One of a Kind Birthday Pillow


My favourite part about sewing, is the joy there is in creating a completely one-of-a-kind project.

I wish everyone could share the joy of sewing and making something unique for loved ones with their own hands. Feeling lost on how to begin? Check out this post for how to dive in.

This is a one of a kind birthday pillow I created for my daughter's 14th birthday, and is the embodiment of what she is about at the moment.

This one certainly comes under the 'time consuming' label, as I can't really estimate how long it took.

It's a very busy pillow to say the least, but that's exactly the sort of girl she is... she has a growing range of interests, and each new one that starts, she embraces with wholehearted delight.

She's always busy, always creating, and always making her own fun. And I loved every minute of making this for her... and seeing her love it as well makes every stitch (and unpick) totally worth it.

I'll show you all the individual parts of this pillow and the processes of making them.

The idea for this project centered around the top of a desk, on which is lying various items: a sheet of paper, pics of a bird and an aeroplane, some stamps and a pen, and a seed packet.

The pictures are meant to have a 3D shadow effect to them, but I'm sure how effective this is now that there's a cushion inside of it all.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - Lilyella paper pieced sugar baby

The springing off point for me was her love of birds, which has been a passion of hers since she was very small.As soon as I saw the beautiful hummingbird Sugar Baby pattern available at Lilyella's World I was completely smitten. Hello gorgeous!! Can you believe this pattern is free?? So off I went to make it, and was a bit underwhelmed when it was finally finished. I love all the individual fabrics, but together they didn't work properly.I struggle with being able to see my fabric selections together as a final result, and this one just didn't have enough contrast. It won't be wasted for sure, as I've filed it away for a future idea.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - sugar baby paper pieced pattern

With my second attempt, I went slightly bigger and made sure the background fabric was a true low volume. Happy sigh...much better!I simplified this one even more, by combining the wing feathers into six segments instead of ten, and sewing along all the lines for the segment definitions. I also added some coloured pencil shading to the grey for effect...yes, you can do that you know! The fabrics in this are from the Tilda 'Sunkiss' range and 'First Romance' by Moda.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - cessna plane flying into the paper pieced yonder

A fairly recent interest of my daughter's in learning to fly, which is following right on in the same vein as birds.So I found a pattern for a paper pieced cessna, reduced it by 40%, which made some of the pieces absolutely miniscule! This one was a challenge for sure...but that's why the result was so satisfying! It suits her to a tee, and maybe one day she'll be able to put this new interest into actually learning to fly.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - seed packets and pot plants

Another growing interest that Miss has is gardening...pun intended!She's spending her pocket money on seeds and pot plants and busily clearing out the weeds from the vegie patch for our Aussie spring and summer growing season. Certainly not the typical pursuits of a 14 year old I know...she has no current interest in fashion, makeup or boys.I'm good with that :).

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - lined paper fabric page

Moving along to 'snail mail'.This seems quite hilarious, as writing letters was always second nature to me.Ranging from memories of the obligatory postcards and thankyou letters that we had to write, then moving into my teenage girl phase when I wrote ever longer and longer tomes to my girlfriends about the many weighty issues we faced. Times have changed so quickly, and it's lovely to see this almost lost skill make a resurgence with her.My daughter writes to her friends every week now, with beautifully decorated pages, envelopes and artwork. Mostly hand delivered, although using stamps and actually posting them has become exciting now too! So I had to include this reference to letter writing with the lined page, stamps and fountain pen.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - Tilda fountain pen raw edge applique

The pen was copied from a line drawing of a fountain pen, with the fabric backed with fusible web, then raw edge appliqued.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - fabric stamps

Fabric stamps are so fun to make...just fussy cut any of your favourite little designs from fabric, and adhere with fusible web to felt or fabric. Fuse more web to the back of the felt or fabric, then cut out with pinking shears or scallop scissors for the stamp edge effect.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - fabric stamps on Tilda Sunkiss

I then fused them to pillow and stitched them down.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - airmail sugarbaby paper pieced pattern

I both machine stitched and hand embroidered the airmail logo on for a further fun touch.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - paper pieced cessna

The final finishes were a pretty ruffle and backing fabric. I found this on the clearance shelf at Spotlight, and it was the perfect match for the Tilda fabrics that I'd been using on this birthday pillow.

One of a Kind Birthday Pillow- pretty floral backing and ruffle
One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - pretty floral ruffle
One of a Kind Birthday Pillow - the many interests of Missy

This is certainly a one-of-a-kind pillow...and I will most certainly never be making another one! But I hope this inspires you to create your own one of a kind pillow for someone special!

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Meet Ali Phillips

So glad you stopped by for a read! I'm a sewist with a passion for family, creativity, & organisation.