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Mother’s Day Silhouette Pillow

May 3, 2011

My parents are hard to buy for, but I know that my Mom will always like something that has to do with her grandkids. So, I made a pillow using silhouettes of my kids.

This is a pretty easy project, though it does require some sewing skills.  I didn’t make a full tutorial of it, so I’ll try to explain it as best I can.

First, start by taking pictures of your kids in profile.  The great thing about these pictures is that your kids don’t have to be looking all cute, they don’t have to be happy, and the pictures don’t have to be great quality.

See what I mean?  Terrible, grumpy pictures and it doesn’t even matter – well, except for Kiki at the end.  She is looking happy and cute! 

Now, you can use them like this and just print them out for your template, or you can go into Photoshop or another photo editing program.  I used Photoshop to turn them into true silhouettes and also to re-size them (I was trying to decide whether I should keep them all the same size, or make them different sizes.  In the end I decided to make them noticeably different sizes.)

Now use the template to make a freezer paper stencil.  For instructions on this, check out this tutorial from Dana over at Made.  I used a scrap of plain old muslin for this.

Once your stenciled piece of fabric has dried, cut it to the size you want.  When making a pillow you have two options:  you can buy a pillow form and make your cover to fit the form exactly, or you can make the outside of the pillow and stuff it with filling.  For this project I felt it was too many variables to cover a pillow form, so I opted to make the pillow and stuff it.  This gave me greater control over the size of the border and the silhouettes. 

So, with the stenciled part cut to the size I wanted, I cut my pieces of damask fabric: two equal pieces for either side and then two long pieces for the top and bottom (the top and bottom pieces are the length of the stenciled portion PLUS the length of the side border pieces.  I sewed the sides on first and then the top and bottom.  Then, for the back, I cut a piece of damask that matched the size of the front.

I used cording purchased at my local fabric store to decorate the edges.  This is purely preference – you could just finish it with seams if you want to.  I sewed the cording to the front of the pillow to keep it in place while I sewed the whole pillow together.  Then sew around 3 and a half of the sides (leave a portion of the bottom open to turn it!)  Turn it inside out and stuff with fiberfill.  Finally, hand-stitch the opening closed.  I generally try to avoid hand-stitching at all costs, but in this case there was just no way I could complete the pillow without it.

I think it turned out pretty cool!

You can also use the silhouettes for lots of other things, like this fun print, which I used in a calendar:

(The background paper for this print is from Melissa Davis Designs.)

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