You can make a pillow from a scout vest to give your girl a one-of-a-kind keepsake. This is a fun project that gives you a unique heirloom treasure. Get your uniforms out of storage and display them in this fun way.
Anyone with some experience using a sewing machine could put together a pillow from a scout vest. And you get to be creative and make it your way too! I did this project for sisters J&J. J1 is the (now grown-up) Girl Scout celebrating a birthday, and J2 asked me to make a pillow from a scout vest (or a few) for J1. What a great (and unique!) idea. They sent me two sashes and a vest to use. Clearly J1 is proud of her years as a scout, and I immediately knew that would be important to highlight in the final product. Here’s what I started with:
Do you need a machine? (yes!)
This is my #1 top recommendation. The features for the affordability can’t be beat. Today’s sewing machines – like this one – are automated and much easier to use. Badges are one and done, guaranteed!
This particular project did pose an additional challenge – most of the pieces had been hot-glued on! (Y’all know I’m #teamalwayssew) While many of them were still stable enough to stay where they were, some needed to move to give me room, and some needed reinforced – and it’s very hard, if not impossible to sew through glue. So I spent most of the time on this project just removing glue! You can also see that the first number on both the green and brown uniforms had been lost. Luckily, I could replace them from my stash. 🙂 Lastly, J&J provided a few last pieces for the tan uniform that needed added on. It’s all good – everything is fixable!
gather your supplies
First, I needed a pillow stuffer. I got this one at a craft store. It’s 14 x 14 inches, so that will be the final size of the finished product.
I started by creating a background fabric that would hold all the pieces and form the shape of the pillow. It’s a lightweight off-white canvas that I’ve had in my stash for a while. I cut two squares of it, each 15×15. You want it to be just big enough to squeeze the pillow in, without any extra room, so the extra 1″ is just enough to allow for a seam allowance.
Next comes the fun (and nervous!) part. I really wanted to get the placement of the pieces right to do honor to J1’s scouting, *and* each side needs to be special *and* the vests/sashes should cover as much of the pillow as possible *and* the finished project should keep intact the largest possible pieces of the uniforms. I knew for sure I needed to cut the front and backs of all three pieces apart, so that’s where I started.
After that, I did a lot of tetris too get the pieces to fit just right. The final arrangement on the first side:
I really love the layout here, but it leaves some gaps in the background. I grabbed a scrap rectangle of one of the Riley Blake pieces I had in my stash to create a subtle and cute background print.
For the other side, I chose similarly – one large piece from each uniform, but I actually used two smaller sections from the green vest to make a larger square that shows off its front and back at the same time. You just want to be careful not to put anything too close to what will be the edge of the pillow – we are going to need to sew the edges! This required some additional creative moving. I finally found an arrangement that I liked for both sides:
bust out the sewing machine
Next, I sewed. Just straight up sewed all over both sides to attach each piece to the canvas, in some cases to each other, and to tuck in all edges and layers. I did all this with clear thread, which is a lifesaver. This is the exact product I use:
Then, face both sides together (this is the last chance to fix anything!)
And sew almost all the way around, leaving a gap on one side. At first I only left enough for my arm to fit, but quickly learned that I needed to leave much more room for turning and stuffing due to all the stiffness of the patches. Your project will vary. Reinforce the ends of your stitching, and then turn it all right side out. Be sure to poke the corners out as much as they’ll go. You can see here that I also made sure all the pin backs were through to the inside of the pillow for extra stability.
Then stuff the pillow in! Make sure to push the corners of the pillow form as far into the corners of the case as possible.
Eek – but then you’re left with this big ugly hole! You might think it would make sense to leave the big ugly hole at the bottom, but we’re going to finish it so nicely that it won’t matter. 🙂
Use an invisible ladder stitch and a big sturdy needle to close it up. Here I used some green and then some tan thread, but it really doesn’t matter if you do a good ladder stitch! I really love this great tutorial video from Wendy at Shiny Happy World.
I know that J1 & J2 will love this project they can treasure forever.
You can make a pillow from a scout vest too! I want to see yours – please share them in the comments below, or in our facebook group.