Have you read the children’s book called I Had A Favorite Dress? It’s the cutest. In the story, the girl outgrows her favorite dress and turns it first into a new shirt, then a skirt, then a hair bow and so on. The illustrations are my absolute favorite, but the story is just as sweet.
Well, this is a story about Audrey’s favorite t-shirt that became much too small.
We just couldn’t bear to pass it on, so instead we turned it into a pillow.
Full disclosure: this is one of the worst pillows I’ve ever made. And that includes the ones I tried to sew back in college for our first apartment that were misshapen and way too under-stuffed (sorry roommate). The photos make it look a little cuter than it is in real life, but not all projects turn out amazingly and rather than toss it to the side (which I almost did), I’m sharing a project fail in my eyes that my daughter happens to adore. So we’ll keep the wonky, crooked, way too over-stuffed pillow and just remember that sometimes the best project intentions just don’t come out how you imagined them.
I’ll leave some tips at the bottom for how you might improve if you choose to make a pillow out of a beloved t-shirt as well.
Here’s what you’ll need:
t-shirt / fabric for back (I used this from Minted) / piping / pins / scissors / sewing machine / pillow form
Cut t-shirt into square (mine is 12×12)
Cut back fabric into square (again, 12×12)
STEP THREE: MAKE PIPING
- Fold your fabric on the diagonal to cut a bias strip. I used a rotary cutter and straight edge on a cutting mat, but you could mark with a pencil and cut with scissors. Cut a 2 inch strip. The length depends on how large your pillow is. You may need to cut a few strips.
- If you need more than one strip length, sew right sides together of two strips to make one long one.
- Place you piping in the middle of the strip and pin to hold.
- Using a zipper foot (I think that’s what it’s called), sew along the edge of the cording to hold. This is where I didn’t do things quite right because my cording wasn’t super tight. Not sure if I used the wrong foot or what. But you just make it work.
- Pin piping to pillow back.
- Stitch piping onto the pillow back. You can snip into the corners to help make a nice edge.
- Over lap the ends and you’ll get this:
Pin and stitch t-shirt to backing (right sides together and leave a gap in the bottom).
Turn the pillow right-side out and you’ll have this:
Stuff pillow with pillow form (I used a 12×12)
This is where I went way wrong … I should have used a down pillow form because I always like them better and I should have used a smaller size since the shirt fabric is so stretchy and doesn’t hold it all together the way a normal cotton fabric would. The piping feels a little too bulky for the pillow and I didn’t sew a perfect square. It’s just all a bit off.
But then I showed Audrey the finished product and she loved it.
So even though it’s not my best work, it sits proudly on Audrey’s bed declaring that she is made of awesome.
Which she most definitely is. The pillow, however, not so much.
TIPS FOR DOING THIS PROJECT BETTER:
- Make your pillow an inch smaller than the square you cut from the t-shirt. You can’t see it in the photos, but I had to leave a tiny bit of the sleeve/shoulder seam on to get a 12×12 square. I should have gone smaller.
- Learn how to make piping the right way. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but it must have something to do with the sewing machine foot. I need my mom.
- Go for a smaller piping size if you’re doing a mini pillow like this. What I had on hand was a bit overkill and it would have looked better with a smaller piping.
- Use a down-filled pillow form. In a slightly smaller size than the finished pillow.
- Sew a straight line.
Lessons learned. I’m just glad my baby likes it :)