Search Results for: travel pillow

Patchwork Travel Neck Pillow ~ Pattern & Tutorial

I know a lot of people travel around this time of year.  As a matter of fact, my mom and her husband will be flying in to celebrate an early Christmas with us in less than two weeks!  Many people are unable to sleep in airplanes and cars because of their uncomfortable neck position .  I’ve seen lots of travel pillows in the airports, but I wanted to make one that was a little bit more exciting………a little more “me”, shall we say.

The Patchwork Travel Neck Pillow is a great gift idea for anyone you know that travels a lot.  Or make one for yourself so you can be comfortable and stylish on your next long journey.
To download the Patchwork Travel Neck Pillow pattern piece, click HERE.
Scraps of fabric
Lightweight fusible interfacing
Fiberfill (or other stuffing)
Basic sewing supplies (including hand-sewing)
Travel neck pillow pattern piece (click HERE)
Print and cut out the pattern piece.  Use this pattern to cut the backing for your pillow.  Place pattern piece on fold of fabric and cut.
Gather a bunch of fabric scraps that you have lying around.  They can coordinate with one another or be totally random.  I kind of went for the random look this time, but if you want a more cohesive look then just stick to one color palette.
Cut your scraps into 3″ x 3″ squares.  I cut mine out using my rotary cutter, quilting ruler and cutting mat, but you can certainly use scissors, just make sure you are precise.
Lay out your fabric squares.  Place them in a desired pattern.  See my picture (a few below this one) to see exactly how many squares you will need for each row.
Sew the squares together to form rows using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Then sew the rows together also with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  I would suggest alternating the way you press your seams so that you have better luck with the corners meeting up.  If you press one row to the right, press the next row to the left and so on.
The picture above is what your squares will look like when they are all sewn together.  If you are doing 3″ squares, you can follow the above layout and it will fit your pattern piece exactly.
Use your pillow backing as the template for the front.  Cut around to make the front patchwork piece.
This step is entirely optional, but I always love nice finishing.  I stitched a 1/4″ from each seam on both sides. I did this horizontally and vertically, so that each square has a stitched border.  If you choose this option, make sure you complete this before you sew on your backing.
Apply a light-weight fusible webbing to the back piece and the front piece.  Do this according to your package directions.  This is fusible web so it will only be fusible on one side.  Do not use double-sided for this project.  You don’t have to use the interfacing, but I think it gives the project more body and looks nicer once the pillow is stuffed.
At this point, if you choose to use a label, sew it on to your back piece now.
Pin the front piece to the back piece with the right sides together.  Stitch all the way around using a 1/2″ seam allowance, but leave a 3″ opening on one of the sides.
Clip the inner curve so that the pillow will lay flat.  Do this by cutting slits through the curve.  Cut very close to the stitching, just be careful not to go through it.
For the outer curves, notch them out so that you remove bulk.  Again, we are doing this so that the curves will lay flat and look nice when turned right side out.
Turn your neck pillow right side out and press.  You may have to work the curves so that they are nice and smooth.  Stuff your pillow with fiberfill stuffing.  Move the stuffing around so it is even throughout the pillow.  Then hand sew your 3″ opening closed with coordinating thread.
And there you have it, your completed Patchwork Travel Neck Pillow!
Patchwork Travel Neck Pillow FREE Pattern from The Cottage Mama.
The patchwork version takes a little time, but if you need a faster variation, try leaving the front piece solid.  Also, you can certainly make this pillow for a man by using more masculine fabric prints.  But you know I love girly things.

Happy Holiday Travels!

Sleepover Ruffle Pillowcase Tutorial

Sleepovers are one of my fondest memories as a little girl.  I loved staying overnight with my girlfriends, watching movies, giggling and trying to see if we were able to stay up the whole night (which never actually happened).  I had a really neat sleeping bag that I took to sleepovers and I always felt really special when I brought it over to my friends houses.

So, here’s a tutorial to make your darling little lady her very own “special” sleepover pillowcase.  This pillowcase would also be great as a special “travel” pillowcase or would be super-cute for a little toddler going to daycare who needed a nap-time pillow and blankie.

