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T Shirt Pillow

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Learn how to turn a sentimental t-shirt into a comfy pillow with this sewing tutorial. Designer Jane Skoch likes to make T-shirt quilts and use a few extra t-shirts for matching pillows.

See this project and more T-Shirt sewing projects in 9 Ways to Transform Old T-Shirts, a free eBook to download!

T-Shirt Pillow

Materials:

  • 2 t-shirt sides, washed
  • 1 yard of fusible interfacing (Pellon 906F, 911FF)
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for border, washed
  • 18” pillow form

Materials

Notes on Materials:

  • Use a t-shirt front and back or two separate t-shirts.
  • The border fabric can be a contrast or coordinating fabric. I have used polka-dots, tie-dye, and anything that does not have a directional pattern. My pillow fabric is Oxygen from Contemporary Cloth.
  • Prewash the t-shirts and border fabric to preshrink them, especially if they are brand new.
  • It isn’t necessary to use an interfacing specifically designed for knits. The t-shirts will not need stretch for the pillow. The interfacing is added for stability and ease of sewing.
  • Pillow forms are available in many sizes. If you decide to make another size, you will want your completed square to be one inch larger than the pillow form. So if you want to make a 16” pillow, then you will design the square to be 17” before sewing the two sides together.
  • When cutting the t-shirt into a square, I use an Omnigrid that has been custom cut to a 13 ¼” square template. You can make a cardboard template or simply measure and mark a square.

Instructions:

  1. Rough cut square: The application of interfacing can cause the shirt to shrink so I cut a larger square than needed. Place template over the desired area of the t-shirt. Cut the t-shirt out with an extra inch around the edges.

    Rough Cut Square
     
  2. Cut Border Fabric Strips:
    Cut 4 strips 3 ½ x 13 ¼
    Cut 4 strips 3 ½ x 19 ¼

    Cut Border Strips
     
  3. Apply interfacing: Apply the interfacing per the manufacturer’s instructions to the back side of the t-shirt. When I have large areas to fuse, I take an old plastic tub and fill it with water so that I can quickly dampen the hanky I use as my press cloth.

    Apply Interfacing

    Place the t-shirt on your ironing board with the logo side down. Then place the interfacing on, covered by a damp hanky. Fuse using a dry iron. When the hanky stops steaming, the fusing is typically complete.

    Iron

     
  4. Cut the T-Shirts to 13 1/4" Square: I use my Omnigrid to center the t-shirt design and cut using a rotary cutter.

    Cut Square 1

    Cut Square 2
     
  5. Assemble and Sew Pillow Top and Bottom: Pin the shorter border pieces to the top and bottom of the t-shirt.

    Assemble

    Sew or serge using a ¼” seam. Press the stitching line and then press seams toward the border. When pressing, especially from the right side, avoid pressing the t-shirt logo. It can melt!

    Sew and Serge

    Now pin the longer border pieces to the sides of the t-shirt. Sew and press.

    Pin and Sew

    You now have a completed t-shirt block. Repeat for other t-shirt.

    T-shirt Block Finished
     
  6. Prepare the Squares for Sewing: I use a handy tip from "Singer Sewing Step by Step" (what a steal that was! I can't believe I left the price tag on.)

    Singer Sewing Book

    I modify the pillow squares to remove excess fabric in the corners. Fold the fabric into fourths. Mark a point halfway between the corner and the fold on each open side. t the corner, mark a point 1/2" from each raw edge.

    Remove Excess

    Trim from the corner to the center marks.

    Trim Corners
     
  7. Sew the Top to the Bottom: Pin and sew the two squares together using a ¼” seam allowance. Leave an opening in the bottom to insert the pillow form. I usually leave about 10” open.

    Sew Sides

    Leave Opening
     
  8. Turn Inside Out, Press Seams and Press Under 1/4" on open edge.

    Turn inside Out
     
  9. Insert Pillow Form and Hand Sew Opening: Pin the opening closed and sew closed using a slip stitch.

    Insert Pillow Form and Sew

    Sew Close-Up
     
  10. Enjoy your pillow!

    Finished Pillow

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