June 13, 2011

CRASH MY STASH: Pillow Pals!

Posted by Ethne~

This little goodie came to me via Special Guest Steph.  Her son, AK is only a few months younger than KD and Easy Mac, so we were pregnant at the same time, and have been raising our kids through the same stages.  It’s been brilliant to have a bestie to walk through this wacky adventure with.

Baby K comes out of the oven next week!

Anyway, she found this pattern at Martha Stewart online and sent it to me stat.  Credit for the pattern goes to Martha, and you can print the pattern pieces and easy instructions there.  But read all about me taking a stab at it right here:

The girls go to daycare each workday, and somehow JR and Coco manage to get the girls and other kids to nap every afternoon.  I am utterly bamboozled.  Shaun and I don’t even bother trying naps on weekends.  Must be a go-with-the-crowd deal.  So this is where we first heard of ‘pillow pals’ and then saw them at Super Target.  They’re big, fluffy pillow-shaped animals – which cost $19.99!  MISSION: Can I cut that price to nothing?  Of course!

This pattern doesn’t call for faux fluffy fabric, though, it calls for felted wool.  What the devil is that, you say?  Well, it’s your average 100% wool sweater, washed in hottest-hot water, then rinsed in coldest-cold water – your washing machine does all the work.  Evidently the shock of the temperature change shrinks and tightens the wool fibers.  You can cut wool pieces and they won’t fray – it’s super!  So do that.  I’ll do a post on it one of these days, but I already have felted wool pieces, so I’m not gonna do more quite yet.  FREE to me, since I have them in my stash, and extras in the closet.  And I like the real wool better than faux fibers anyway.

You can see the outline of the sweater on the purple-bluish wool

The Martha pattern gives you a printable pattern in a standard 8 ½” x 11” paper, then instructs you to enlarge it 25% on the copy machine.  I got this after a few tries.

Next, pick the felted wools you want to use.  Naturally I’m making things in double, so I chose four wools – and one sheep and one hippo.  I let the girls pick the animal, wools and button eyes they wanted.  The wool bodies should be one color and the head should be a different color/pattern so the face stands out.

Looking a bit sheepish

Cut out your pieces – 2 of the body pieces and 1 of the face piece. 

Select the buttons for the eyes.  The instructions call for stitching the eyes and nose with embroidery floss – I think buttons are cuter – thanks to my button tin, they were FREE from my stash.  I embroidered the nose on Easy Mac’s sheep, and she picked small white buttons.  Since the face of her sheep is ivory, I used black thread to stitch the buttons on – like pupils of its eyes.

Easy Mac picking out eyes

The pattern doesn’t call for mouths, but the girls kept telling me the faces were missing mouths, so I obliged and stitched those too.  Who am I to make it mouthless?  Apparently we roll true-to-life in this house.

[I told KD this morning that she could marry Flynn Ryder from ‘Tangled’ and she told me, “No Mommy, he’s not in this world.”  True dat.]

Duplicate for KD’s hippo.  She picked one large black eye and one small teal eye.  Okey-dokey.  I did buttons on the hippo’s nose because the wool was fairly thick and the embroidery floss nostrils were just not showing up well.

Pink nose - Easy Mac's favorite color

Next, sew the face piece onto the front of the top body piece using the sewing machine, complementary thread, and a 1/8” seam.  I used plenty of pins to keep the face in place.  (If you don’t have a sewing machine or have never gotten yours out of the box – I’m talking to you Steph – this whole project could be hand-stitched.)

One green eye - kinda like he's winking

Pin the body pieces, right sides together, and sew all the way around, - 1/8” seam again - except leave a 2” gap to turn it right side out.

1/8" seam
Sew right sides together - 1/8" seam
(or as close as you can go to the edge)

Turn right side out using a chopstick or pencil, eraser side, to shove out and stuff all the nooks and crannies.  I let the girls help me, using fiber fill (already had in stash = FREE!).  We stuffed them until they are fluffy, but not bursting so they would be pillow-like. 

Turning to right side out -
I checked first to make sure all seams were sealed
except the turning hole
Stuffing - fun, and a good way to make a mess!

Sew small gap shut once stuffed to preference

Hand-sew shut.  Pretty simple – just use a whip-stitch with a needle and thread.

KD was quite agreeable to sleep-modeling

These little critters are smaller than the Pillow Pals from the store, which are more like the size of an actual pillow.  But the girls will have a little pillow for naptime, or travel.  And since I had everything in my stash, the whole project was FREE!  (Save and felt old sweaters – that’ll be FREE to you too, and then any other items you either already have or can buy for super CHEAP.)

Pose with the critters?  Yeah right!
Little Lambie
Hungry Hippo:
Face used to be an Abercrombie & Fitch sweater of
Auntie Whit's from college.

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