Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

I am SO behind on some gift giving.  I had planned on sending a care package to a family member for Christmas that included gifts for the family and three gorgeous girls, two birthday gifts and one anniversary gift.  This meant some sewing had to be done.  I had a bobbin case snafu, ordered a new one 12/17 and didn’t get it until mid Juan-uary.  So, just now doing it.  I made this envelope backed pillow cover for one of the birthday girls using fabric scraps and some free motion sewing (minus the free motion foot).

Totally nap worthy.  And one of a kind.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow - Hearts & Sharts

Here’s how I did it:

I made this pillow cover using a serger and a sewing machine.  If you are only using a sewing machine, you can check here for those deets.  For those of you with a serger, here’s my pillow cover cheat sheet:

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow - Hearts & Sharts

I had a 16×16 pillow form and just the right amount of the perfect fabric, so that decision made itself.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

I grabbed four sheets of 8.5×11, taped them together, doodled my design and then went over it with a Sharpie.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

Then, I took  my Heat’n Bond, laid it on top of my doodles and traced. I traced the whole balloon so it would be one type of fabric and then traced two “sections” of the  balloon to iron on top of the other.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

These will end up as mirror images of the doodle.  It didn’t really matter for this design, but if you don’t want it to be a mirror image, after you trace your image/doodles with a marker, flip the doodle page over then lay your Heat’n Bond on it and trace.

I cut out my shapes and ironed them onto some of my fav scraps and then trimmed up the fabric shapes ans set it aside.

Makin’ the pillow cover:

Serge both short ends of the pillow cover fabric.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

Fold one of the short ends over by about 3/4″ – 1″, press, and sew from one end to the other.  This makes your visible seam/hem.  I don’t do this on both sides, since you won’t be able to see the other side when it’s done.  If you prefer to hem both sides, don’t forget to add that into your cutting measurements, otherwise your pillow will look like a fat guy in a little coat.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

With fabric right side down, fold over the short serged end by about 1/3 , then fold the hemmed side over, overlapping by about four inches.  Measure it and make sure it matches your pillow width, in this case, 16″.  Pin it, catching all layers and iron it at the folds.  You can use the crease as a guide later when finishing up your pillow.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

Back to the front-side:

Then, I flipped the fabric over, laid out my shapes and planned my attack.  I wanted some overlap with the balloons…

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

So I did this in two rounds, saving one of my balloons to iron on and sew after I had done the others.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

I am afraid of my free motion foot.  I’m working on that.  I used my regular presser foot to trace around each shape and outline it with black thread.  I went over it twice to give it a cartoon-y, doodled feel.  In my experience, the best way to “trace” your shapes is to keep your needle down when you stop, raise your presser foot and rotate your fabric around the needle and lower the presser foot to change directions.   Going slower is better, although, I tend to drive it like I stole it.  I like the little imperfections.  It’s “handmade charm”.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

You can also shorten the stitch length to make the lines a bit more smooth.  I also used this technique when making this pillow.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

Finish the pillow cover:

When the image is complete, lay out the fabric, wrong side down and fold the hemmed side of the fabric in towards the center. Fold in the other side. Use the iron crease as your guide and double check it with your measuring tape to make sure it is the right width, in this case 16″.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

The measurement from fold to fold should be the same as the width of your pillow.  The measurement from open end to open end should be the same as the height of your pillow, plus one inch, in this case 17″.  I always double check that measurement so that I know exactly where to serge/sew.  Sometimes I get excited and cut crooked and the double check helps correct that.  Since I want the finished product to be 16″, I’ll use 1/2 inch seams.  

Pin it and serge/sew up the two open ends.

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

And there she is!  All sewn up.  Flipped ‘er right side out, pressed and stuffed a pillow in there…

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow Cover

Sweet dreams!

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow

Perfect handmade gift for the birthday girl!

I hope this inspires you to create your own “pillow scene”.  The possibilities are endless and handmade gifts are the best!

Here’s a custom order I did using this same technique:

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow - Hearts & Sharts

Yes.  It’s uterus.  I didn’t ask, I just made it.

And another one – I made this pillow cover several years ago…

Handmade Gifts: Hot Air Balloon Pillow - Hearts & Sharts

… the bird is the fabric and I made the cage using stitches.

Inspired yet?  Make something!

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