My oldest recently lost his first tooth. He discovered it was loose on a Sunday morning and by Monday morning it was out. I don’t remember losing teeth that fast when I was a kid, but I do remember the little white satin tooth pillow my mom made to put our teeth in under our pillows (and that we later retrieved quarters from). At the time, I thought it was just something fun we did, but now on the other side, I see how functional the tooth pillow is. Baby teeth are tiny and I don’t see how you could find one again between a pillow and rumpled bed linens if not for putting them in something a great deal larger.
And so, I set out to make my own tooth pillow.
This is a great project for using up fabric and ribbon scraps because the pillow really isn’t that large. I happened to be cutting up for napkins some of the Mister’s button-up shirts in need of retirement, so I had some scraps laying around that the boys liked. Of course, the traditional choice would be white which would look particularly nice in a satin or velvet, especially because you wouldn’t need much fabric, so it wouldn’t cost much.
pattern (download here)
stuffing (one large handful)
basic sewing supplies (iron + ironing board, thread, needle, sewing machine)
1. Download the pattern and cut out the tooth. Cut two teeth from the main fabric by stacking or folding the fabric wrong-sides together, pinning in place with the pattern, and cutting. The pattern is not symmetrical so it is important to not cut two teeth with fabric facing the same way or they won’t match up when you sew the pillow together. Trim the ribbon to the width of the top edge of the pocket, per the pattern. Trim the top of the pattern off so just the pocket is left and cut one pocket out of the coordinating fabric.
2. Press all pieces flat. Take the pocket and with the wrong-side up, fold over 1/4-inch on the top edge, press in place, then fold over again and press. Stitch the folds in place. Now align the top edge of the ribbon with the top edge of the pocket, pin in place, and stitch across the top and bottom edge of the ribbon to attach to the pocket.
3. With the pocket right-side facing, determine which tooth piece it matches best with and lay it in place as it would look when finished, with both right-sides facing up. Now place the other tooth piece, wrong-side facing up, on top of the other pieces. Check for correct alignment and once it’s aligned, pin in place.
4. Stitch around the tooth, back-stitching at the beginning and end, leaving a 1 1/2 to 2-inch opening on one side to stuff the pillow. Turn the pillow right-side out and fill with stuffing, making sure to get it well into all the corners (try using the eraser end of a pencil). Using a needle and thread, sew closed the opening.
Just days before E discovered his loose tooth, I overheard my mom telling him that his cousin got two whole dollars from the tooth fairy, so of course he remembered this when it came time to put the tooth pillow to use. This tooth-losing business could be pretty lucrative for the boys. I have a friend who gives cash for the first tooth and Hot Wheels for all the other teeth and I have a different friend who gives fifty-cent pieces. What are your tooth fairy traditions?