Is it Bert & Ernie, or Ernie & Bert?

A few years ago I was over the moon, getting ready to have my first baby in *ahem* 15 years. Needless to say, I was excited to dive into decorating the nursery. The crafty bug hadn't bit me too hard yet so I decorated the room with matchy-matchy store bought d├ęcor, which ain't cheap.

However, the craftier I became, the more my store-bought nursery set looked really lame. I knew I was going to have to ditch this stuff and hand-craft a room. But, where to start? A theme.... Sesame Street! I love and trust children's programming on PBS so my kids are BIG fans. I did a quick search online to see what was available. I was looking for any Sesame Street-branded raw items - fabric and such - that I would need to create the perfect room for my boys. That's when I got a bit deflated.

You would think that a show as popular and beloved as Sesame Street would have lots of licensed materials for me to use. Not so much. Now I'm not saying that there wasn't any fabric out there, because there was. There just wasn't much of it and the styles were wrong. My creative vision was Martha Stewart meets Sesame Street and all I could find was sort of pastel with muddled design. The graphic designer in me wanted clean, simple, and bold colors. That's when I knew, I had to take matters into my own hands.

I decided to use colorful fabrics as a base to convey the feeling of Sesame Street. Then I would add the beloved characters to the fabric using embroidery, felt, and whatever else worked. Now, this room is still in process...but well on it's way. The first project that I'm going to introduce to you are the Ernie & Bert throw pillows.

Ernie & Bert Throw Pillows

Using one of my absolute favorite patterns, the Flange Pillows from the French General Home Sewn book by Kaari Meng, I got started. Little pillows like these are a great way to add a pop of a bright color in the room so I chose a yellow fabric, orange grosgrain ribbon trim and an awesome polka dot pattern for the back. For the character design, I went out to and found some coloring sheets* to use as embroidery patterns, for free! How awesome is that? Using transfer paper, I traced my characters onto the yellow fabric (one Ernie and one Bert.) Then I cut the fabric to the correct size for the pillow front - ensuring that the design was centered - and got my hand-stitch on. I used red embroidery floss with a simple chain stitch for the images.

The directions for the pillow pattern were simple and well illustrated. I had them sewn up in a snap. This is why I love that book! If you don't own it... do yourself a favor and buy it. Home Sewn includes so many basic (but stylish) patterns that you will find yourself referring to it over and over again. I love these little pillows, they're the perfect size for my little guy's head and I think they're the perfect canvas for Ernie & Bert.

If you're interested in doing some simple embroidery like this, I highly recommend the book Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living by Alicia Paulson, which Alex and I reviewed last week. It's a great instructional manual and will give you all the basic technique you need to get started.

I will share more of the Sesame Street room here and there, and eventually I will give you a grand tour. Talk to you soon!


*The beauty of coloring sheets as embroidery patterns is that they're already, by nature, simple, graphic line drawings. No editing necessary.