Want to kick back and read a book or watch a movie on your gadget? Need a helping hand while you munch on popcorn? After struggling with my Kindle Fire’s leather case to sit at a comfortable angle, I discovered the perfect solution that works beautifully for me – the pillow tablet stand. This handy little resting place works great for phones, pads or tablets and readers of all sizes. Best of all, this is a breeze to make!
The pattern consists of one 12×18” piece of fabric sturdy enough for stuffing and everyday wear. If you want the stand to have a flexibility like a bean bag chair that can somewhat mold to the form it’s holding, or to the form where it’s resting, such as your lap, the stand can be stuffed with sand, beans or crushed walnut shells. Or if you want a more firm stand it can be stuffed with fiberfill. But keep in mind, if you use a lighter stuffing, you must also add some type of weight like a rock to keep the stand anchored; and if a rock is used, it’s best to pad the bottom of the stand with a piece of cardboard cut to fit as a base. I preferred to use the crushed shells I had left from the Nutty Pillow-Style Pin Cushion project, so no weight or cardboard base was necessary.
Now, if you’re not allergic to nuts the only thing bad about crushed walnut shells, as I discovered, is that they acquire a stale odor when stored in an air-tight plastic tub. I was aware that the odor would eventually dissipate, but I didn’t want a stinky stand in the mean time, so I added a tablespoon of Gain® Fireworks Scent Enhancer that quickly neutralized the stale odor along with adding a lasting, lovely scent to the room. I then realized, no matter what you use as a fill, a fresh scent from laundry aids like a dryer sheet, or perhaps a few dried sprigs of lavender or other potpourri will create an excellent air freshener. It’s also easily replaced in the future if it’s stuffed into the front “pillow rest” where it can easily be opened and stitched again. (Next time, with this in mind, I might try a Velcro fastener to close the front end.)
When something is this simple, I can’t help but add embroidery somewhere. I stitched on a few small flowers but it didn’t seem to be enough. I wasn’t happy with the button I’d first used to embellish the back side and by the time I’d decided to add more embroidery it had already been assembled. What to do? My solution came in the form of a 3D freestanding lace (FSL) design. If you choose to do the same you will find more instructions for FSL in my blog post What Makes A Design FSL?
- Fat Quarter or ½ yard of cotton fabric
- Tear-Away stabilizer
- Optional: 1 button, about 3/4”
- Optional: heavy water soluble stabilizer for Free Standing Lace embellishment
- Stuffing: 6 cups crushed walnut shells (or 1 bag polyester fiberfill with rock or other weight).
- 2 plastic shopping bags (unnecessary if using fiberfill)
- Rubber band
- Optional: 1 Tablespoon Gain® Fireworks or other scent booster
- 40 WT thread
3D Flowers by Wind Bell Embroidery SKU: WBE01-WBE0350A_010
Gather materials and choose thread colors. Cut fabric to 18” long and 12” wide. Do not count the salvage in the measurement, but it can be left to secure the seam, as explained in Step 4. Stitch a sample of the small flower design to use as a placement template; mark around the inside of the hoop prior to removing the hoop and cut away excess to create the template.
Mark design placement as seen in the illustration at right. If you’d like to embroider on the front pillow rest find the center of the fabric about 9” from each side, and up about 2” from the end. If you’ve chosen to make a larger or smaller size stand, you can determine a balanced placement on the back of the stand: with right sides together, fold lengthwise (matching up edges of print; do not include salvage). Pin a few places along the length and along the back side, and then turn right side out for a general idea of how it will be assembled. Lay the sample template on the fabric where you want the flower to stitch, fold back the template to find the approximate center, and then mark the spot, using chalk, pencil, crossed pins, or Target Stickers. Turn and remove pins. Measure from the fabric printed edge to the marked design center, and use this measurement to mark placement for the opposite side.
Pin the template so that the center of the design is positioned over the marked X. The template should be pinned on the mark in the direction it will stitch. Hoop fabric with one sheet of stabilizer, and place the hoop so that the template is sitting inside. Remove the template and embroider design. Do the same with the remaining designs.
Stitch bottom seam. With right sides together, match up the printed edges and fold the salvage over to create a secured seam; this will add protection against wear and keep any loose fill or weights you may have used from pushing through the stitches. Press, pin and stitch a 3/8 ” seam to close.
Stitch back seam 5/8″.
Turn and lay open with the bottom seam at center. With the no seam side up, fold down the back to the shape of a diamond as seen in image.
Stitch the bottom flap. Fold the outside tip of the diamond to the inside about half-way to meet at the diamond’s center and mark along the fold, and then stitch along mark. My seam resulted about 2” from the outside tip.
Fill one shopping bag with 6 cups of crushed walnut shells or other heavy fill like craft sand and close top with a rubber band, leaving enough room in the bag to allow movement of fill and flexibility. Trim away the top of the plastic bag, leaving about a 2-3” excess; set the portion that is cut away to the side. If you would rather use fiberfill, no bag is necessary, however, at this point you will need to add a rock or other heavy item at the center bottom to add weight and keep the stand stable.
Stuff the filled shopping bag into the opening of the stand with the top excess of the bag tucked up into the back top tip. Push it in as far as possible and pin about 3″ up from the open edge to hold back the stuffing while sewing the closing seam; pin along open edge to keep one side from shifting while you work and if preferred, mark a line as a guide where you will stitch.
Stitch the closing seam. Setting an object under the filled part of the stand will help as you guide the bag slowly to stitch the seam. Stitch another seam across about ½” away from the closing seam. This will result in the ditch where the bottom of the tablet rests.
Make the plastic bag filler for the front pillow rest. Cut a rectangle portion about 14×6” from the plastic you had set aside. Lay across the area to be stuffed for the resting pillow. Spread about ½ cup of filler across the strip. If you want to add a scent, sprinkle about a tablespoon of scent booster across the top. Wrap and tape on each end to encase the fill. Roll the remaining plastic bag up and tape together with the first plastic roll; cut away the excess. Or you can alternately stuff with fiberfill.
Fold in the ends of the stand, leaving 2” from the outside closing seam to the fold and press. Stuff and stitch to close along the edge.
Fold up and tack the flap to the bottom back of the stand and add button to create a holder for a tablet stylus.
Step 14 (optional):
Stitch the 3D FSL design on a heavy water soluble stabilizer like Badgemaster. Rinse and lay on a paper towel to dry. Lift the smaller section of petals just a little with your finger tip to keep them from sticking to the paper towel and they will naturally curl upward as they dry. Assemble the two sections of petals with a dot of fabric glue. Tack the assembled 3D flower to the back of the stand with a few stitches; you can also add a few dots of glue to help hold it in place.
Digitizer Moonlight Design Embroidery Digitizing
Images © 2014 EmbroideryDesigns.com – B. Landsberger