My sister-in-law showed me a tooth fairy pillow she received as a gift for her boys a while back and suggested I make some to sell or give as gifts. I had never seen them before; they were so cute and clever. I thought, “I could totally make some!”
I went ahead and sketched out a template and used it to make a few test ones, and they turned out pretty cute! I’ve since made a handful of them to pass out as gifts and thought I’d share a tutorial on how to make them.
They are fairly easy to whip up if you have a sewing machine and some scrap fabrics. You may be able to sew them by hand if you don’t have a machine, but it would be a little more work to hand sew all around the tooth.
First step is to sketch out the shape of a tooth freehand onto construction paper. You could probably find a google image to use if you don’t want to freehand it. Mine ended up about 8.5″ tall x 8.5″ wide (at widest point). Then sketch how big you want the pocket to be onto the tooth template. Lay another piece of paper over the tooth template and trace the outline of the pocket you just sketched. Cut it out to use as your pocket template.
Next, grab some white fabric (or any color really) for the tooth and some small scrap fabric for the pocket. You need two pieces of fabric for both the tooth and pocket. Each set needs to be the same size or larger to cut out two identical shapes. For the pocket, you don’t really see the backside much. So, for me, if I only have enough of a particular print that I want to use for the front, I just grab some white for the back. This actually works nicely because you only see the pocket’s back when you pull open the pocket. So the white backside actually ends up matching (and laying against) the white front side of the tooth.
These are 4 prints I selected for the pillows I made for this tutorial. I didn’t have enough of the castle or peter pan prints for the pockets’ front & back, so I used white for those 2 backs
Then stack the two layers for each, right sides together, and trace the templates onto their respective top layer (which is the backside of the print). Then carefully cut out the shapes with a rotary cutter or scissors.
“Right sides together” or “RST” means the pretty side of the two fabrics face against each. In other words, the bottom layer’s ‘wrong’ side faces down and the top layer’s ‘wrong’ side faces up at you. You can see what I mean in the photos below where I’m cutting out the pocket pieces.
Here my front fabric has the ‘right’ side down and the back fabric is white so ‘right’ side doesn’t matter. They are also different sized scraps, but this doesn’t matter either. I just traced and cut out 2 identical pocket layers based on the template.
Here my scrap piece is large enough to fold over (right sides together). I then traced the template and cut out both pieces together.
- Straight pins help hold the two layers together as you cut
- A small 28 mm rotary cutter works really well for this project for cutting around all the small curves. You’ll get more precise cuts
- Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the ‘right side’ of white fabric is, so I don’t really bother trying to figure it out. If you can’t tell, no one else will be able too
After you cut out your two pocket pieces they will look like the above. Be sure to check that the right sides of the fabrics are still facing each other and then hold them in place with a pin. Next step is to sew these babies up.
Follow the direction marked in the first photo above. Sew from the top right side before the corner of the pocket, all the way around to the top left side a little after the corner of the pocket. You must leave an opening at the top so you can flip the pocket right sides out. It’s best to start and end on the top side of the pocket so you capture the two corners in this seam. This way, after you flip the pocket, the corners are already closed in and are nice and crisp. You will then just have a small opening on top to close up. The second photo above shows what the pocket looks like with the opening before you flip it right sides out.
After you flip the pocket right sides out, you can push out the two corners so they lay flat and look pretty. This Hera clover tool’s point side works really well for this. But you could use scissors or a sharpened pencil if you don’t have a nifty tool like this. Just be careful you don’t pierce through the fabric.
Once the pocket is smoothed out, give it a good iron. Be sure to fold in the opening’s edges at the top so the unfinished edges are tucked inside. Give the top side another run with your iron to help crease the fabric and keep the edges tucked inside. Then sew a line across the top, starting about 1/4″ in from one end and stopping 1/4″ before hitting the other end (see second photo below).
Now it’s best to draw the face on the front of the tooth with fabric markers before you have too much bulk or start sewing everything together. Get creative and have fun! Try a fun eye color or shape, adding eyelashes, or a different lip shape, etc…
If you don’t intend to wash the finished pillow too much, you could probably use any regular type of marker, but fabric markers hold up through the wash and tend not to bleed or smear on fabric.
