Shirt to Pillow Tutorial

Have special T-shirt’s from concerts or sports that no longer fit? Missing loved ones? Create a pillow from their shirt to hug tight.


Choose a pillow insert size 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 square 2 inches smaller than my pillow form.

Why? It will help the pillow to appear “stuffed” and not too flat.

If you don’t have a cutting mat I suggest using a paper bag or piece of wrapping paper to create a square as your template.

Repeat with the back side of the shirt to create another 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.

You can see the open side here which makes it easy to test the fit. If you are happy with the fit it’s time to sew the pillow closed.

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 style is super easy but doesn’t allow for the cover to be removed to wash it.

You can make an envelope flap closure to slip the insert in and out. I chose that method on this pillow and will share a tutorial later. It’s my favorite solution if not using a button down or zippered item.

You can use a button down to your advantage. Simply sew the sides, top and bottom then unbutton to place pillow inside.

A zippered shirt? You can use the zipper to unzip and place the pillow inside same as with the button down.

Hope this gives you lots of ideas!! Try it for yourself or contact me to create it for you!



Laurel Dane Designs, LLC

DIY Blogger, Personal Organizer and Designer

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