Tutorial: Recycled T-Shirt Pillow Cover.

It’s not news to anyone that I like to recycle t-shirts.  One of my favorite Goodwill finds is either a solid color children’s t-shirt for freezer paper stenciling, a big t-shirt for making into a superhero cape for the boys or a ruffled tank top for myself, or a fun printed t-shirt to make into a shirt for the boys.  The other week I found an awesome t-shirt and knew I had to make it into something, so I made this…

Making a pillow cover is about one of the best beginner sewing projects you can find.  The instructions are simple, and the knit fabric of a t-shirt is very forgiving.  This works great with a regular cotton fabric or a heavier decorator fabric as well.

Step One:  Measure your pillow insert from side seam to side seam, then top seam to bottom seam.  Mine was a 16″x16″ square.  Add about 1″ to each measurement before cutting the front piece of your pillow cover.  In my case, the front piece was a 17″x17″ square. (I forgot to take a photo of this, SORRY!)

Step Two: The great thing about a t-shirt is that you don’t have to finish any raw edges!  I used the bottom edges of the front and back of the shirt to create two pieces for the back of the pillow.  No matter what size your pillow insert is you will cut one back piece about 3″ shorter than the top to bottom of your front piece.  Then cut a second piece about 9″ shorter than your front piece.  The width of the pieces will be the same as the width of the front piece.  These two back pieces will overlap the back of the pillow.  Notice how the bottom edges are the bottom of the t-shirt.

My back pieces were 8″x17″ and 14″x17″.

Step Three: Place the front piece of the cover right side up on the floor.  Place the larger back piece, with raw edges matching, finished edge at the bottom and right side down, on top of the front piece.

Step Four: Place the shorter back piece on top of the other pieces, bottom raw edges together, finished edge at the top, right side down.

Step Five: Pin the edges together and sew around all of the edges with a 1/4″ inseam (or serge).  Turn the whole thing right side out, put in the pillow insert, and you’re done!

(I think he likes it.)


  1. Lorraine says:

    Love it!!

  2. Kat Shenton says:

    Excellent! I think I may need to do that for my hubby. He has so many t-shirts with sarcastic comments on that he doesn’t want to throw but no longer wears. Thanks for the tute too!

  3. amy says:

    I definately need to try that! Thanks for posting.

  4. Ruby Jean says:

    What a Fantastic idea…. These would make GREAT Birthday gifts as well…. Thanks for linking up with me at http://shoprubyjean.com/2012/01/sew-crafty-tuesday-7-and-winner/

  5. joolee says:

    i don’t think i have to say that my son would LOVE this….:)


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