Saturday, November 19, 2011

Getting cozy with graphic T-shirt pillows

The clothes we choose to wear, our sense of style, lets us express who we are and what's important to us - they tell people a lot before we even open our mouths. In my opinion, few people have a style with T-shirts as my boyfriend. Over the years he's cultivated a wonderfully graphic T-shirt collection from DBH that's uniquely his. Neither of us wanted to part with his treasured T's, even though we agreed it was time to take them out of his wardrobe rotation.  Each T-shirt spoke to him when he bought them, and they still say something to (and about) him today. So I suggested we reuse the textile art and make them into pillows to express his personal sense of style at home.


Sewing T-shirts into pillow requires pretty basic sewing skills - it's mostly straight lines - and requires basic sewing supplies.

Shopping List

  • 14" pillow forms
  • Fusible iron-on interfacing (sheer weight)
  • 7-10" zippers
Each shirt had a small caption in the lower left back
We cut a 15" cardboard square to serve as a template (14" + 1" for a 1/2" seam allowance) and used that to select the best graphics for the shirt.

We really liked how each shirt has a title to the artwork - it's part of the character we wanted to preserve. Here, you can see I saved the label from the back of the shirts to include as the back of the pillow. 

Iron fusible interfacing bolsters wimpy T-shirt fabric
We then ironed on interfacing to the inside of both pieces of fabric. This gives the thin jersey knit of a T-shirt a bit more substance, and helps limit the stretching that we love about T-shirts as clothing - which makes sewing this fabric a lot easier. If you skip the interfacing step your pillow is likely to end up lumpy or misshapen and you'll need to use a knit stitch to allow for some stretching that will otherwise break straight basic seams.

Rotary cutters rock!
We found it necessary to trim again before sewing to get back to a 15" square, this time using the rotary cutter - one of my favorite sewing tools.

We place the two pieces of fabric (front & back) right-sides together. Then, drew a 14" square centered on the fabric to mark our sewing lines. We sewed the bottom first to accomodate the zipper, then sewed each side, followed by the top of the pillow. The order is important to accomodate for any stretch in the knit fabric that might distort your pillow shape.

We managed to whip up 3 this afternoon with great success! Now, if only finding new clothes was this easy...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tip about fusible interfacing - I wouldn't have thought of that. Also love the backside credits - you clever girl!