Wednesday, February 3, 2016

T-Shirt Pillow Tutorial


Several months ago I was at a friend's house and complimented her on a cute pillow on her living room couch. It had pretty, metallic detail that really made it the perfect accessory for the space.  I was looking for a similar pillow at the time, and after being sticker shocked at stores like Pier One,  I was wondering if I would be able to find anything affordable that I liked. 

So, I asked her where she found her pillow. "Oh, I made that one--from an Old Navy tank top!" 
I think some angels began to descend from heaven singing a hallelujah chorus behind her about then and rays of light were shooting out of her head.  Why had I never thought of that?!? I am always repurposing stuff, but it had never occurred to me to use discarded t-shirts to make trendy pillows! Brilliant!

It took me several months to actually get to it, but I finally made my blingy t-shirts into pillows! 

Here's what I did: 

1. These are the two t-shirts I started with. I actually bought the first thinking I would wear it. And I did--once--but I felt like a clown or a jockey the entire time. It was one of those cases of "the model wore it better." 
I found the sequin tank in a bag of discarded clothes a friend was tossing and invited me to rummage through. I grabbed it with a pillow in mind. 

2. Once you have your shirt(s), you'll need pillows. I would just take the shirts to the craft store to make sure they are the right size. I decided to go with a square and a round because of the shapes of the shirts I had. 

3. For square/rectangle pillows: Carefully measure and cut the dimensions recommended on the pillow form package. Since t-shirt material is stretchy, choose the smaller dimension if a range is given. If you don't have dimensions, just measure and add 1" for each side (so a for a 12"x12" square, cut a 13"x13")

 4. For circular pillows, measure the diameter and divide by 2 to get the radius. Add 1/2 inch to that. Cut a string about twice that length, then tie around two pencils so they are exactly the radius+1/2" distance apart with the string taut.

5. Find the center of the garment, and using one pencil as the pivot point on the center, use the other to carefully draw a circle around the garment. (It helps to have someone hold the garment in place as you do this).  Add a few pins to hold the two layers together, then cut out the circle through both layers.

6.  Turn right sides together, and pin around each shape. If you would like to add a zipper (which I NEVER regret doing), the next 5 steps will walk you through how to. 

(I used a separate zipper and fabric to teach this tutorial since a white zipper on white fabric doesn't show up well.)

 7. With the pillow pieces laying right sides together, begin pinning the zipper from the top about 1/2 inch from the edge of the pillow pieces. Right sides of the zipper should be facing the right sides of the pillow pieces. The zipper should just be open a few inches.

 8. Unzip a few more inches of the zipper. 

 9. Continue pinning along the edge of each pillow piece, RST. 

10. Unzip a few more inches, add pins, and continue this until you are at the end of the zipper. 

11. Pin the ends of the zipper below the pull. 
Once you are done pinning, use the zipper foot on your sewing machine and sew 1/4 inch seam allowance along the length of each side of the zipper, removing pins as you come to them. 

12. Zip up the zipper. Sew around the rest of the pillow, taking your stitches all the way up to the metal base and top of the zipper (but leaving room for the pull to swivel). 

*I was pleasantly surprised to learn while doing this project that the sequin fabric was easy to cut and easy to sew! My (not industrial) machine went right over the sequins with no problems!!

Voila! A professional-looking zippered pillow! Now I can easily remove the cover to wash! 

So, the next time you clean out your closet, keep this idea in mind! What you don't want to wear any more may look fabulous as a pillow! 


25 comments:

  1. Love it! So cute. You are so talented!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah! It runs in the family. ;-))

      Delete
  2. I have made pillows from shirt before, but none this cute! Love the sparkle!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks,Pam! These are my first, but I will definitely be looking at discarded shirts differently now!

      Delete
  3. This made me laugh because I totally wanted to buy that metallic polka dot shirt. They look good! My zipper game isn't so good maybe I'll give it another try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! That shirt looks MUCH better as a pillow than it ever did on me! I hope my zipper instruction is helpful to you. I used to be scared of zippers, but after many on-the-job lessons, I'm not!

      Delete
  4. What a great idea! I will definitely be trying this soon :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, Michelle! I'd love to see the results!

      Delete
  5. Great idea! I love re-purposing stuff where possible, I'll keep this idea in mind the next time I'm having a clear out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Me, too. It is fun to look around my house and in my closet at things I could've tossed, but now I use for something new!

      Delete
  6. This is AWESOME!! Thank you for sharing your tutorial with us at #MMBH!!
    xoxo
    www.mrsaokaworkinprogress.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. First let me say I was like nooooo why would she cut up those shirts...then I read, [because after all the post has more than just the pictures] So now I'm OK with you cutting up those shirts. Secondly these pillows are AWESOME!!! You are so right about purchasing these types of pillows in the stores and although Pier One is one of my fav stores, I would never pay full price for one of their pillows so this is the perfect solution! -www.thatblackchic.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Thanks, Michelle! Trust me--that one polka-dot shirt was NOT a good look on me. :) You sound like someone I would enjoy shopping with!

      Delete
  8. Great craft, I love upcycling anything and your pillows are all personality. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am going to do this with a few of my son's t-shirts he outgrew. Thanks for sharing on the Happiness is Homemade Party.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure! Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  10. Well you have managed to inspire me to attempt a pillow cover. I can and do sew but will ALWAYS avoid anything with a zipper but you have made this look very easy so I am definitely going to try it. I LOVE pillows and change them out seasonally and with limited storage space, storing just covers will be much better. Thanks for the great tutorial and inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Bonnie! I was afraid to try zippers for years, but after learning correctly, the fear is gone!

      Delete
  11. This is such a fantastic idea, what do you use for stuffing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I buy pillow forms from the fabric store. Poly-filled ones are usually cheapest. I like feather pillows best, though.

      Delete
  12. This is such a fantastic idea, what do you use for stuffing?

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a great idea--I don't want to tackle a t-shirt quilt, but a pillow seems very doable! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know. custom family reunion Shirts now

    ReplyDelete