Tutorial: Recycled T-Shirt Pillow

Lazies, I made a pillow. It was fun, a little different, and I love it. My nephew asked me to make a pillow out of a treasured t-shirt. After giving it some thought, I made a recycled t-shirt shaped pillow. This is just a fun, novelty pillow. It’s not going to win any awards, except maybe Favorite Aunt. I’d like to thank the Academy…

Recycled T-Shirt Pillow Overview

Here we go. This is a picture of Tinsel, my nephew’s standard poodle. She’s a cutie with that fun burst of color from the hanky around her neck.

pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

Here’s where we landed. I cut off a few inches at the bottom and ‘borrowed’ it to filled in the neck hole, then sewed the arm holes closed after stuffing the pillow.

pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

The Tinsel t-shirt pillow is really snuggly. That soft knit fabric makes a great pillow. Here we are taking a selfie. Tinsel left me out of the picture.

pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

Free Tutorial for Recycled T-Shirt Pillow

Wash and press shirt if needed. If it has an iron-on transfer like this shirt, press from the wrong side and protect the image with a pressing cloth between the layers.
Turn the t-shirt wrong side out, flatten and straighten.
Cut a few inches off of the bottom to fill in the neck hole. I cut just below Tinsel’s picture.

pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

Here are my stitch settings on my BERNINA 740.
I used the #2 zigzag stitch, set to 1.2 width and 2.25 length.
A narrow zigzag like this will allow the stretchy t-shirt material to stretch and not break stitches.
Use these settings for all stitching on this project.

zigzag stitch settings for pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

Use a stretch needle for sewing through stretchy knits. Hello SCHMETZ Needles, I can always count on you and you never let me down.

special stretch needles for sewing on t-shirt

Leave t-shirt wrong side out.
Flatten the t-shirt at the neck hole.
Optional, add some double sided sewable tape to the neck ribbing.double sided sewing tape on t shirt neck hole

Use a piece of the cut-off portion to cover the neck hole.
If the cut-off piece isn’t large enough to cover the hole, sew pieces together to make it big enough or use a complementary piece of fabric.

pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

Add a few pins on the right side of the project.
Then from the right side, stitch around the neck hole close to the edge of the ribbing.
Remove pins as you sew.
After stitching, trim away excess fabric from the wrong side.pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

With wrong side out, flatten the shirt again and pin along the cut edge at the bottom.
I added a piece of narrow grosgrain ribbon to stabilize the seam.

pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

The ribbon is resting on top of the project. The pins only go through the t-shirt.
Stitch through all layers, remove pins as you sew.

stitch ribbon into seam to help stabilize a stretchy knit on a pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

Turn the t-shirt right side out.
Flatten the sleeves and stitch one of them closed.
I did two rows of stitching to be on the safe side.

pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

Finish – Stuff and Sew Closed

I used poly-fil to stuff the pillow through the remaining sleeve.
Make sure to use a filling that won’t beard or work its way through the fabric.
Then stitch that sleeve closed just like we did for the first sleeve.
Enjoy the soft, cuddly, pinchy, lovable goodness of your t-shirt pillow.
PS: My nephew LOVES his poodle t-shirt pillow, and Tinsel sleeps on it at night.

More Recycled T-Shirt Projects

Looking for more ways to use your favorite old t-shirts? Check out our Becca Bag project here.

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pillow made from a recycled t-shirt

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