How-To: Make a Personalized Reading Pillow

Giving gifts at Christmas-time has always been a favorite of mine and a few years ago I had a goal to make all of the gifts I was giving. I made custom shirts and family name plaques with wedding dates. But my favorite gift I gave was a reading pillow for my niece. I personalized it with her name using heat transfer vinyl. My sister tells me it’s her favorite pillow!

Now that my daughter has a new outer space room, I decided to make one for her as well! It’s an easy sewing project, even if you don’t want to use an iron-on decal. However, I totally recommend adding it because it’s simple, and who doesn’t love a personalized project?


What You’ll Need

  • 2 – 17in x 17in of the main fabric (I used the planet fabric)
  • 17in x 17in fabric (8.5in x 17in folded in half and ironed so there is a crisp fold) for the pocket (black with white polka-dots)
  • Custom Iron-On Decal
  • Iron or heat press
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Poly-fil (stuffing for the pillow)

Because I picked black fabric with white polka-dots, I knew the name would be difficult to see. I added an outline of the name in white. Once I layered the decals, it would make the name very easy to read!

I folded the fabric in half and ironed it so it had a crisp line. If you want you could sew about 1/4 inch from the fold to make sure it stays folded. It’s not something that I did and it worked just fine for me!

I wanted to put the decals on the fabric before I started sewing. By doing this, I wouldn’t have to worry about ironing it on while it full of stuffing.

I placed the outline of the name decal on the pocket leaving enough room on the side and bottom of the fabric to be sewn. Then I used my heat press to iron on the decal. You can use an iron if you don’t have a heat press. My heat press machine was set to 305°F and I do each layer for 12 seconds.

Iron Instructions:
Set the iron to ‘Cotton’ and use medium pressure to push the decal on the fabric for about 25-30 seconds. If the decal doesn’t adhere completely to the fabric, place the decal back down and iron again. Peel back the clear lining to reveal the design on the fabric.
TIP: Use a piece of fabric like a tea towel to lay on top of the decal and clear lining to make sure the lining doesn’t stick to the iron.

Check out another project post where I go into more detail on how to use an iron.

After the first layer was on, I placed the name I cut out in metallic purple in the middle of the white outline. I wanted to make sure there was about the same amount of white on all sides of the writing. Once I had it in the correct location, I put the nonstick sheet on top and press down the machine.

Once it was done I peeled up the clear lining. It was now ready to be sewn.

First I laid one of the main pillow fabric down with the printed side up. Then I placed the fabric for the pocket with the decals on top, with the folded part in the middle.

Then I put the other piece of fabric with the printed side facing down (so the right sides together). After everything was lined up, I pinned all around the edge to keep the layers in place.

About 2/3 of the way to the right of the top of the pillow, I started sewing. I wanted to start at the top because there is less fabric compared to the bottom (the pocket adds extra layers). I sewed all the way around the pillow back to the top, stopping about 1/3 of the way. This will leave a gap about 1/3 of the length.

I used that gap to flip the pillow inside out so the printed side is facing out.
Tip: Use a pin to help pull the corners all the way out or you may have rounded edges.

Now it was time to fill the pillow with the poly-fil! I didn’t fill it completely so it still is soft enough for my daughter to lay on as she reads her books.

Using pins I carefully pinned the gap closed and sewed along the pins to finish off the pillow.

All done!!! Pillows are really easy and perfect for someone who isn’t completely comfortable using a sewing machine. I hope your little cutie loves it as much as mine does!

If you would like a custom decal for this project or many others, feel free to contact me! I’d love to work with you to make your project Pinterest perfect!

Tag @LaciesDesigns or use #LaciesDesigns on Facebook or Instagram of your finished projects!



How-To: Make a Moon Pillow

Moon Pillow on bed

My daughter is obsessed with the moon. Once we moved I knew her new big girl room would have a space theme. But before I was able to make all the decals for the room, I told her I would make her a moon pillow. It turned out to be her absolute favorite part of her room. I learned a few lessons while I made the pillow that I will share with you! So let’s get started!


