Earth day t-shirt upcycle
Weather; another perfect sunny day, why am I inside?
Nap; should soon change this to ‘quiet’ time with the occasional sleep
reading; been a while since I noted – I’m done with the Robyn Hobb series(es), I’m in the middle of a Charles Stross series, Just started the Trone of Glass book 2, and reading my kid behavior books for age 8, 6 and 4. I’m also reading the Secret Garden to the girls out loud.
I’m glad that I live in an age that there was almost always an earth day. I can’t remember before recycling cans. I lived with an original upcyclier and while sometimes he basically built traps disguised as furniture the WWII use it until it disintegrates was part of my day to day.
When the kids outgrow things they are usually in decent shape so it can be passed on. Since Lars and I are not really growing we tend to wear things until they are embarrassing so there is no passing on possibilities. I’ve made aprons out of jeans, plenty of things turn into napkins (my crusade against paper waste!) but my most recent upcycle is the t-shirt pillow cover.
I’m in my house all day every day so I want it to look nice if I can. Since pillows are a major part of our life from the mundane couch decoration to the insane pillow forts – they need to have covers that can be washed so this pattern is for easy on/off covers.
Mens shirts work best – this particular shirt was well loved and I think is about 10 years
old. Lars was fine with napkining it but I can’t help but remember times like this and now every time I see the couch I remember the fun.
You can either get a new (from the thrift store) pillow or just measure one you like but could use a new look but keep in mind the scale of the shirt and the scale of where the pillow will live.
- Start by cutting a straight line from the shoulder to the bottom. You want to make sure no arm seam is left. Do the same on the other side so you end up with a long rectangle.
- Measure how far down the lowest point of the neck hole is and then move the tape to the side so you can cut off the neck in a neat straight line. This whole time you are cutting the front and the back at the same time so take care to keep it from wrinkling or bunching on the bottom.
- Now you have two pieces! As you can see on mine there is a hole in the front so I had to size my pillow to avoid that. Take a second to make sure the graphic is centered (or off centered or how you want it!) and measure the height of the pillow you are working with. (Mine is about 13 inches)
- Hopefully you can see what I mean here because there are a few things going on but nothing is hard. First, I flipped both sides over. The front is on the right, you can tell by that nifty little hole. I folded the bottom of the front up to the measure of the pillow ** I do not cut the front anymore **. On the back, I cut the fabric to size but I measure up from the bottom so I can keep the original t-shirt bottom edge seam.
- I don’t have a picture, but, you now want to put the front on top of the back with the graphic in and the folded section out and the finished/existing bottom seam along the folded edge. Pin if you like to but make sure it is squared up.
- Start at one of the folded/bottom seam corners and sew 3 sides. You are leaving the bottom open – the bottom should be the folded up part and the original t-shirt seam. On my machine, I use the stretch stitch, #2, it really is great on a stretch fabric like this shirt. Make sure to sew the three layers; back, front, and folded part of front, all in one line.
- The result; 3 seams and you can see that the folded up section is now a pocket! When you turn it right side out, the pocket is on the inside. This makes a really smooth looking front because the pillow goes into that pocket. Soooo much easier than a zipper and no pillow peeking out the bottom.
- And then you get crazy and make 4 more… or five… or some for every season and maybe your husband starts to wonder where his shirts went…
And as a bit of a bonus. Those sleeves you cut off? Not to go to waste, they make great headbands. I’ve long passed the point of bibs at my house but there is a lot of hair-in-food situations so having a little pile of these near meal times works nicely. They don’t just fit kids, I can wear them too, and they might not be the most fashionable they are perfect for working out or in the garden.
I hope I’m doing my part for the earth! and I hope this tutorial helps you upcycle some beloved shirts too.
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