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Notebook Doodle Pillow

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There’s nothing better than a project with fun personality, customization and color! This notebook doodle pillow is the best thing next to drawing in the margins of homework, because you get to keep it and show it off all year long. It’s also an excellent one to do with kids, because they get to pick their own doodles, design their own “notebook” page, and then color it all in however they like, creating a magical keepsake!


To craft your notebook doodle pillow, you’ll need:

  • Your favorite Daydream Doodle embroidery designs
  • White fabric (at least 22” x 44” for a 14" pillow -- we used a microsuede)
  • Printed templates of your design(s) for placement
  • Medium weight cutaway stabilizer
  • Temporary spray adhesive
  • Thread for your embroidery -- specifically a black, red, and medium blue
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Pillow form (ours is a 14" square)
  • Ruler
  • Air erase marker

You’ll also want some fun fabric markers on hand when your pillow is done, so you can go to town on adding color!

Designs Used

First things first: I am making a 14” x 14” pillow cover. If your pillow form is a different size, adjust your measurements accordingly.

In order to have enough space to have the hooped fabric be nice and taut; be sure to cut the fabric wider than needed. For my pillow, I cut a 22" x 22" square.

The next step is creating the "notebook page” using stitches on your sewing machine.

First, use disappearing ink and a straight edge to draw a line 4” away from the edge of the fabric. Do this on all four sides of the fabric to make a 14" x 14" square. This is the border of your pillow cover.

Next, we’re going to mark where our “notebook” lines go.

Mark and draw a straight line 2” away from the left border line you just drew. This is the “red” notebook line.

Next, mark and draw a straight line 2” away from the top border line you drew. This is our first “blue” line, which usually starts a little down from the top on real notebooks.

Finally, mark and draw a straight line 1” away from your first “blue line” marking. Repeat this step down the pillow as needed until you reach the bottom. These are the main blue lines of your “notebook” paper.

Confused? Don’t be, it’s super easy! This diagram shows what your marks should look like when you’re finished.

That first mark was our “red” line 2 inches away from the left edge, our next one was marking our first "blue" line two inches down from the top, and the following lines are all the other blue lines of the notebook, each about one inch apart.

Now we’re ready to sew our notebook lines with colored thread. First, sew the horizontal lines with blue thread. Then, sew the one vertical line with red thread. You can go slightly over the edges of your border to make sure your lines will be caught by the edge of the pillow.

For this example, I used only one line of stitching for my “notebook” lines. If the desired look is to have a thick line; use a “top stitching thread” or simply add another row of stitching directly over the original stitch line.

Now to prep for embroidery! Rather than cut out lots of individual pieces of stabilizer for each design, we’re going to cut out one large piece of stabilizer at least 4 inches larger than your pillow on all sides. That way we can easily hide the edge of the stabilizer into the seam and work with much less hassle.

For the best stitchout, you want to be sure to use a medium weight cutaway stabilizer, adhered to the back of your fabric with temporary spray adhesive.

If you haven’t cut out templates of your chosen designs; now is the time to do so. Here are some tips on printing templates if you need. Don’t forget: you may use multiple designs, in varying sizes!

Time to lay out the templates! If this pillow isn’t for yourself, this can be an excellent time to involve whomever it is for. Kids will love being involved in picking out designs and laying them out on their “notebook” pillow as if they were doodling in the margins of some humdrum homework.

After the designs have been laid out; use your air-erase marker and design templates to mark the crosshairs and the center point for each design on your fabric. This will help when hooping and positioning the fabric to get your designs exactly wher you want them.

When hooping each design; use the smallest hoop possible for that design, and make sure to match the crosshairs of the design to the crosshairs of the hoop.

Remember, the “top” of the hoop should be matched to the top of the design on your embroidery machine. Repeat this step as needed with the rest of your designs. It’s pretty easy to lose track of your orientation with such a crazy layout, so pay attention!

Start embroidering! If you've lined up your crosshairs correctly, the center point of the design should match the needle center point on your machine.

Once you have finished embroidering all your fun doodles, trim any loose threads.

DO NOT cut or remove the stabilizer. Keeping the stabilizer prevents that annoying “stabilizer” outline visible from the front side of the fabric that you often get when trimming it away, and it adds firmness that helps when coloring!

Now let's turn your creation into a pillow!

Start by drawing a straight line, 1/2” away from the outside of the original square “notebook” border line. Draw a straight line all the way around all four sides.

This is all my designs stitched out, with the trim line drawn all around. Your pillow will probably have lots of different designs on it than mine, but the idea should be the same.

Cut along this line, removing the excess fabric. Set aside this piece for now, while we prep the back.

For the back of the pillow, cut two rectangles; one 15” wide by 13” tall and one 15” wide by 9” tall.

These two rectangles will slightly overlap at the back to create an easy pocket opening for your pillow.

On the long edge of the larger rectangle, mark 2" in, and fold and pin your edge up to that line, as shown. Do this with the other, shorter rectangle too.

Then, with your edge pinned in place, sew a straight line, 1/4” away from the folded edge.

Once you have sewn that line, fold your edge over itself once more, and stitch a seam directly over the previously sewn line; concealing the raw edge.

Do this on both rectangles, so each side has a finished, folded edge.

Grab the front of the pillow you set aside earlier and place it right side up on a flat surface. Take the longer rectangle and place it on top, folded edge up. Do the next thing with the shorter rectangle, also with the folded edge up.

The back rectangle panels should overlap with each other a few inches, sitting perfectly lined up on the front side of the pillow, like shown in the top left photo. This creates the folded opening you use to slip your pillow inside. The overlap hides the opening once your pillow is snug in the cover.

Pin the top and the bottom layers together, taking extra care in pinning where they overlap.

Sew a 1/2” seam all the way around the pillow edge.

Turn your pillow right side out through the opening at the back. Now your notebook is ready for coloring fun!

NOTE: If the air erase marker isn’t fading fast enough; use steam or a damp cloth to remove the remaining marks and get your pillow set for coloring.

Slip your pillow form inside, and grab your fabric markers. Now you can get crazy with color on new notebook doodle pillow! These thin satin outlines make coloring super easy.

This is once again a great opportunity to involve the little ones. Let them color and customize their own pillow masterpiece. (Or color it yourself -- it is a very relaxing experience!)

Once your pillow is colored, it makes a fun and modern piece of decor for a bright and colorful bedroom.

Custom doodles, layout, design and coloring. This project really lets the crafter customize it to truly make it their own!

Make a bunch for kids' rooms, classrooms, or playrooms, for an easy and memorable project you can do with kids, and creates a funky and fun keepsake heirloom.