Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Free Tutorial - Dad's Shirt Pillow

Well, it doesn't have to be Dad's shirt.  It could be Grandpa's shirt or Uncle's shirt or even a shirt your little boy has outgrown (you'd just have to use a small pillow form).  If your family is anything like ours, you often have these...

in your giveaway pile.

Why not turn them into (reuse, repurpose, recycle!) these???

I just love that a little piece of Dad is cozying up my little boy's bed.  These shirt pillows are crazy easy to make.  Here's how you do it...

  • One pillow insert   (Size kind of depends on the shirt size.  Daddies come in all shapes and sizes.  It might be helpful to measure the portion of the shirt you want to use for the front of the pillow and go from there.  I used a 16" x 16" pillow insert for these two pillows)
  • One package of Wright's bias piping in a coordinating color
  • One old (or new... whatever works) men's dress shirt
  • Fabric pen
  • Basic sewing supplies (scissors, sewing machine, etc.)

The first step is to cut out a square that will be the top of your pillow.  I used a 16" x 16" pillow form and I like my pillow really snug, so I decided to cut a 15" x 15" square.  I might actually go a teeny bit bigger next time, so if you're using this same size insert, I would suggest cutting a 15 1/2" x 15 1/2" square.  I used my fabric pen to draw my square before I cut.  You'll just have to play around here to determine where to draw your square.  I sort of centered the buttons but had to place them slightly off center to accommodate the pocket.  You'll see what I mean when you try it yourself.

Make sure to only cut the top portion of the shirt here (don't catch the whole shirt with your scissors... just the front of the shirt).

Now flip the remaining portion of the shirt over and use your top piece as a pattern.  Cut around the square to get your back piece.  My husband's shirt had some pleating in the back at the top and I wanted to avoid that so I placed the front piece pretty far down.

You now have your two pillow pieces and you're ready to sew.

I applied some decorative piping to this shirt but you could cut out this step and simply make a knife-edge pillow.  To apply the piping, take the top square and align one end of your piping, raw edges together.  Leave about an inch of the piping unsewn and then (using your zipper foot) baste the piping to the pillow top, notching and pivoting at the corners.

Go all the way around, overlapping your piping when you get back to the start.  Trim excess piping.

Unbutton a couple of the buttons, creating a hole for you to turn your pillow right-side-out after the next step.

Turn front square over onto back square (right sides together) and pin all the way around (every two inches or so).  Take your pinned pillow cover over to your sewing machine and (using your zipper foot again) sew all the way around your pillow, getting as close to your piping as possible.  Back stitch at the start and finish.

Clip your corners being careful not to clip into your seams. 

Turn your shirt right-side-out.

Stuff the insert into the pillow cover...

Button 'er up... and...

Ta Da!  Cute Dad's Shirt Pillow for a little boy's bed.  I tucked a little scrap of fabric into the pocket.  

Those pockets could also come in handy when it's time for the tooth fairy to pay your little one a visit.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I would love to hear from you!

Big thanks to Apartment Therapy's Ohdeedoh for featuring this project here.


  1. I love the detail of the bit of material in the pocket fantastic, I am totally going to try this for my son's room....hmm who's shirts can I steal

  2. I have enjoyed visiting your blog. Great idea, but I don't have any shirts at the moment as I have been collecting them from family and friends to pass onto someone in ou EG who then makes them into quilts for our soldiers out in Afghanistan.

  3. That's a MUCH better use of dress shirts! What a great idea.

  4. this is soo cute...i now want to have a boy just so i can make this :) thanks!

    Pins, Needles, & Kids