Lessening the Laundry Load- Pajama PIllow Tutorial

Posted by on January 1, 2011 in decorating, sewing, tutorial | 19 comments

Happy New Year!!!  I love thinking about New Year's Resolutions and trying to make some improvements in my life.  Although I am sure my husband and children think I am perfect, the real truth is, there is a tiny bit of room for improvement.  One of these itty bitty areas is that I find myself pretty darn resentful of household chores.  Picking up, cleaning bathrooms, dishes and laundry (especially laundry!) are not my favorite things.  Once, while complaining to a good friend about all this silly house keeping, she told me one of her secrets:  Just make your beds pretty every morning and the rest doesn't seem to look so bad.  Now that was a piece of advice even I could follow (along with don't criticize how your husband does the dinner dishes no matter how nilly willy the dishwasher is stacked!) and it seriously does make a difference since once you make the bed you are also inclined to pick up a few things on the floor too.

So, back to the new years resolution: I know that the laundry isn't going to disappear so one of my tactics (along with asking them not to change their outfits 10 times a day) was to try to get my girls to wear their pajamas a couple nights in a row to reduce the laundry a little.  Putting them under the pillow worked briefly until I found not only a couple nightgowns but also tissues, coloring books, crayons, and a pretzel under there.  So, even though I should have been doing some other silly housework, I decided I HAD to make a pretty Pajama Pillow right then and there.

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I wanted to do a circle pillow but any shape would work.  I also didn't want a lumpy pillow on her pretty bed so I decided to make it half stuffed with a back compartment for the pajamas.  My girls love this!  They think of it like a secret pocket and like hiding their nightgowns in the back.  Here it is stacked on the bed with Elsie's Katie Bird PIllow

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 This small dent in the laundry load is bound to make some difference, right?  Here is how it works…   

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A strip of velcro on the back opens and your child can store his/ her PJs in there.  Cute!  Here is how to make one…

 Start by deciding on your pillow shape and design your top.  

Gather your materials.  I used a 14" embroidery hoop for the circle and went through my fabrics to find something matchy (but not too matchy!) to my daughter's bed.  I chose this Heather Bailey Nicey Jane with the big floral as my main piece to give her bed something a little brighter (the orange highlights!)  but still keep the pink.  I wanted to break up the floral with the solid green and a bit of vintage ruffled eyelet to give the pillow more texture.

Also find a cotton fabric for your back piece and about a 1/2 yard of plain cotton flannel for lining.  You will need an 11" piece of velcro and a couple large handfuls of polyfil stuffing.

IMG_7322 Once I constructed my pillow top, I decided to add piping (which i made myself but store bought would be fine and a lot quicker!) to give it an extra detail but it is not necessary.

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I like to use simple cotton flannel to line my pillows since it gives a pillow more shape but doesn't let it become too stiff like interfacing can sometimes be.  Your next step is to cut the flannel layers.  Using the pillow top as a guide, cut a piece of flannel in the same shape and size.  This will be your guide for cutting the next pieces.  

Fold the piece in half and cut another piece of flannel, on the fold but make the center line about a half inch wider like in the picture below.

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Now cut along that fold to make 2 halves.  Keep the halves together and put a few pins along the seam to hold them together.  

Move over to your sewing machine and using a 3/8 inch seam allowance, start at the top and sew about a 1/3rd of the way down.  Leave a 4 inch open gap ( for turning out and stuffing) and then sew down the rest of the line.  Iron open the seam and you should have what is pictured below.

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Lay the first flannel circle on top and using it as a guide, trim away any excess so these are an exact match.

Now to make the backside of your pillow.  I made one of these with a zipper and it works well too but since some of us sewers like to avoid a zipper, I did this one with velcro.  Buttons & button holes would work fine too. To do the velcro closure, again take that original circle (that you made from the pillow top), fold it in half and lay it on the flannel material (UNFOLDED).

You have to make the 2 half circles overlap in the middle this time, so cut the first half circle about 2.5 inches wider in the middle.  Cut the second circle 1.5 inches wider in the middle.  

Now using these new flannel half circles as a guide, cut a matching piece of the material you chose for the back of the pillow.  Again using the straight edge, sew the flannel and the back material together, right sides facing, with a 1/4" seam allowance.   Your pieces should look like the picture below.  Can you see how the top piece is more like an oval since the you cut it 2.5" wider?

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Now fold these pieces back with wrong sides facing (now you have such a pretty seam!) and iron well.  For the smaller half circle, pin the velcro, centered and about a 1/4" from the straight edge, on the back side material.  In my case, the solid pink.  Sew the velcro on.  

Pin the other side of the velcro, centered and 1/4' from the edge, to the flannel side of the bigger half circle piece.  Sew it on.  See the picture below.

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 Carefully and evenly attach the 2 pieces of velcro to make a circle.  Lay your original flannel circle (cut from the pillow face) on top and, making sure the velcro seam is in the middle, cut your back piece to match.  

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Now you have completed all the layers!  Now to sew them together.  If you did a piping around your pillow face like I did, you need to first sew the original flannel circle you made on to the back of the pillow face.  Do this pillow face side up and use your original stitches from the piping as a guide.

This is the order of the layers from bottom to top:

Center flannel piece with opening, right side up, back (velcro still attached) piece face up, pillow face down so the back and pillow face are right side facing, and finally the last flannel circle face on top (unless you already have it attached!)

Sew all together with a 3/8" seam allowance and make sure you catch all the edges.  You may need a heavy duty needle here, especially if you added piping like I did.  Sew completely around the circle.  Try to be consistent to get a nice circular shape.  

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Turn it over and use the opening from the middle layer to turn the pillow inside out.  Open the velcro and turn it inside out again.  Check to make sure you caught all the layers and then if you would like to trim your excess fabric around the edges, turn it all back in and do your trimming.  Turn it back out again and iron well.  Now you should have what is pictured below!

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The final step is to stuff your pillow.  Open the velcro and start stuffing.  Use your hand to get to the edges and stuff about 2/3rds to 3/4ths full.  All that flannel should give it nice shape without having to over stuff.  Once you are satisfied, close the opening with a simple and quick blind stitch.  

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 Turn it over and now you have a Pajama pillow that looks like a pretty decorative pillow on your child's bed!  

As always, if you decide to make this pillow I would love to see your pictures in my Gingercake tutorials Flickr pool.  This tutorial is for personal use only.  Make as many for yourself and gifts as you would like but please do not sell items made from this tutorial.  

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HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

19 Comments

  1. Adorable!!!! Now I am going to have to make 3 of these!!!! 🙂

  2. very cute idea! thanks for sharing

  3. This is an awesome idea!! TFS

  4. I totally agree- a made bed makes everything look tidier, so I’m definitely going to make some of these! But I do think that husbands should learn to stack the dishwasher properly. Pay attention dudes, that’s not how it’s done!

  5. Beautiful!

  6. Great idea and it is beautiful. I know my g-daughter would love that.

  7. I love this great tutorial…and great pics! Now if all my grandkids will not only make their beds but also put PJ in the pillow!

  8. You have brought back some memories for me…I made one of these when I was a teen-ager, way back when (1970) Yours are adorable!

  9. Wow, I just got a new comforter for MY bed, and will be making 2 of these for DH & Self! Awesome idea! Thank you!

  10. This is a great idea!! I think that I’m going to make a few of these as gifts for my nieces!! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Brilliant!

  12. Pretty pillow, fabulous idea!

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