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December 6, 2017

how to make a security pillow (a.k.a. topponcino) for baby

How to make a security blanket (a.k.a. topponcino)
Before you get any wild thoughts - no, I don't have a baby. Nor am I expecting! Nor am I ever going to have kids, but that is an entirely different blog post. My brother and sister-in-law, however, just brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. He's amazing. He's cute, and has chubby lil' legs, and even though I haven't met him in person (yet!), I can tell the world is a little better of a place with him in it. I sewed this topponcino for him just a few weeks before he arrived, along with some washable covers. I'll be honest, though - I still don't totally have a grasp on what a topponcino is.
Topponcino pattern
Topponcino - it sounds like a drink you'd get at Starbucks, right? If anything, this might be the opposite of a latte. It's to make baby feel secure as they are passed from one adult to another. They're supposed to sleep in it always, so that is smells of them, thus creating a safe space. And there's definitely no caffeine. The topponcino is used in the Montessori Method of child-rearing (which is basically a no-frills/more adventures method of raising kids). You can buy them off of Etsy, but they're so easy to make at home. I did some research before I started this project (here and here), and here's the method I took:

What you'll need to make a montessori topponcino


  • Unbleached muslin fabric - 1 yard
  • Organic cotton batting - 1 yard
  • Cotton fabric (for cover) - 1/2 yard
  • Trim (optional; for cover) - 1 yard
  • Embroidery thread and needle
  • Sewing machine and notions
Let's start with the pillow:
DIY topponcino | Step 1
First, I cut a pattern from a large piece of paper. The pattern was a 25" by 16" rectangle, with the corners rounded. 
From this pattern, I traced and cut five shapes from the muslin fabric, and six shapes from the cotton batting. I then cut two additional two from the muslin, which I set aside for the cover. 
DIY topponcino | Step 2
Next, I aligned all the pieces on top of one another, starting with batting, and alternating between muslin and batting, ending in batting. I pinned these layers in place.
DIY topponcino | Step 3
By hand, I stitched along the edges of the pillow insert, using a hemming stitch. I didn't necessarily stitch through every layer for each stitch, but rather just the edges of the top and bottom layers, bundling them all together in the process. 

Next, take the remaining two shapes cut from muslin fabric, and lay them on top of one another. Pin, and stitch along the sides, leaving a gap on one end. Turn inside out. Roll up the pillow insert, then through the gap, insert the pillow into the cover. Hand-stitch the pillowcase closed.  I totally forgot to photograph this part, so hopefully this all makes sense1
DIY topponcino | Step 4
To keep the insert from shifting in the pillowcase, use embroidery floss to hand-stitch at give or six points in the pillow. I threaded my needle, tied the ends of the floss, then stitched through the pillow from the front to the back. I then tied the threads on the other side, and cut the threads after the knot.
DIY topponcino cover | Step 1
Now to the cover:
Using the same paper pattern as before, cut one shape from a soft cotton fabric. Next, cut the paper pattern down, slicing a quarter off one of the short ends. Cut two shapes from the now altered paper pattern. The picture above shows what you should end up with. 
DIY topponcino cover | Step 2
Pin the pieces together as follows: Largest piece laying face up, smaller pieces laying face down. Sew along all edges, then turn right-side out. This is an envelope-style pillow cover, so you will insert the pillow in through the back, with the smaller pieces overlapping. Add trim along the top if desired. 
Keep baby happy in this Montessori-style topponcino
How I made a topponcino for my new baby nephew
I am dying to meet my nephew. I won't be able to see him until the spring, so until that time arrives, I plan on spoiling him from afar.

- m.e.

P.S. A pattern for a sweet crocheted blanket to keep baby warm.


  1. Very clever idea! It's indeed a useful gift. We have a granddaughter coming soon so this would be great. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Congratulations on your new granddaughter, and have fun sewing!

  2. Exceptionally shrewd thought! It's for sure a helpful blessing


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