when it grows bigger.*

I was very surprised how easy it worked out to be. I am not a good sewer, so the better for me.

There are surely better ways to make these pillows, but I did not want to search endlessly for instructions and in the end it worked out anyways.

Here are my very detailed how-to instructions. Don’t panic, it is very easy though loooong:

First I cut out three squares of the same size (I did not measure properly so the last one happened to be smaller) and six circles out of my cotton fabric. I am absolutely not into patterns so it just had to fit. I draw a circle on a papercard and cut it out to get at least somehow proper circles out of my fabric. Of course, I could have calculated how big the circles need to be, but it happened to work out well anyways. I had a kind of idea how big the circles need to be when I rolled one fabric square into a tube and draw a line onto the papercard where the outer lines would be. Trusting on my luck that I always would find an idea how to correct…

Due to lack of velcro I decided to sew two long stripes onto two of the three squares (the part of the velcro which does not stick to the hair!) and two small pieces of the not-ripping-hair-side of the velcro also onto two circles and only two stripes onto circles from the velcro that is so mean to stick to everything. The “mean hair-ripping” velcro part would be on one of the three pillows only because I wanted that two pillows can be used as normal roll pillows, as nothing sticks to hair or blanket. You can (hopefully) see from the picture how I did it. If I had more velcro also the two now blank circles would have get a stripe of soft velcro. Feel free to ask, if something is unclear!

Next step: Unlike on this following picture iron only three sides of the squares around so that you get soft edges. One side does not have to be ironed as I noticed when sewing them together…..

…. as you can see on the next picture. I did this mostly, because I did not want the sewing machine to have to sew too many layers of fabric together, as we will now still add the circles to this edge so it will be a lot of layers to sew and my old machine might not make it. There is one flaw on the picture below! Unlike shown below there were actually not the edges sewn together, as I wanted the big stripe of velcro to be in line with the length of the pillow, so take care to roll the fabric in the right way!

After figuring out how I need to roll and pin two edges together, I went on to pin one circle with soft velcro to one end of the pillow in the way shown below, so that not unfinished ends of the fabric can be seen. This might be quite tricky, but if I make it you’ll do it in no time.

Now comes the even trickier part. Sewing that you just pinned:

After having sewn on both ends of the pillow comes the easy part: stuffing. That was fun! I had earlier washed an “old” pillow very hot and dried it properly. Now I just opened one side of the pillow and took enough stuffing out to fill the pillows. Why buy some filling, when you have enough spare pillows at home. That is at least some filling that you know can be washed, and baby pillows should be able to be washed, right?

Ok, I know, let’s go on. When the pillow starts to fill, push the filling into the ends and start pinning the fabric together over the filling, so that in the end you can stuff the last places from one quite small hole in the middle. Fill the pillow well but not too tight, because some fillings may increase their volume when being washed and the pillows should not be too hard. Might depend on the stuffing and on the later use of the pillows.

In the end I managed to sew this last part in the sewing machine, but it would make much more beautiful seams when you sew this last seam by hand. I was in a lack of time so luckily the pillows where so small that they just and just fit to be sewn.

In the end I was proud! Me who has sewn just a few bags and shortened some trousers had sewn three cute pillows! Now my colleague can use them for playing with the baby, giving some support to the head or train some letters with them:

give me a U:

Well, we will still work on that U. Give me an N:

Nearly. But a large i works already pretty well:

Okay, and now I should stop playing with other people’s toys…