20-minute Recycled Shirt DIY Plaid Pillows…
I went and popped some tags. Only had $20 in my pocket…
Have you been thinking about starting in on a little decorating for the cooler months? Fall is coming, and with it come those hallmark signs. Changing leaves, tailgate parties, flannel shirts and sweater weather.
As part of a really fun group of some of my favorite color loving decorating buddies, we’re all celebrating the changing of the seasons today with a little end of summer/beginning of fall color splash.
If you didn’t get the “popping tags” reference up top…come on people. That’s Mackelemore & Ryan Lewis. And that song (Thrift Shop) is one of my favorites ever maybe.
And I gotta tell you, when I went to the thrift shop to find plaid shirts, I was totally humming that to myself, trying not to bust out in full karaoke mode “one (wo)man’s trash that’s another (wo)man’s come up.”
Anyhow, each of the bloggers in this group tackled a different colorful project, and mine is some VERY quick, easy, and inexpensive recycled plaid shirt DIY pillows!
Here’s what you’ll need to do this easy upcycle project:
Supplies Needed to Make a Thrifted Shirt DIY Plaid Pillow:
- men’s plaid dress shirt(s)
- fabric of choice for back of pillow (I used a simple white denim, approx 1 yard)
- pillow form(s) – I used both 16×16 inserts and 18×18 inserts
- sewing machine
Before we get into this DIY…
Here is the group that is sharing colorful projects to share with you today!
Jeweled Interiors | Clayton Makes | PMQ For Two | DIY Decor Mom | Designer Trapped | Kate Decorates | Dimples and Tangles | Heathered Nest | Haneen’s Haven | At Charlotte’s House | Domicile 37
Just a heads up before the tutorial. I am NOT an expert seamstress. I’m not even a moderately good seamstress.
I’m a total hack, and I try to get sewing projects done as QUICKLY and painlessly as possible, with minimal measuring or attention to detail.
So if you’re used to sewing, this tutorial may frustrate you. I won’t use the right terminology, and my methods are less than conventional. But at the end of about 20-minutes, we’ll have some pretty cool looking plaid pillows, conventional or not ;).
And now, let’s make some DIY pillows!
How to Make a Thrifted Shirt DIY Plaid Pillow:
1. Estimate size of pillow you can make.
Shirts obviously come in all sizes, so you need to make sure you have enough fabric on the shirt you will be using to create a pillow cover for it. The way I figure this out is insanely simple.
Lay the pillow form on your shirt. If there is at least 2″ – 4″ inches of shirt material around all four sides of the pillow, then you have enough material.
Is this method fail proof? Probably not. For me, this is the simplest, quickest way to answer that question.
2. Cut out the back of the plaid shirt.
Cut the arms and neckline off your plaid shirt. As you cut, try to preserve as much of the shirt material as you can to ensure you have enough fabric to work with.
When you’re done, the dis-assembled shirt should resemble the photo below.
3. Choose and cut fabric for back of pillow.
Nine times out of ten, making a DIY pillow from a shirt will not give you enough material to make both a front side and the back of a pillow. So choose another fabric to use as the back side.
I used a simple and inexpensive white denim. The easiest type of pillow for me to make is an envelope style pillow. If you’re looking for a good, basic tutorial on how to sew an envelope pillow, check out my friend Jamie’s tutorial over on So Much Better with Age.
To make the back of this envelope style pillow cover, you need about 1.5x the length of your pillow insert’s worth of fabric.
For my 18″ pillow, I need about 27″ of material. The width remains standard size (for me, I aim to have about 2″ on either side of the pillow (so for my 18″ pillow, I have about 22″ fabric width in total…but I just eyeball it).
4. Cut and hem pillow back sections.
With the length of your pillow back material cut (in my case, about 27″), now cut that whole piece in half.
That will leave you with two lengths of fabric, approximately 22″ wide and 13.5″ long (again, I’m an eyeballer, but feel free to measure it out).
In the images above, it’s tough to see, but the two pieces of 13.5″ long white denim which are under the insert are overlapped in the middle. Overlapping the two back sections of fabric is what will create our “envelope”.
With the two sections of back overlapped, the length of those sections should total 22″ assuming you are working with an 18″ insert (18″ pillow + 2″ overlap on both the top AND the bottom = 22″ total back fabric length).
Before assembling the pillow, we need to run a seam along one edge of each of our two back panels to finish the edges. In the image below, you can see where I ran a seam in the panel lying closest to the camera.
That edge, and the one below that form the opening through which our pillow form will be stuffed into the cover are the two edges that you need to run a quick seam through.
A real seamstress would take time to measure out a straight hem, but I opt for fast and furious.
I simply iron a straight line onto the fabric where I want to sew. How? Mostly just by eyeballing a straight line, or lying it on top of something with a pattern I can used as a template. I don’t even pin in place because that takes too much time.
5. Assemble, pin and sew perimeter.
All that’s left to do is face the good side of your shirt fabric to the good side of your two overlapped back panels. Pin the configuration in place, as shown below.
In the interest of keeping this project as easy as possible, I just guesstimate my seams. I know my pillow is an 18″ square, so I want my pillow cover to be a 19-20″ square.
You gotta give a little wiggle room to get the form inside your cover. My white denim section is about 22″ across, so I know I want about a 1″ – 1.5″ seam run.
How does one run a straight seam? I couldn’t tell you for sure. It’s never happened for me. Again, I eyeball and wing things. Just give it your best shot. Seriously. It’s a pillow. Who will know or care much if we screw this up?
6. Trim, flip and stuff.
Once you’ve sewn some relatively straight lines around all four sides. Trim the excess fabric off all around the perimeter. Flip that cover right side out. Cross your fingers, then stuff in your insert.
How’d it go? Are they perfect? No? Well, that’s great. Perfect is boring ;). Good news is that plaid is a busy pattern. I’m guessing most people will not pick up on the fact that one of your hems strayed a bit.
I love how these recycled shirt pillows turned out. They make such a big change with such little effort.
For most of the year, my family room is much brighter and, well, summery-er…
But I was excited to give the space a bit of a different look. I told Dave I wanted an 80’s preppy cabin look. He looked at me like he were a smidge confused. I get that look a lot.
It’s not quite where I want it yet, but I think it’s heading in a fun, patternful, colorful direction I dig.
Be sure to head over and check out some of the other fun, colorful decorating projects being shared by our crew! If you like color, you’ll LOVE them!!
And if you like this plaid pillow look and idea, but aren’t so pumped about the DIY part,
I got you covered. Check out some of these fun plaid pillows you can buy instead of DIY! Click on any of the pillows you like, and you’ll head right over to the store they can be purchased in.
Pin this post for later. And if you try it, leave a comment or a review on the pin! That helps others!
Pssst…before you go, I sure would love to hang out with you again really soon! Sign up now and get a FREE copy of “Builder-Grade To Beautiful: 10 Totally Transformative Home Decorating Solutions, All Under $100!” Click here to enter your email or on the image below. Your copy will be sent right away!
Also use the front of the shirt for another pillow. Instead of having the envelope-style back, you can insert the pillow form by unbuttoning the shirt front! Especially nice if you have found some shirts with cool buttons at the thrift store.
Kate @ Kate Decorates says
Heather, this is such a genius idea! My husband has a ton of shirts in the Goodwill pile…maybe I’ll be making pillows instead. 😉
Whaaat?! This is too creative! And I love that you have the “Don’t Want to DIY Here are some you can buy” option!! 😛