I made this pillow for my little sister a few Christmases ago and after posting the photos on instructables I had a lot of requests for instructions. I made another pillow as a gift for the holiday this year, so here is the fully documented step-by-step!
This pillow can be easily customized for your recipient. I was unsure of my gift reciever's favorite sushi, so I stuck with the standards--cucumber, salmon, tuna, and avocado.
Step 1: Materials
I made my first sushi pillow with a mixture of flannel and felt. I highly suggest using flannel for the dark green, pinks, and red, and using felt for the white, orange, and light green. The second pillow I made was using all flannel, and I had a lot of issues with the white flannel--the felt held its shape so much better and was easier to hand-sew without it looking terrible. The flannel also had the tendency to fray like crazy and pull out of its stitches. The instruction photographs use all flannel, so just keep in mind that you can mix. My recommendations for the fabrics I think work best after making my two pillows are noted in the materials list.
- Sewing Machine
- Tape Measure
- Old pillows or stuffed animals to harvest for their stuffing innards
- 1 yard white felt
- 1 yard dark green flannel (you can use 1/2 yard if you are cheap like I am. You will just have to sew an extra bit onto the end of another piece to reach the length for the outside ring of the pillow.)
- 1/2 yard dark pink flannel
- 1/2 yard red flannel
- 2 sheets orange felt
- 3 sheets light green felt
Step 2: The Big Donut Pieces
I am not at all an accurate, measuring person. If you are this type of person, this might be frustrating for you.
Fold the white fabric in half. Place a very large circular object on the fabric. I used a drum that makes a circle with a 16" diameter. Draw around your object with a marker.
Cut out the circle, cutting through both layers of fabric.
Place a smaller circular object in the center of your white circle--a bowl works great.. An easy way to find the center: take one of your large circles and fold it in half one way, then in half the other to form a pizza-slice shape. Place this slice onto your other large white circle, lining up the outer edge. The point of the pizza slice is the center of your circle. Center your bowl on the point of the pizza slice, gently pull the slice out from underneath, and trace around your bowl with a marker.
Stack the large white circles again and cut out the inner circle of both pieces.
Step 3: Sewing the Big Donut
You will need to do a bit of math to determine the length of fabric to cut for the outside of your sushi roll.
Measure the diameter of your big circle and multiply it by pi to find the circumference of your circle. My diameter was 16", so my circumference is 50 1/4". Add a half-inch onto your circumference for seam allowance (50 3/4" in my case). This is the length to cut your dark green fabric for the outside of your sushi roll.
Cut your dark green piece to be 12" high and the length you calculated earlier. My piece is 12" x 50 3/4". Fold in half hamburger style. Pin and sew the small edge leaving a 1/4" seam to make a big loop of fabric.
Step 4: Attaching a Big White "O"
To attach the first white ring, line up the outer edge of the white ring with the top of your green loop and pin. Work your way around the ring, pinning edge to edge until the white and green are joined the whole way around. Sew.
Step 5: Sewing the Inside
Time for a little more math!
To make the inside of your big sushi donut, measure the diameter of the inner circle of the white ring and calculate the circumference like before. My diameter is 8", so my circumference is 25 1/8." Add a half inch onto your circumference length for seam allowance.
Cut a piece of white fabric 12" high and as long as what you calculates above. Fold hamburger-style, pin, and sew.
Turn the white tube you just made right-side-out. Place it inside the big green sushi, leaving the wrong-side out. Align the top edge of the white tube with the edge of the inner white ring (hopefully the picture helps make sense of that mish-mash of instruction). Pin around the entire edge and sew.
Step 6: The Other "O"
Now we need to attach the other white "o" to our sushi. After sewing, pull the white tube out from inside and lay the sushi on the table. Open the green end and place the white ring inside. As before, line up the edge of the green with the outer edge of the white ring and pin so that the seam will be on the outside (like all the other seams). Sew.
Turn the whole thing right-side-out, pulling the inner white tube up through the center so the whole thing makes a large donut shape.
Step 7: Stuff With Fluff
Time to sacrifice all your old pillows and stuffed animals!
Cut open all the sacrificial stuffing vessels you have collected and rip all the stuffing out. You will need a lot--this pillow and its inner sushi bits need to be quite stiff. Take all the stuffing and make a big pile, pulling apart packed balls of stuffing as much as possible.
