Upcycle from Shirt to Pillow Tutorial

Kalissa was showing me some of the pictures of Carver’s preschool class that his teacher had sent.

I looked through the pictures.  They were so cute.  But, as I was looking I noticed in the nap time pictures, all of the other kids had pillows but Carver didn’t.  Hmm.  I asked Kalissa about it.

She looked through the pictures and saw that I was right.  She didn’t know he was supposed to have a pillow so hadn’t sent one.  I decided to get on that and make him one.


You might remember that I made this quilt for Carver for his preschool napping blanket.  If you want to know more about the quilt check out THIS blog post.

I wanted something quick and wanted something that would coordinate with his quilt.

We live very rural and getting a pillow form would be the easiest but that was an hour’s drive to get one so I ended up getting this pillow at the thrift store.  It’s a half-sized pillow perfect for preschool.

I took it home and washed it with hot water and dried it in a hot dryer.

The pillow was too puffy so I opened it up at the seam and took out about 1/4 of the stuffing.

Then I sewed it back up.

I bought a shirt at the thrift store too.  It is blue even though the picture makes it look black.  I wanted red but they didn’t have any red plaid shirts so blue was the next best choice to match his quilt.

I took the shirt and I…Cut it off just under the armpits.

I took a seam ripper and removed the pocket.


I used a rotary cutter and cut both of the side seams off.


I measured the pillow and then added 1 1/2″ to each measurement.  I left the front of the shirt buttoned and then cut the front fabric to those measurements.  I tried to position it so that the buttons from the shirt weren’t situated so that they would be in the seam allowance when I sewed the front and back together.  I cut a piece the same size from the back of the shirt.


The shirt front where the shirt buttons up would gap so I made sure to pin that area down well.  With the right sides together I used a 1/4″ seam allowance and sewed around the entire rectangle.

I trimmed the corners and turned it right side out.


I stuffed the pillow form inside and buttoned the pillow up.


It’s perfect and will match Carver’s quilt perfectly.


Here is the backside where the pillow buttons together.


I am SUPER pleased with it and I just know Carver is going to love it.  The cover comes off easily for washing.

The pillow took me 15 minutes to make.  If I was making it without having to take the pictures, I am sure it would only take me 10 minutes max.

Best yet, the pillow was $1 and the shirt was $2.  So that turned out great too.

I’m so glad I could quickly make this and Carver will have a pillow for school.  I’ll be making one in the same style for Gannon next year and if Georgie needs one I’ll make one for her too.  It was so easy and turned out just perfect.

15 thoughts on “Upcycle from Shirt to Pillow Tutorial

  1. Candy

    Jo, that’s my favourite way to back pillows … I think it’s the cutest (and easiest)! Carver will love it!

    Reply
  2. Kate

    Carver is so fortunate to have you for his grandma!! The pillow is really cute and so fun looking. Your other grands will love having one too. Thanks for sharing a tutorial.

    Reply
  3. Judith Fairchild

    What a great idea!!!! Such a comfortable pillow for nap time. You are a good .momma and grandma. Keep strong and happy.

    Reply
  4. Cathy K

    What a super idea! And I’m so jealous that you can still get thrift store shirts for $2. Here in Utah the thrifts charge $8.49-$12.49. Sometimes I can find them on sale for half price (but they’re always the dregs). Whenever I travel, I’m always looking for thrift store cotton shirts!

    Reply
  5. NJ

    My front porch bench usually has pillows on it from thrift stores or garage sales. Sometimes I cover them & sometimes they’re perfect just the way they are. Recycle, recycle !

    Reply
  6. Darlynn Venne

    you are the best grandma. i will never be a grandma….3 boys….none want children….ugh well, i still love to read grandma stories and dream………………………

    Reply
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