Different patterned Fabric
1 package of rick rack
Fusible interfacing (such as WonderUnder)
Sewing Machine
Iron and ironing board


First you will need to cut your fabric pieces.  The pieces are sized as follows for a large standard sized pillowcase:

Main body fabric: 27″ X 42″
Cuff fabric: 11″ X 42″
Ruffle fabric: 5″ X 88″ (will need to cut 2 pieces 5″ X 44 and stitch together)
Rick Rack: 42″

Here are your fabric pieces after they have been cut.  Next you will need to sew them together – 1/2″ seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

For the main body of the pillowcase you will need to sew one shorter side and one longer side – right sides together.  As you can see here, I used my serger, but simply for convenience, you can definitely use a regular sewing machine for this.

So you should have one side open after you have sewn the other sides together.  Then turn the main body of the pillow right side out and press with your iron.

For the cuff, you will need to sew the one shorter-side of fabric – right-sides together.

This is what your cuff will look like after you have sewn the one-side together.  Then turn it right-side out and press your seam open.  For the cuff you will need to fold it in half long ways, wrong-sides together.

To make the long ruffle pieces, sew the ends – right-sides together.  Once you have sewn the ends together you will have a big circle.  Then you need fold it in half (wrong-side together) and press with your iron.

To make the ruffle, you need to set your sewing machine on the longest straight stitch possible.  Then stitch around the entire circle on the raw edge side (not the fold) – 1/8″ seam allowance.  Do not back-stitch at the beginning or the end or the gathering will not work.

This is what your ruffle piece will look like after you finish your long straight stitch.

In order to gather and form the ruffle, you need to pull on one of your threads.  Keep doing this until you reach the desired ruffle length.

Once you have formed your ruffle, pin it to the main body of the pillowcase.  The ruffle should be pointing inward towards the main body.

Stitch your ruffle onto the main body of the pillowcase.

This is what your ruffle will look like after you have stitched it to the main body of the pillowcase.

Next you need to attach the cuff.  Pin the cuff the same way you did the ruffle.  The folded edge should be pointed inward towards the main part of the pillowcase and the raw edges should be towards the outside.

Here is what the cuff will look like before you stitch it down – make sure you pin it well.

Once you have sewn the cuff and the ruffle, press them with your iron in the opposite direction that they were sewn…….see, doesn’t it look nice and pretty now?

If you don’t care to attach the rick rack trim, then I would suggest top-stitching on top of the pink (main body) 1/8″ seam allowance to secure the ruffle and cuff into place.  If you are going to attach the trim (in the next step) then don’t worry about this step.

Pin your rick rack right on the seam between the main body of the pillowcase and the ruffle.  Pin all the way around.

Stitch the rick rack into place.  Do this by sewing down the center of the trim.

This is what the rick rack will look like after you have stitched it to the pillowcase.

If you would like to add a monogram or name to the pillowcase then simply cut out letters out of coordinating fabric and follow the directions on your fusible interfacing to secure them to the fabric.

Then zig-zag stitch around each of the letters.  You can also do a simple straight-stitch, I would just recommend using fray-check around the edges so it will still look nice after washing.

And there you have it!  A special pillowcase for a very special little lady!
This is a set of pillowcases that I made for a customers twins for their 2nd birthday.  They will be taking these pillowcases and matching patchwork blankets to their daycare for nap time – SO cute!!

Top Blog Posts for 2015

The Top 10 Blog Posts from 2015 on The Cottage Mama Blog. You MUST check out some of these awesome free projects!

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s always fun for me to take a look at the stats here on The Cottage Mama Blog and find out which posts you all have been enjoying the most this last year. Some of these have been favorites for years and some of these have just made their way into the Top 10 Blog Posts. If you haven’t tried some of these sewing and craft projects or recipes……..check them out! I think you’ll really enjoy them!

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Best of 2012 ~ DIY Project Tutorials

I had a feeling 2012 would be a great year, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine all the opportunities that would come this year. I do not take any of it for granted and wake up every day feeling blessed and so thankful for all of this.

