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Monday, 22 July 2013

$8 Gift for boy - DIY pillow shield with foam sword

We have yet another birthday party approaching which my kids have been invited to. As kids get a bit older I find it harder and harder to both DIY a gift they will enjoy and be able to stay on budget.

This particular gift is for a four year old boy, and I am quite excited about it.
When I found this idea for a pillow shield I was pretty excited. The little boy I am making this for is quite close to our family, and one of his favourite things to play with here is the foam sword found in our dress up bin.

Let's get started, gentle readers!

You will need:
- four pieces of fabric: 3/4 m for the back, 1/2 m for the bottom section and 1/4 m each for the two top sections. (I had the fleece I used for the back on hand, and the two patterned fabrics I used for the front were a steal of a deal.  I found both the patterned pieces in the clearance section of the fabric store for $2/meter. The red I bought at regular price - minus my discount card- but since I only needed 1/4 m it will still quite reasonable.  With the purchase of black biased tape my fabric store total came to $5. 67)
- two lengths of 6 inch nylon webbing and matches to heat seal the ends so they don't fray - on hand
- bias tape (as previously mentioned)
- craft felt (on hand)
- fiber fill pillow stuffing (on hand)

as well as
- pins
- scissors
-pencil and paper to draw template
- sewing machine

Here is how I did it.

First, draw a template of the shield.  Because I lack any and all artistic ability I just traced my sons toy shield.  Then I added 1/4 inch all the way around for a seam allowance.  When you cut your paper, cut the larger image.  Its a good idea now to also draw in the lines for where you would want your different fabrics.  The bottom section looks best if it takes up just a little more than half the length of the shield.  The remaining top portion can be split equally in two.
Toy shield traced onto paper
 Then pin your pattern to your back fabric like so.  Cut out your fabric.
pin your pattern to your fabric
 Next you'll take your two pieces of nylon webbing and heat seal them.  I know what you're thinking - I think it all the time too..."Why on earth is this stuff called "webbing" when it looks nothing like a web?!" *sigh* Some things are destined to remain a mystery I suppose.
To heat seal, simply trim up the edges of your webbing, then light a match.  When you hold the flame near the cut ends of the webbing you will see it start to shrink and melt.  This will prevent the ends from fraying.  The same technique can be used on most ribbon to keep it from fraying as well.

Then position your webbing like so on your back fabric.  Stitch in place with your sewing machine.
position the straps on the back fabric
Then you will take your original pattern and cut it up into the three sections you established in the first step. Take your bottom section and pin it to the fabric you want to use for that portion. ***BEFORE YOU CUT the fabric please rememeber that 1/4 inch seam allowance.  You can still see it drawn on the "V" portion of the bottom, and that's great - continue to follow that as normal.  But when you get to the top line there is no seam allowance drawn in but you still need 1/4 inch seam allowance.  If you forget to add in the seam allowance the pieces will not match up correctly. Repeat this idea with both the top sections as well, adding in the seam allowance any place it is not drawn in.
Notice my scissors at the top allowing 1/4 inch seam allowance
 I decided to add the first initial if the boy this shield is for. Since there is no way on Earth I could cut a decent letter "A" from craft felt without a pattern guide of some sort, I simply found a font I liked in the size I needed and printed it from Word,  Then I cut out the A and used it as a cutting guide.  Then I hand stitched the A to my red section of fabric/

 Taking both of my top sections, with right sides together, I stitched using that 1/4 inch seam allowance. Its a good idea to take your iron and press this open.
Top sections sewn together
 Then you can pin your top section to the bottom section, with ride sides together. Stitch and press open again.
with right sides together pin and stitch top section to bottom section
 To add a bit of drama and some cleaner lines, I decided to top stitch some black bias tape over my seams. If you choose to do this as well I do recommend stitching two rows, once close to each edge of the tape rather than one line of stitching down the center.  If you stitch one line down the center of the tape the edges will lift up once you stuff the pillow.  Guess how I know that....
front of pillow complete with bias tape
 Next, with right sides together, stitch the back piece to the front of the pillow, leaving an opening roughly the size of your forearm for turning and stuffing.  Turn the pillow right side out.  Stuff with fiber fill.  To prevent your pillow stuffing from looking lumpy pull your filling into small bits with your fingers before stuffing the pillow.
Stuff your pillow.
 Top stitch your opening closed.  The pair with a foam sword for $2 at the dollar store and be very proud of your knightly gift!

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