Wednesday, December 9, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Make a no-zipper shirt pillow

Wow. Another week has gone by already. And strangely enough, I have a legitimate DIY to post.

Here is how to make a pillow cover from a shirt. Besides reusing unwanted clothing, this project allows you to use the shirt buttons as a replacement for a zipper or envelope flap and makes your pillow cover removable and cleanable. This is the easiest removable pillow cover you can possibly make.

I started with this thrifted silver gray polyester blouse that was five sizes too big for me. As you may note from my blog header, I am fond of grey and leopard.

I also had pillows I had purchased from Target nearly 10 years ago. The pillow forms are down filled and in great shape, but the covers were getting worn.

You can use an existing pillow cover as your pattern. If you don't have one, measure your pillow's girth and make a paper pattern. Add one inch to the pillow size you measured to allow for a half inch seam allowance.

Button up the shirt. Center your paper square or your old pillow cover so that the buttons run down the middle of the square and pin. Cut out the front piece of your cover. Pin the pattern to the back of the blouse and cut out a back piece of the same size.

Pin the two pieces of fabric together with the wrong sides of the fabric facing out. Stitch all the way around the edge of the fabric using a half inch seam allowance. There is no need to leave an "opening" for turning the pillow right side out.

Trim off any excess fabric from your seam. Unbutton the buttons and turn the pillow right side out. Insert the pillow form through the open "button" seam. Then button up the pillow, as shown below.

The blouse I used had fabric-covered buttons, which made them pretty enough for display. If your shirt or blouse has ugly buttons, they can be turned to the back and the bare side of the pillow can become the front. Or, if you have time on your hands, you can sew on prettier buttons.


  1. What a good idea. I don't think I have any lovely silvery shirts unfortunately. Btw I love your carved beadhed. V Balinese.

  2. Great idea! Like Jane though, I don't have any old shirts worthy of repurposing, but I'll file this away for future use!

  3. Elisa @ whatthevitaDecember 9, 2009 at 11:28 PM

    Whoa! Great idea! How did you think this one up? Very clever... :)

  4. Kasey at Thrifty Little BlogDecember 10, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    Thanks for the tutorial! I've seen so many shirts that would be perfect for this.

    I did another dollar store tour today. Come check it out!

  5. Oh what a great idea to use the shirt buttons as a feature of the cushion. This is one I'll definitely have a go at. I'll have the only executive striped cushion in the county.

  6. Erin @ SYL: Slipcover Your LifeDecember 10, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    Looks awesome on your bed (esp. with your all white sheets!)

  7. Down and Out ChicDecember 10, 2009 at 4:38 PM

    you are SO crafty! impressive!

  8. fourwallsandaroofDecember 10, 2009 at 4:52 PM

    With all the clever things you make out of old clothes, it's a wonder you have any clothes left! The bedroom looks great by the way - did you get rid of the big anglepoise lamps then?

  9. Girl, found you through YHL. Your blog rocks.

  10. Alek, I never bought the lamps - couldn't make up my mind. (As to the old clothes, I get them all from thrift sources - second-hand clothes are cheaper than new fabric.)

  11. Alexis L. of One Grand HomeDecember 13, 2009 at 1:41 AM

    You are Repurposing Royalty.

  12. Genius. I love how the buttons already there serve as the fastening, and I'm totally surprised how a rather ugly shirt makes such a fabulous cushion. I'll definitely be copying this one!

  13. This is really an innovation both in pillow-making and recycling bad 80's fabrics. You are a genius at this stuff.

  14. kim taylor - - - the sassy crafterJanuary 5, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    I use the same technique as a first project in my Sewing 101 course. It's a great project for beginners because all they need to understand is how to make a straight stitch and turn corners. And leaving with a finished project gives them great satisfaction.