Transform any t-shirt into a pillow with this quick, 3 step tutorial. This pillow cover is removable for easy washing but doesn’t require sewing a zipper!
Four years ago, I took my oldest daughter to New York City as a special birthday trip. While there, we found this pink graphic tee at H&M. We instantly grabbed it for my youngest daughter, for two reasons:
- My daughters are francophone, and there are hardly any cool shirts in French; and
- My youngest daughters name means “star” and petite étoile means “little star” in English.
Of course, my youngest loved it and wore it all the time, but grew out of it very quickly. While we gave away the rest of the clothes she outgrew, I found it hard to part with this shirt. However, it was useless and taking up space, so I decided to transform this t-shirt into a pillow.
How to Transform a T-Shirt into a Pillow: Supplies
- pillow form
- sewing machine or needle and thread
- pencil or washable ink fabric marker
- fabric pins or clips
Step One: Cutting Your T-Shirt
This was the scariest part. I was afraid that I would ruin the shirt if I messed up. But don’t worry – you can’t screw this simple pattern up.
Lay the pillow form on top of your shirt. If you have a toddler sized shirt, you will need a smaller pillow form. For instance, this shirt was a 4, and I used a pillow similar to one you would receive on an airline. Using your pencil, trace around the outside of the pillow form.
After tracing the front, flip the shirt over and trace the same width but add 4″ to the height/length. After, cut the longer, back portion in half. Here is a diagram to show the cuts I made:
Once your cuts are made, you should have three pieces of fabric – one the width and height of your pillow, and two the width of your pillow but a shorter height, one of which has a hem.
Step Two: Arrange Your T-Shirt Pieces
Lay the front panel, face up, on your working surface. Next, use the piece of shirt with the hem included. Lay it finished side down, with the cut edge aligned with the top of the front panel. The hemmed edge should fall just below the middle of the front panel. Lastly, lay the piece with two cut edges on top, lining one of the cut edges up with the bottom edge of the front panel. The top, unfinished edge, will overlap the hemmed piece by about 2″.
Step Three: Sewing the T-Shirt Pillow
Pin the three layers together using fabric pins or clips. Sew a straight line around all four edges, and then turn the pillow covering right side out. The overlapping edges create an envelope, which allows the pillow cover to be removed for easy washing!
If you are looking for more pillow inspiration, I also created these bloom pillows using the same simple technique. In that case however, I used a canvas drop cloth from the hardware store instead of a t-shirt!
If you create a pillow like this, I would love to see it! Feel free to tag me on instagram – I’m at @simplycraftedlife.