Things you will need:

  • Gray cotton fabric
  • Iron-On Decal
  • Heat Press or Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Gray Sewing Thread
  • Poly-fil (stuffing for the pillow)

I had some gray cotton fabric left over from a quilting project so I used that for this one! With the fabric folded in half, so I would be cutting two pieces, I used a cake stand to cut a perfect circle.

I thought I would just do one side of the pillow with a decal. But I knew my daughter would be a little disappointed if she could only see the designs on one side. So I changed my mind and did the designs on both pieces of fabric.

Before I did any sewing I put the decals on the fabric, using my heat press (or iron, instructions here).

Placing the decal sides of the fabric together, I pinned around the outside leaving an opening to allow me to flip it inside out later. Then I sewed around the edge.

TIP: Put a piece of masking tape on your sewing machine at about a quarter inch from the needle then you can have the fabric touch that line and help keep your sewing line straight.

Once it was sewn all the way around, I opened the gap and flip the fabric inside out so the decals will now be on the outside.

I pulled and fluffed the poly-fill to make it smooth and puffy. Then I used the opening to fill the pillow.

I pinned the opening and carefully sewed it shut. Then shook the pillow a little to even distribute the stuffing.

Moon Pillow on bed

This project was pretty fast and easy to make and it makes my daughter so happy! So I say it’s a win-win!

What I learned…

I didn’t realize how much my daughter was going to love the pillow, since it is just a quick thing I made I wish I made it a pillow case so I could wash it. She uses it every night to sleep on so I think I’ll make another one soon.

If you want to use this strictly for decoration then making it this way would be perfect! Share pictures of your project with #LaciesDesigns I’d love to see how yours turned out!


How-to: Apply Multiple Colors of Heat Transfer Vinyl

How-to: Apply Multiple Colors of Heat Transfer

In honor of Father’s Day this past Sunday, I wanted to share this cute project I made for my daughter for Valentine’s Day. I think it’s still fitting for Father’s Day.

What you need:
    • cotton dress/shirt
    • heat transfer vinyl decals
      • this project has two different colors black and red but you can add as many colors as you want!
    • iron & ironing board
    • ruler (optional)

Daddys Valentine 2

First, I lined up where I wanted the heat transfer vinyl (HTV) decal on the dress. I like to fold the HTV decal in half to help find where the middle is and then fold the dress in half to match it up. Then I double-checked it using a ruler so that it’s in the middle.

I set the iron to “Cotton” and used medium pressure to push the decal on the dress for about 25-30 seconds. I checked to see if the decal was adheared to the dress. If any part of the decal was not on the dress, I put it back down and ironed over it again. Then I peeled back the clear lining revealing the design on the shirt. TIP: You can use a piece of fabric like a tea towel to lay on top of the decal and clear lining to make sure the lining doesn’t stick to the iron.

Daddys Valentine 3

After the black decal was on the shirt, I took the red HTV decal and lined it up where I wanted it. Then I ironed over top of it, just like I did with the black.  TIP: It is helpful to iron over the entire design and not to move the iron around too much to make sure the decal won’t wrinkle. Once I had the design on the shirt, I pressed the iron on top for about 5 seconds to set the design.

Daddys Valentine 4

The top is done!

I decided to add a small decal on the bottom of the dress:  a red heart HTV decal.

Daddys Valentine 5

Using the same process as above, I applied the little heart to the bottom of the dress.

Daddys Valentine 6

I think the small heart on the bottom gives something extra to the dress. For any project like this you can use as many colors of HTV as you want!

Daddys Valentine Final

It’s done! I think it came out so cute and it’s a great outfit for every day. It is really easy to apply more than one color of HTV on a dress or shirt.

If you’re interested in a custom heat transfer vinyl or have any idea for htv, check out my Etsy shop, facebook page or e-mail me directly, I’d love to help you!