Now, more than ever, I believe that we have a great power in our destiny. I know my husband was rolling his eyes last year when, on the first day of 2012, I kept saying (out loud) that 2012 was going to be a great year! I believe if you put positive energy out in the world and work really hard, good things will come to you. So for the record, I think 2013 is going to be the best year yet! This might all sound a little cheesy to you and maybe it is, but give it a try and I think you’ll be surprised.

I wanted to gather some of my favorite project tutorials from this last year to share with you all. It’s always fun for me to go back through the year and look back at all that has happened here at The Cottage Home. And just in case you missed one of these projects, I’ve linked to each one below the picture.

Favorite Project Tutorials from 2012

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for visiting my little corner of the internet world at The Cottage Home. It has been a pleasure getting to know all of you and I am looking forward to a great 2013!

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

2011 has been a great year.
I cannot believe it’s almost over.
Time sure does fly when you are having fun!
This past year has been one of the best years of my life.  We were blessed with the birth of our new baby boy, Caspian Finn.  And I can honestly say he completes our little family.  Not only do I feel blessed in my personal, family life, but I have been incredibly blessed in my professional, creative life as well.  The release of my first two printed sewing patterns this year was a major accomplishment for me and I’m looking forward to many new designs coming out in 2012.
Here are some of the top tutorials from 2011 that were viewed time and time again on The Cottage Home:
Another big favorite was the Semi-Handmade Wardrobe Series where I repurposed a lot of the girls clothing and made them into new, fresh looks for spring:
Apr 2, 20111-2
And the most popular party post from 2011 was Matilda’s “Tea for 2” birthday party:
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to visit The Cottage Home in 2011.  There are many exciting things planned for 2012 and I appreciate you coming along on this journey with me.  And next week, I have a BIG giveaway planned from me to you ~ just as a little thank you.
So tell me, what was your favorite tutorial on The Cottage Home in 2011?

Here’s to a great 2012!

My First Show

So this Thursday I will be traveling from Chicago down to Tennessee (outside of Nashville) to the Strawberry Patch Barn Sale.  This will be my very first show……ever!  I opened The Cottage Mama this past March and, up until now, have done primarily online and word-of-mouth business.  I’m really hoping to take my business to the next level over the next year and I think doing more public shows will really make it happen.

I have been working around the clock to build up my in-stock inventory (which has been quite difficult in addition to being a mommy, wife and blogger). I just wanted to share with you some of the pieces I will be taking down to Tennessee with me…….I feel like such a proud Mama and I can’t wait to meet everyone down south!!

Fall Harvest Dress
Modern Peasant Dress
1940’s Round-Neck Dress
Modern Girls Knickers
Ruffle Neck Top
Watercolor Ruffle Pants
Girls Apron Skirt
Retro Halloween Skirt and Top
Fall Ruffle Dress
Hand Embroidered Pillowcase Dress
Fall Ruffle Dress
Modern Little Coat Dress
So that’s just a sampling of what I will have on display at the show this next weekend.  If you live around Nashville, please come out and visit me at the show – I would love to meet you!  I’m very excited to see where this all takes me.  What do you think?  Stay tuned…….I will be listing quite a few of these designs in my etsy shop later this month.  Thanks for letting me share!!

Happy Sewing!

