Last summer my kids went to sleep away camp for the first time. I was a bit nervous leaving them for an entire week, since they were 6 and 9 years old, so – being a sewist mom – I decided to make them a project.
Each of my girls received a personalized pillowcase with a glow-in-the-dark secret message. Every night when they went to sleep, the glowing message would say goodnight and that mom and dad love them. Made me feel much better!
Today’s tutorial shows you how to incorporate a glow-in-the-dark message using a sewing machine with an alphabet function. (P.S. If you don’t have one, consider using the glowing thread to hand-embroider a message instead!) I added some embroidery as well since the Janome Skyline S9 can do that too!
There are so many uses for these pillowcases. Make one for….
- a unique gift for your grandkids
- a child in the hospital
- your hubby while you are away traveling on business
- a child who is scared of the dark
- a fun surprise!
My lovely blog sponsor, Country Clothesline, provided the fabrics for this pillowcase. They have a gorgeous selection of fresh and pretty fabrics in her shop – think picnics and country gardens. My kids are debating who gets to use this pillowcase first as we speak! (Find links to the fabrics at the bottom of this post.)
Make your own DIY Secret Message Pillowcase
You will need:
- A good burrito pillowcase tutorial – try this link from Janome Life.
- Glow-in-the-dark Embroidery thread
- Materials as per your tutorial
- Optional: Embroidery machine and supplies
It is best to follow your chosen tutorial, but, as a gauge – here are the measurements I used to cut fabric for my pillowcase. Each of these is cut across the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage – generally, this is about 42″-44″.
- 11″ band
- 2″ wide accent strip (will be folded in half)
- 27″ main fabric
STEP 1: Make the Accent Strip with Your Secret Message
Fold the accent strip in half and press. Add a 1″ wide piece of stabilizer to one half of it. This will be where you will place your glow-in-the-dark message.
Program the message into your machine. The Skyline S9 allows you to check your work, do it if you can to make sure there aren’t any spelling mistakes.
Measure the height of your text and draw a baseline with a removable marking device. Check which way the text will face as you stitch and align the baseline so the text is right side up above the fold of the accent strip. If you are centering the text on the strip, allow for a 1/4″ seam allowance at the top of the accent strip.
IMPORTANT: Press your accent strip well before you embroider on it! You CAN NOT press the glow-in-the-dark embroidery thread with the same heat you use to press the cotton fabric because it will melt. (Don’t ask me how I know, blergh.)
Use the baseline as a guide and stitch the message, starting about 1″ into the strip to allow for the pillowcase seam allowance. Continue repeating your message until you reach about 1″ from the other end of the strip.
Remove the spacing threads between the letters if desired.
Re-fold the strip. (Do not press on high heat! Test your “synthetic” setting and use a press cloth if you really want to iron it.)
STEP 2: Embroider the Pillowcase
When centering embroidery, make sure to take seam allowances and folds into account. Embroidery centered on the top front band will appear on 1/4 of the band fabric. (see photo)
Place stabilizer underneath and hoop your project.
I used two rose designs included with the Janome AcuDesign app and changed the colours to use similar colours to the fabric so I could envision the final product.
The AcuSetter app allowed me to send the design placements over WIFI to the Skyline S9, so the rose and the two vine sections would match up.
Embroider the pillowcase band as desired.
Step 3: Finish Making the Pillowcase
Follow your desired tutorial to finish the pillowcase. Insert the accent strip between the main and band fabric with the lettering facing the band fabric when sewing them together.
I used a french seam to enclose the raw edges of the pillowcase so they won’t fray.
Thanks for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!
Woven Fabric: All fabrics are from Country Clothesline – Rambling Rose by Tanya Whelan for FreeSpirit, Happy Dots Pinhead (white on blue dot) from Michael Miller Fabrics, Basically Hugs (blue on white dot) by Helen Stubbings for P&B Textiles
Glow-In-The-Dark thread: Coats & Clark, 100% Polyester
Sewing Machine: Janome Skyline S9 (on loan from Janome Canada as part of their Artisan program)