I made Sammy a new pillowcase with her name on it. I bought this super squishy, cluster filled pillow a while back to see if I liked it. I do. But Sam LOVES this pillow and she steals it constantly. There could be 5 pillows on our bed and she will always find this one. So, it’s hers now and she needed her own pillowcase. I love applique. You don’t need any special machine for it and even if you have an embroidery machine you would have to re-hoop 2-5 times anyway, so applique is great for something big like this!
I used a yard of flannel (which shrunk up several inches when I pre-washed it, so you might need more than a yard – I was OK because the pillow is pretty small) I used the roll-up-into-a-tube method to attach the top band and then I french seamed the side and bottom. The Missouri Star Quilt Company has a video tutorial showing how to do the tube method. Obviously I only used a single fabric and no accent, but I used the same technique. First I sewed the band onto the pillowcase. Then I folded it in half to decide how big the letters should be. I chose a fun font and made the letters size 350. (My favorite font site is dafont.com and they have instructions on how to install new fonts.) When printing letters for applique you should flip the image. On the Mac there is a checkbox on the print screen that says “flip horizontal” which reverses the image. Not sure about Windows. Google is your friend on that one :) (This is why it’s a MINI tutorial!) Anyway, print your letters… Using Heat & Bond Lite, Steam a Seam Lite, Wonder Under or something similar (just make sure it’s the SEWABLE version) trace the letters onto the paper side of the fusible web. Cut out the letters leaving about 1/4″-1/2″ around the outside. Fuse the letters onto the wrong side of the fabric. I used a Kona Cotton fat quarter. Cover with a press cloth if you don’t want pencil all over your iron, or just use iron cleaner. I like to see what I’m pressing! The fusible web will come with instructions, but I just use a hot, dry iron and lift and press… just a couple seconds on each spot. Practice on a scrap if you’ve never done this before. You’ll see the paper change color and get darker and the bubbles will smooth out. OK, now let it cool and then cut out the letters along the traced lines. Don’t forget the middle of the letters! Then carefully peel off all of the paper. If the corners don’t easily peel away, leaving the glue behind, you might need to press them again. At this point, you want to move the pillowcase to the ironing board. Line up the letters (use the ruler if you have to) and get them exactly where you want them. Don’t forget to account for the seam allowance on the raw edge side. Since I was going to use a french seam, I left an extra 3/4″ seam allowance on the right (raw) edge. Now PRESS the letters down really well. First I carefully lift and press to set them, but then I go over it again with tons of steam! Now take it over to the machine and set it for a basic zig-zag or satin stitch or even a decorative stitch. The built in star or wavy line stitch would be cool. You just want to cover the edges so that it doesn’t fray and it reinforces the hold from the glue. You could even use a straight stitch! I think a wide satin stitch uses too much thread and can get too bulky to handle, so I just use a zig zag turned most of the way down. Just use a small stitch length and a stitch as wide as you want it. Practice first on some scraps until it looks “right” (and there is no “right”!) It’s a dog/kid pillow, just pick something and go with it! If I’m doing applique on something that is not interfaced, I use tear away stabilizer used for embroidery. You can get it in the notions aisle. It’s not cheap but use a coupon and one roll will last FOREVER. Just place it on the back side of the letters. It keeps the stitches from puckering and pulling through or ripping the fabric, since they are so close together. Now there are all these rules for pivoting at inside and outside corners. It seems confusing but you just want to make sure your needle stays very close to the letter and your zig-zag doesn’t jump where you don’t expect it to. Just stop a little bit before the end and take the last 2-3 stitches slowly to make sure you don’t go more than 1 stitch outside the shape. Keep track of what side your zig-zag is on so it doesn’t jump way outside the letter after you turn. In this case, I was turning from the curvy part of the M to the flat bottom. Since it was an outside corner, I made sure my needle was DOWN, in the right position, when I pivoted. I can do a video on this if it’s too confusing. On curves, just go slowly and do the best you can! Sew around ALL of the letters. I clip my threads and start new each time, holding onto the tails. Try to start in the middle of a letter, not at a corner. Before you come back to the part you have already stitched, clip the threads. Then sew over the part you already stitched just 3-4 stitches. I like to pull the threads to the back like I do when topstitching. Here’s how you do that, if you want (again this is a DOG pillow so this is NOT that important, but it’s nice to know how.): Flip it to the backside of the letters and find the bobbin thread. Give it a little tug. A teeny tiny loop will start to pull up. Use something dull (closed scissors or a turning tool are good) and pull up that loop. Tie these off with a good double or triple knot. Now for topstitching I would thread these into a needle and bury them in the fabric, but this is the back side so I just trim them close, but not too close! Now go give it a REALLY good press to set the stitching! Carefully tear away all the paper stabilizer. I find it’s easy to tear it away from the stitches but don’t try to tear it towards the stitches or it will pull them. I also tear it in half up to the stitch line in a few places and then tear it away a small amount at a time. Don’t forget the middle of the letters. Just get what you can. I certainly don’t get in there with tweezers or anything. If you’re worried get the wash away stabilizer stuff that dissolves in water. Now give it another good press! This is when I french seamed the two open sides. Line them up with the WRONG sides together (so the right sides are out – I know it looks wrong), and sew both open sides with a 1/4″ seam. Then turn everything inside out, so it’s all right sides together, and roll those seams all the way to the outside and press really well. A turning tool can be helpful for this, just make sure not to use anything to pointy with flannel or it will put a hole in it. (Yep, learned that the hard way.) Then go back with a LARGER seam allowance – like 3/8″-1/2″ and sew around the whole thing again, encasing the original seam. Turn it back right side out again and check to make sure the seams are all enclosed. Press it really well again, and you’re done! Now give it to your little one so she can take a nap!
Just be warned, you should probably make one for EACH dog, or kid… something tells me they have the same feelings about sharing!