Sew Many Books, Sew Little Time

There are SO many wonderful books on the market right now for sewing enthusiasts.  Even if you have yet to discover the magic of the sewing machine, check out some of these books the next time you are browsing at the book store and I bet you’ll be inspired!  Here are some of my favorites:
  1.  Amy Butler’s Little Stitches – Designer Amy Butler presents 20 charming contemporary projects for the nursery and beyond. There’s a snuggly wrap blanket, imaginative plush toys, bright diaper bags, handy travel bibs and much more. Amy also shares tips on choosing baby-friendly fabrics and includes a comprehensive techniques section glossary and resource guide. With her eye for detail and her signature fine craftsmanship Amy has created a delightful offering of handcrafted keepsakes sure to be cherished by generations to come.
  2. Amy Butler’s In Stitches – Designer Amy Butler brings her fresh, modern style to the timeless craft of sewing. She presents more than 25 charming projects ranging from cushy floor cushions to smart aprons to stylish handbags. Amy offers thoughtful tips on finding and treating new or vintage fabrics, an easy-to-navigate techniques section, and a glossary and resource guide at back. Whether it’s chic placemats and napkins for the kitchen, a luxurious kimono-style robe for the bath, or handy organizer baskets for the home office Amy Butler’s In Stitches makes it easy to create beautiful accessories for every room and every mood.
  3. Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching – More than just a pair of days, a weekend is also a state of mind—a feeling of relaxation and freedom to immerse ourselves fully in a favorite activity. In Weekend Sewing, designer Heather Ross presents creative projects for clothing, accessories, and home items that can be made in a weekend or less. Some, like the Quick Garden Gloves and Ruby’s Bloomers, take a few hours; others, like the Weekend-Away Travel Bag and Trapeze Sundress, require a day or two—but all of them capture that weekend feeling.  And because weekends are often the most fun when they’re social, Ross features ideas that encourage us to share our stitching and our time, such as a recipe for soup to simmer while sewing, then serve to guests later in the day, and tips for transporting a sewing machine to a friend’s house for an afternoon of social stitching.
  4. Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing – Anna Maria Horner’s signature style combines the techniques of a seasoned sewer with the vision of an artist. In Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing, she walks you through the fundamentals, offering practical advice on everything from fabric selection to color choices to choosing and buying a sewing machine. Simple step-by-step instructions show you how to turn her designs into fanciful creations: Sideways Squares Skirt, Prairie Blouse, Full Contact Cooking Apron, Playing Along Quilt, Doggie Dreams Bed, And so much more!
  5. Bend the Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew –Author Amy Karol, whose Angry Chicken is one of the best-loved craft blogs on the Web, brings stitchers everywhere a down-to-earth introduction to sewing, including thirty projects so adorable and cool they’ll inspire anyone to pick up a needle and thread. You’ll find information on basic equipment and supplies, advice on choosing and using fabrics, and a fantastic section on techniques. In addition, Amy walks readers through easy, inspiring patterns designed for the fashion-savvy crafter. Playful, modern projects, which include pillows, aprons, and purses, help novices master sewing skills while providing immediate sewing gratification—and confidence. Best of all, Amy explains what’s easy, what’s hard, and when not to sweat the small stuff.  
  6. Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials – By its nature, do-it-yourself sewing is environmentally friendly. In Sewing Green, Betz White takes stitching to an even higher level of sustainability, presenting 25 projects made from “repurposed” thrift-store and back-of-the-closet finds and organic fabrics.  White’s whimsical yet practical designs include an apron constructed from men’s dress shirts (and a wallet from the shirts’ cuffs!), a soft blanket pieced from secondhand cashmere sweaters, and even a tote bag refashioned from used Tyvek envelopes. Along the way, White dispenses tips on everything from how to deconstruct old garments for reuse in new creations to how to wrap gifts with resusable fabric scraps instead of paper.  Inspiring profiles about well-known leaders in the eco-stitching movement are sprinkled throughout, and a complete resources section helps crafters make eco-smart choices. 
  7. Stitched in Time – In Stitched in Time Alicia Paulson shares 30 beautiful, inventive, and thoughtful projects that encourage you to take your memories down from the bookshelf, out of the closet, or off the hard drive and bring them into your daily life. Paulson organizes these adorable handmade mementos—each one incorporating unique elements such as photos, drawings, and other ephemera—into three sections: For the Little Ones, For Every Day, and For Special Occasions. Many projects are easy enough for the beginning sewer to complete, and Paulson explains all the necessary techniques, from hand- and machine-sewing to embroidery, appliqué, stenciling, and transferring photos to fabric.  In as little as a weekend anyone can create a keepsake for the ages that will be enjoyed every day —whether it’s a quilt made from outgrown baby clothes, an apron featuring a favorite family recipe, a tote bag documenting a treasured vacation, or a stuffed animal fashioned from a child’s drawing. With love incorporated into every stitch, these sweet projects each evoke the feeling of a special time and place, and are so much more than just a commemoration of events. Whether you want to remember your family summers at the beach or a daughter’s first apartment, a perfect gift for a loved one or a memento to keep all to yourself is just stitches away.