Making Monsters!

It seems so long ago that Upcycled Fashion teamed with WESST to teach product development to 22 ladies here in rural NM.

As the director of Upcycled Fashion, I have spent years thinking through the most efficient way to create a design. We think about time (less time more money for our ladies per item), and what makes our products stand out as professional with attention to detail? So, in the Earn to Learn program, I decided as a teacher, I should also be a student.

Here is my very first two attempts at the Monster Tooth Fairy Pillows.

My intention was not to make a monster pig! Note to self, stretchy material is not appropriate for these little guys. After about 10, I found what is the quickest assembly, and a big duh, the pocket goes in the back.


  1. It takes some skill to appliqué circles quickly and consistently, practice, practice, practice! Soon the slight manipulation of the fabric and controlling sewing speed will be natural.
  2. Another discovery, sewing buttons on with the machine takes about 4 seconds. I just wasn’t use to machine sewing buttons. I think of the lost hours I painstakingly hand sewed them on. We will have a tutorial on that later.
  3. Another tip, change the color of the thread and accent the button.
    For example, use black thread on a green button to create more contrast.
  4. Additionally, which fill we use makes a difference in getting just the right fluffiness. Being Upcycled Fashion, we thought recycled! But, we decided to compromise. It is more important to recycle all we can, AND still have a product our fans love. (We use a simple Poly-Fill).
  5. Regarding stuffing, our favorite tool is this surgical tool. The Poly-Fill comes with a stick, uggghhh. The clamps help fill perfectly down to these little monster toes.
  6. This little guy asked if he could learn to make one out of his pillowcase. We love teaching! So, he made one for himself and one for his 4 year old cousin (I sewed, he picked colors, buttons, and stuffed them). He has become an expert at turning them right side out and stuffing, so much so, that he helped make a dozen more.

Market research was important. We have taken hundreds of Monster Tooth Fairy Pillows to shows and the little ones let us know their preference. They like the little toes because they feel cool. Fabrics with textures were a hit. They have been a great grow with you toy. Most kids just liked lots of color. Some of the boys really liked camouflage. Some people bought them for their adult friends…

Here are some samples of what we have lately.



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