Loosely stuff your sushi pillow to give it just a bit of shape. Fill it about half way.
In your non-dominate hand, pinch together the right sides of the white tube and the inner edge of the white ring so that your pinch forms a seam on the inside of the pillow. With a needle and thread, hand-sew the edges together from the inside of the pillow.
Congratulations! That was the hard part. Phew!
Continue all the way around the edge until there are only a few inches left to sew, hiding the seam inside the pillow. Fill the pillow with stuffing, packing it down as you go until the sushi is very stiff. Once it is stuffed with fluff, sew the hole shut.
Massage the stuffing around inside the pillow until it is evenly filled.
MATERIALS NOTE: When I used white felt instead of white flannel, the sushi stayed very firm and in big-donut shape. With the white flannel it folded into a bit more of a triangular opening. The flannel just doesn't hold form at all, where as the stiff felt maintained its shape very well. Whether felt or flannel, once the pillow is full of sushi ingredients it fills out nicely.
Step 8: Salmon Bit
To make a piece of juicy salmon, cut out two circles from the pink flannel. I used the bottom of a drinking glass to determine the size of my salmon, which was about 3 3/4" in diameter, so I cut out a pink 12" x 12" rectangle for the tube of the salmon.
Cut a long strip of light pink fabric 2" wide. Fold down the edges about 1/4" and iron flat. Cut a section of the strip to fit across each circle and two strips to run around the pink tube and pin each strip into place. Sew into place 1/8" from the edge of the light pink strip. After sewing, cut the excess light pink strips from the circles and tube fabric.
Fold the large rectangular piece in half with the light pink bands on the inside so that the ends of the bands are touching (they should line up nicely at the seam). Pin and sew into a tube.
Keeping all the right sides inside the tube, pin one of the pink circles to the end of the tube, lining up the edges as you pin. Sew.
Pin the other pink circle to the other end of the tube and sew, leaving about a 2" opening. Stuff the tube full until it is very stiff. Hand-sew the opening closed and massage the stuffing around inside the pillow so that it is evenly dispersed.
Step 9: Slice of Tuna
For the big hunk of tuna, cut two tall hill-shapes out of the dark pink fabric, about 6 1/2" wide and 4 1/2" tall.
To measure the outside of the shape, run your tape measure all the way around the outside edge of the hill shape. This will be the width of your dark pink fabric rectangle to make the main part of the tuna hunk. Cut a piece of fabric 12" high and as wide as your tape-measure number.
With white thread, sew wavy lines back and forth across the two end tuna shapes and the large rectangle to add a bit of texture.
Fold the large rectangle in half so that the 12" edges match up and sew. Line up the seam on the rectangle with the corner of one of your hills and pin the hill onto the rectangle and sew. Pin the other hill onto the other end, being sure that the flat side of the shape lines up with the flat shape on the other side. Sew, leaving a 2" opening on the flat side of the tuna. Stuff full until very stiff and sew shut. Massage the stuffing around inside until it is evenly distributed.
Step 10: Avocado and Carrot
To make the avocado, cut four strips of light green fabric 12" high and 3 1/2" wide. One at a time, pin the long edge of a rectangle to the long edge of another rectangle and sew until the fabric makes a long, square tunnel.
Cut two light green squares that are 3 1/4" wide. Pin one onto the end of the square tunnel and sew all the way around. Repeat on the other side, leaving an opening for stuffing. Fill the little square pillow with lots of fluff, sew shut, and move the stuffing around inside until it is evenly distributed.
If you would like to also make a carrot slice, repeat all the above steps with orange fabric.
Step 11: Cucumber
Cut two strips of light green fabric that are 12" high and 3" wide. One at a time, pin and sew the long edges of all pieces together to make a long, triangular tube.
Cut two light green triangles that are 3" wide on each side. Pin one triangle onto the end of the triangle tube and sew. Repeat on the other side with the other triangle, leaving one side open for stuffing.
Cut 16 teardrops out of white felt and stitch them to the cucumber with a very small "x" in the center of each. You can also use tacky glue to seal the whole white seed onto the cucumber before stitching. Stuff full very stiff, sew shut, and even out the stuffing inside.
Step 12: FIll Your Roll and Enjoy!
Stuff each sushi ingredient into the big donut and marvel at the beautiful thing you have created!