After you draw the face on, pin the pocket to the tooth’s front layer. Be sure to pin it in place where ever you want the pocket to sit.
Note in above photo – I just laid the front layers onto the back layers to keep the correct pairs together. I did not pin the pocket through both layers
Time to go back to the sewing machine to attach the pocket to the front of the tooth. You want to follow the same path you did when you sewed the pocket together. Start from the top right side before the corner of the pocket, and sew all the way around to the top left side, a little after the corner of the pocket. Backstitch when you start and stop to ensure the pocket is nice and secure. Also, try to sew on top of your previous top seam where you closed the pocket up. This way, the entire seam around the pocket looks nice and clean (see photos below).
Be sure to leave an opening on the top large enough to hold a folded dollar bill, or else your pocket won’t work. And since you previously sewed across the top of the pocket before you attached it to the tooth’s body, the stitching will now look nice and finished and pretty all the way around.
Now it’s time to sew up the tooth’s body. Be sure to flip the tooth’s front and back so they are facing into each other (right sides together again). Pin them in a couple spots to hold the layers in place. To sew, you will follow the same guidelines you did for sewing the pocket, there are just more curves. I like to start on one of the straight sides of the tooth so its easier to close up at the end. This way, you won’t have any curvature to mess with near the opening.
It looks like I forgot to take photos of this step. So here is a finished photo to show you you are almost done!
Just remember when you sew around the entire body that you must leave a gap large enough to flip the tooth inside out (like you did for the pocket) and be able to stuff it. I’d say 2″ is more than enough space to leave for the opening.
After the body is sewn together and flipped inside out, you can use the clover tool I showed you above to push out the ‘feet’ of your tooth and smooth all the edges out. Or you could use something like the eraser end of a pencil. Then give your tooth a good press with your iron. As with the pocket hole, be sure to fold in the opening’s edges so the frayed ends are tucked inside. Then give this part another quick press to crease the fabric and keep the unfinished edges turned in.
Now it’s time to stuff the pillow. You can buy loose pillow fill (like in the first photo above) online or at your local craft stores. This bag was gifted to me and I really like this brand’s density. You will only use about 5-10 oz. of fill, depending on how ‘stuffed’ you want your tooth to look. You can find something similar like this on Amazon.
Another great idea is if you have old or unused pillows lying around, take out their stuffing and use that. I have a handful of pillows stored in my attic that I started going through. I either remove the pillow inserts (if they have them) and make new pillow covers for them, or if they have loose fill (like in the second photo above), I pull it out and reuse it. The fill works great in projects with unusual shapes, like these little pillows. I wouldn’t use feathers for these guys though, so be sure to feel before you take apart a pillow.
This is what the pillow looks like after you flip it right sides out, before and after it gets stuffed. You can see that you don’t need a very large opening to stuff it. Just push through a little fill at a time, then massage the pillow to move the fill around until you are happy with how it looks.
Lastly, you need to close up that hole. You can hand sew it with an invisible stitch if you don’t want to see the seam. Here’s a video showing you how to do that. But for me, a quick seam using my machine doesn’t bother me, and you hardly notice it. I used my machine to close up the below pillow, and sewed in my shop tag while I was at it. Can you see the stitches right above the tag? Not too noticeable, right? This is a fast way to close and will leave you with a secure seam that will hold up over time.
My son, Evan, loved these pillows and wanted to help me photograph them. So we did a little photo shoot together
I’ve thought about making some of these using fun prints for the tooth’s body. I think you’d still be able to tell that they are teeth even if they are not solid white. How cute would these be with a tooth fairy print? Hmm…I may need to do some fabric shopping before I make my next batch!
And guess what?! Three of these pillows are for sale in my shop! Check them out here:
This is such a fun and simple project and would make such a cute and whimsical gift! I never had anything like this growing up. I think I would’ve loved to snuggle one of these while I dozed off to sleep dreaming of the tooth fairy flying into my room to take my tooth from this little pillow.
These types of projects/gifts make me so happy. I’ll leave you with one last little fairy-dusted photo. And I hope you have a happy, magical fairy kind of day!