I sorted through her old dresses, got teary-eyed because of how quickly the time has passed, and managed to choose a sweet ribbon dress in a size 6-12 months to start this project. It was Harper's first little Easter dress (sniff, sniff!).
|Harper's first Easter|
The best thing about this dress is that it zipped up the back, which meant less sewing for me.
I won't pretend to be an expert seamstress, but I do know my way around a machine, thanks to books and a lot of practice. This is a good introductory project if you aren't confident about sewing.
First, turn the dress inside out. You will then pin the neckline and armhole (is that a technical term?) fabric together, making sure it lines up cleanly like in the photo. If your dress has a zipper, do not pin the top of the zipper closed, as pictured. It helps to have the zipper unzipped, which I learned the hard way AFTER sewing my dress together the first time. You just can't unzip a closed zipper from the wrong side--trust me--you don't want to do that to yourself. Thank goodness for seam rippers!
|Pin on both sides of the (unzipped) zipper|
|Close to the edge|
Next, sew it together, making your seam close to the edge. This will help the dress hold its shape when it becomes a pillow. Be sure to sew on either side of the zipper, not through it so it still functions.
|This is how you want your outer seam to look|
Now it's time to work on the hemline. The dress I used was lined, which meant the hem was longer than the lining when it was turned inside out. To avoid the lining bunching inside of the pillow, it would have to be sewn around the lining, and not at the bottom of the hemline. When you pin it together, concentrate on where the bottom of the lining is because this is where you will sew your outer seam.
|Pin together, concentrating on where the lining ends.|
After you have successfully sewn the dress together, turn it out through the zipper opening. Manipulate the fabric until the dress shape is where you want it to be, especially around the edges. Now it's time to stuff your pillow. I like Cluster Stuff because it creates a very soft and squishy pillow. Another plus is that it's washable, which is perfect for this project because the dress is too. If your little one has a tendency to touch everything with sticky hands, it's okay this time because you'll be able to toss this pillow into the washing machine.
Place as much fiberfill as you'd like into your new pillow form until it feels good and you like the way it looks. Zip it up the back, and voila! You have a precious reminder from your daughter's baby days. Just try not to hug it and cry when you see it in her room (I KNOW I'm not the only one who would do something like that!).
|Zip the back|
Your daughter now has a keepsake pillow, and you have a sweet reminder of how tiny your girl once was.
*If you have sons, you could do this with outgrown short-sleeved shirts--how cute would several plaid button up throw pillows be?