DIY T-Shirt to Pillow Tutorial

Have some special T-shirt’s from concerts or sports that no longer fit? Want to upcycle them into pillows? It is soooo easy!

I took the tee to AC Moore with me to see what size pillow insert would work best. You want one large enough that all of your graphics show. For this project I chose an 18×18 pillow insert. You can find them at Joann’s, Michaels, Hobby Lobby and even Walmart.

The first thing you are going to do is cut along the side seam. I have a cutting mat, quilting ruler and rotary blade. If you don’t have these things just use sharp scissors to cut along the seam to open that side of the shirt.

Flip the shirt over and repeat to cut the other side seam.

Next, carefully cut across the shoulder seam to create 2 pieces.

I measured using my mat to cut a 20×20 square. Why 20×20? It will give plenty of room for seam allowances once sewn. If you don’t have a cutting mat I suggest using a paper bag or piece of wrapping paper to create a 20×20 (or whatever size you use) square as your template.

Repeat with the back side of the shirt to create another 20×20 square.

Place the 2 shirt squares together with the images facing each other. You will pin around the 3 outside edges leaving an opening at the bottom to insert the pillow.

Your pins should look something like this when you are done. You can see that 3/4 of the bottom side is left open- don’t sew it closed. You can sew right over the pins and pull them all out when you are done.

I sewed around the edge the width of the presser foot using a zig zag stitch which is best for stretchy fabrics. Remember to backstitch (sew forward then backwards) at your start and finishing point to keep it tight. If you don’t have a sewing machine you could hand sew or even use StitchWitch and the iron.

Turn it right side out and place the insert inside to check the fit. I would prefer that my pillow cover to be tighter around the pillow form than this.

You can see the open side here which makes it easy to test the fit. If you are happy with the fit skim down to how to sew the pillow closed.

I took it off and sewed around it again. I wanted a tighter fit so I just sewed along the edge of the previous stitch. No need to pin- quick step here. *No big deal to make it smaller- you are only out of luck if you need it bigger*

This time I was happy with the sizing so time to stitch closed the bottom edge.

You’ll need a needle and thread the color of the shirt so it blends.

Pin the edge together and hand sew the opening closed.

Bam!!! T-shirt made into a to pillow! This one is headed back to a Christian Youth Theater in Stanford. Ready to try one?

About Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

Making a house into a home one room at a time.

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