T-shirt Upcycles


Today I’m gonna share some upcycling project ideas you can do with t-shirts and then we’ll make some pillows!  I’ll also share some tips and tricks.  Before we get started though lets talk about t-shirts.  I prefer to deal mostly with cotton t-shirts, not a blends and silk screened verses iron on designs.  Why you may ask?  The cotton stretches enough so a blend can make it even more wonky like if it has lycra or spandex.  I also prefer items that’ll hold up to doggies, babies, and multiple washings so I don’t wanna have to remember to put something on delicate cycle or what not.  I do use some shirts with iron-ons for sentimental reasons but they don’t hold up as well to heat and they get destroyed by your needle.  So, if you chose to use iron-ons, try not to quilt over them and center the design.


What can we make from t-shirts?

Whatever the *ahem* we want to!!!

  1. Quilts
  2. Pillows
  3. Rugs
  4. Baskets
  5. Hair bands and Headbands
  6. Potholders
  7. Purses

etc, etc, etc…

Fusible Interfacing

T-shirts are a great material to work with but you’re gonna want a stabilizer.  Why?  Because when you start to cut and sew the fabric distorts too easily.  We need it to have a little stability and weight to retain it’s shape.  Unless you want a wonky finished project.  Now I don’t use stabilizer for my objects I want to stretch: headbands, hats, scarfs, baskets and rugs.  I use this stuff for my quilts and it’s a dream!


Fusible Fleece


I use fusible fleece for my pillows, helps retain the shape better and they get less distorted with the fiberfill.   Buy it here!

List of supplies

  • T-shirts.  The more well worn the better.  Now for myself I didn’t wanna cut up ALL my faves so I moseyed on down to the local Goodwill and spent a whopping $35 on these beauties!      
  • Stabilizer (the fleece for pillows) which we covered above.  Don’t be a cheapscape on this, trust me.  Maybe one day I’ll do a blog of fuck-ups, because I have many.
  • Good rotary cutter and blades.  I almost always buy extra blades when I get a new rotary cutter because it really sucks big ones when your blade dulls and you don’t have any extra blades.  I also buy new ones when I open my last pack.  These are the ones I use:Rotary CutterBlades
  • A good pair of FABRIC SCISSORS!!!  Please don’t make me yell again.  I color code my scissors.  Gray handles are “touch and I will filet you” or more commonly known as fabric scissors.  I love Fiskars!
  • Cutting mat.  Again don’t skimp.  A good self-healing cutting mat will last you tears and years and years if you take care of it. I have several mats, including a lazy susan one, which ya’ll will meet when we do HST but this is the one I use just about every single day Big Momma.  It’s perfect for my cutting table.
  • Straight edge, this is my favorite My baby!    
  • Sewing Machine. . .I have more than one lol.
  • Needle, thread and all other manner of sewing shit.
  • A good iron.  I am pretty sure I might stop sewing if my Oliso died…My precious
  • Filling.  I use this and, yes, I buy the big one lol. The good shit
  • Elmer’s glue stick.
  • Pins
  • Coffee. . .

Ok so now we can start!


*I’m ASSUMING (yes I know what it means!) you know the basics of cutting and sewing a straight line. 

  1. Iron your t-shirt inside out.
  2. Cut t-shirt.  I cut to minimize waste.  I remove the sleeves, cut up the side seams or sides.  Use my straight edge to remove the collar.  Not all t-shirts are created equally.  Most oof them, oddly enough, aren’t centered.
  3. Iron Stabilizer to the wrong size of the front and back.  Follow the directions (yes…read them…)for your stabilizer.
  4. Trim down shirt to desired size.  I stack front & back and cut through both.
  5. Do the same for the back of the shirt.
  6. Pin front and backs wrong size together.
  7. Sew along all four sides leaving an approximate 4-6 inch opening.  I use an 1/2″ seam allowance for this part.
  8. Tim edges.  Corners trim diagonally.
  9. Turn inside out & I iron again.  I like to push the edges with my “Q” crochet hook and iron flat, paying real close attention to the corners.
  10. I sew about an 1/4″ top stitch around all four sides leaving the opening clear.
  11. Stuff with fiberfill.
  12. I use Elmer’s glue to fold the opening shut then I iron it shut.  This eliminates the need for pins which are a pain in the ass when trying to sew it shut.
  13. Sew the opening shut!
  14. Save those scraps!!!
  15. