For the eighth day of A Gift a Day, I made an embroidered pillow for Elsa.

I printed out her name in a font that I liked. If you are looking for some new fonts, check out for free fonts that you can download to your computer. I printed her name really large, at size 200.

I cut two pieces of muslin 13″ square to make the pillow.

I cut a piece of linen/cotton blend fabric 13″ square for the front of the pillow. I cut two pieces for the back of the pillow, 13″ wide and different lengths the make them overlap across the back. Check out this tutorial on how to make an envelope pillow cover.

I lined up the piece of paper with Elsa’s name on it under the front piece of the pillow cover and traced it with a washable Mark-B-Gone pen. I then embroidered her name using two strands of embroidery thread. The entire name is embroidered in stem stitch.

When I was done embroidering it, I rinsed the marker from the fabric with water to make it disappear.

If you’re new to hand-embroidery, check out some stitch tutorials I’ve put together on my Embroidery board on Pinterest.

Embroidered Pillow


1/4 yard fabric for pillow (I used cotton muslin)

1/3 yard fabric for cover (I used a linen/cotton blend)


embroidery thread (one or two skeins, depending on the length of the name)

batting for the pillow


sewing machine
embroidery hoop

Mark-B-Gone washable pen (these are cheapest at Walmart, but you can also find them at Joann’s; look for a sale on the notions wall. However, Walmart’s regular price is less than a 50% off sale at Joann’s)



The total time for one pillow is about 30 minutes if you don’t embroider it. I spent several hours doing the embroidery work at night before I constructed anything.



I reused batting from a project I made as a child. I purchased the fabric on sale years ago; the muslin was on sale for $2 a yard and the linen/cotton blend was $7 a yard on sale.

You can use any fabric, however, to make these. You could use an old top sheet to make the pillow and the cover. As long as the cover fabric is thin, you should be able to see the letters to trace through it.

You can cut the batting from an old, worn pillow to make this pillow.  If you do these two things the only thing you’ll need to purchase is the embroidery thread.

Did you make any gifts today? What did you make?

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  1. I buy Christmas fabric when it is marked down after the New Year and make envelope pillow covers (with pillows) for gifts. Added bonus: If it is someone I want to give other gifts to I can make other covers so they can switch it out over the course of the year.

  2. wow. Your hand embroidery looks more perfect than a machine! Gorgeous! I crocheted a scarf over the weekend~ not quite done, but nearly.I have two questions for you if you have a moment~1) Do you make mostly handmade gifts for your extended families too? Do you exchange gifts at all with them? One side of my family enjoys handmade gifts especially, my husbands’ side of the family think they are a cop-out and not ‘good gifts’ because they didn’t cost a lot of money. Do you experience this ever and if so, how do you handle it?2) I have a woman at church yesterday who is in her late 60’s and the sweetest woman I know. We were talking and Christmas came up in the discussion and she let is slip that there will be no Christmas for them this year. “Which, of course, is FINE for Ralph and I (her husband) but it makes me terribly sad we can’t give anything to our children or grandchildren.” she said. I have been wracking my brain for ways to help her, without stepping on her toes. Maybe give her some ideas? Some fabric? She made pillowcases for each of her relatives last year which stinks because that would have worked well for this year! 😉 Any suggestions?

  3. Rebecca,Machine embroidery is an attempt to copy hand-embroidery, and hand-embroidery work is actually superior to machine embroidery in many aspects, especially when it comes to things like bullion roses. If you look at old-pieces of hand embroidery work, you’ll find that it is much nicer than machine embroidery. I have some amazing pieces of old hand-embroidery work that were done in generations past, and they are really works of art. Hand-made lace is another item that is the same way; machine-made lace cannot even come close to the beauty that is hand-made bobbin lace.For your questions: On my husband’s side of the family I have 45 or so nieces and nephews, including great-nieces and nephews who are the ages of my own children. We do not exchange gifts with his side of the family; it is much too large. They have wanted to do some children’s-only gift swaps the last few years (not something they did in the past) even though all of the families were struggling financially. Dh and I said no. They still did it; we left before that (they did it late, starting at 8 pm, which would have made for cranky children if we had stayed that late and stayed another hour or two while they did it). We were really surprised that they suggested it when so many were struggling and out of work. Those years we were already not buying anything at all for our own children and only giving gifts from things I had on hand.My in-laws have given the children $10 each for Christmas each year.My side of the family is much smaller (no nieces and nephews and I have one sibling). My parents and grandma live right by us. My brother has chosen to bring gifts to my children; they are more than I can afford to give my own children, but he doesn’t have children and he wants to buy things for them, so he has me make a wish list for them and he picks from there. They usually put Legos on that list 🙂 If my brother is in town I give him apricot jam. I did that one year and he actually thought it was amazing, and he has requested it ever since. He doesn’t usually give a gift to me since he is giving to my children, but he did give me something a couple of years in the past.My parents give us gifts. Last year we requested an experience gift from them and they did that; we were thrilled. My children said they would rather go do something than have more presents. They bought tickets for all of us, including them, to go to a small aquarium here in town. This year they bought tickets for a performance of some type (that’s all I know about it :)). We have sometimes given my parents nothing and other times were give them home-canned goods, because that’s what I can afford. I did give my mom a pair of earrings last year that I made; she really liked them and that was even less money than the jam ($0.15!).My grandmother has not used the things that we gave her, even though they were things that she said she liked. Right now the only thing she cares about it puzzles and candy. Nothing else interests her. I have bought her a 1000 piece puzzle at a garage sale for $1 the last few years.For your friend–send her over to my site! Perhaps she can make some bookmarks for her children and grandchildren (those subway-art style ones where she tells each family member what she loves about them would mean more than she can imagine) or some coupons for time with grandma (One date with grandma and grandpa) and the children can come play a board game with her, cook something with her, or learn a skill with her, such as knitting, sewing, or painting. My own children would rather have time with their grandparents than any other gift.

  4. Thank you! I appreciated your response (and I totally agree about the hand-work versus machine work in pretty much all areas…quilting, embroidery, lacework, etc. It is superior in every way. I only said that because MY embroidery LOOKS like hand-embroidery 🙂 (I am not as skilled as you are!) and yours looks professional. Very impressive.Thank you for the answers to my questions. She is not a big internet person, but I have already made a list of things you have been making/made in the past to pass along to her! You are a wonder. Unfortunately, the ‘time with grandparents’ factor is not as easy for her since her grandchildren are a few states away. As you said, though, PERSONAL is the best anyway. I was also thinking of her copying down some of their family recipes for them, especially their cultural dishes. That would be so special. Have a wonderful day!

  5. I love your embroidery work. I have never done this before but am interested to learn. My daughters are 26 and 31 y/o. I would love to make them each a beautiful pillow case or pillow. After trying to find patterns on line for alphabets, trying to find beautiful lettering like the one you have for Elsa, I decided that I ask where you found the pattern ? It is beautiful Brandy. Thank you for sharing.Patty from Washington~~

  6. Patty,I just traced a font from the computer. You can download many pretty fonts for free at and There are more places as well if you don’t like the fonts you have on your computer.I have more success finding letters I like by looking through fonts than I do by looking through old alphabets for embroidering. If you just want letters (no flowers in the middle) this works well.

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