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!



You Win Some & You Lose Some

There have been countless projects where I’ve messed up. I don’t claim to know it all and mistakes happen, but what’s important is learning from them. So I’ll share with you what happened and what I learned in hopes you won’t make the same mistakes as I did.

Here is how it went down, I was working on a Valentine’s day shirt for my daughter. I made a fun design of her cute little sayings and since it was for Valentine’s Day I wanted to do it in black and red.

I cut the black decal and weeded (taking away the unused part of the decal) as normal. I measured where I wanted it then used my heat press to iron the design on the shirt. As I peeled up the plastic covering it came up fine! I had no issues.

The damaged happened with the red design. I put the decal where I wanted it and ironed on the design using the heat press (just like I did the black). As I peeled the plastic liner, it started to stick so I put it back down and used the heat press again. I heated it for a few seconds and tried peeling up the liner again. But as I peeled up, the ‘H’ was sticking to the shirt but part of it was still sticking to the liner. I still pulled up the liner when the rest of the ‘H’ popped down on the shirt and stuck to itself. I thought “I can fix that later!”

But as I kept going the ‘u’ in ‘hug’ ripped. So I thought “Alright, I’ll just cut another ‘ug’ and put it on after I’m done here”, but part of the ‘g’ was still sticking to the shirt. After I peeled up the liner, I looked at the design I noticed one of the hearts was wrinkled… I tried fixing that but since I had used the heat press the parts that were stuck to the shirt wouldn’t budge! (This is a total pro when it comes to heat presses unless… you know… you mess up and it won’t come off!)

So at this point there are too many issues, I got fed up and said “I’ll just do another shirt!” Which is a total bummer in the moment because I was pretty angry at myself for messing it up

The final product!

After a week, I decided to try again! I used the things I learned the first time around to help prevent any more mistakes. Thankfully, I didn’t have any issues the second time!

I absolutely love the way it came out and now I will have pictures of her in this shirt and I can remember the cute things she says at three years old! You can find this Grab a Hug & Stay Cozy shirt in my Etsy Shop.

What I learned:

  1. Peel the design off when it is still hot. Where I think I went wrong was after it was ironed on I took a break not peeling up the clear plastic covering while it was still hot. I guess I didn’t realize how important that part was because I always peeled it up hot! There are a few special types of iron on material where it tells you to peel it when it’s cool but for the most part you need to hot peel. Get your free Warm Peel vs. Cold Peel Cheat Sheet PDF HERE.
  2. TAKE YOUR TIME!!!!! Rushing only makes it worse especially when the frustration kicks in.
  3. If something messes up, stop and try to fix it right away before moving on. With heat transfer vinyl you have to work fast. Many times you can fix a little mistake right away before the design completely adheres to the fabric.

Does your little cutie have an adorable saying you want on a shirt? Check out my shop for custom shirts.


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!