A custom pillow with machine embroidered child handprints and names

By on March 31st, 2014
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embroidered pillow with handprints
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My friend, Lisa, was in charge of the auction to raise money for our little Catholic school where my son goes to preschool. When she found out that I have an embroidery machine, she encouraged (read: begged) me to come up with a an item that could be auctioned off using my embroidery machine.

So I gave it some thought and concluded that people would be most inclined to spend their money if the item were personalized, and I quickly realized that this was the perfect opportunity to make an embroidered handprint pillow – something I had been wanting to do for a long time. I got the idea for this project by seeing pictures on Pinterest of kids’ handprints that were hand embroidered and framed.  I loved the concept – what a beautiful way to capture the essence of your child at this moment in time – but why not digitize their handprints and stitch them out with an embroidery machine?

I decided to use my three little nut cases (kids) as guinea pigs, and I began by tracing their hands on a piece of paper and then had them write their names on the paper as well.  I scanned in the pages and digitized both the handprints and the names. Next, I stitched out all the handprints and the names on a piece of linen fabric I cut out for a 20″ x 20″ pillow front. And finally I sewed together the whole pillow.

stitching out kids handprints

I made a couple mistakes when making this pillow. First of all, I should not have cut out the pillow front to size prior to stitching. I didn’t plan very well the placements of the hands and names on the pillow and the overall design was a little bit lopsided. If I had waited to cut out the front until I was done stitching, I could have centered the stitching much better. Secondly the linen fabric background with the wine colored stitching was frankly a little boring. I should have designed the pillow to have some kind of pattern border that would’ve incorporated the wine color and tied it all together.

For the auction my plan was to show the pillow that I had made as a prototype, but make another one for the top bidder using their children’s handprints and writing. But lucky for me the top bidder was my mom, and she wanted the original, after all it already incorporated her grandchildren’s handprints. And I am perfectly happy with that outcome. The pillow is done, and I can move onto the next project or maybe make a better one for my house.

Would you like to digitize a drawing or a kids’ handprint? Check out my post on how to find an embroidery digitizing service. 

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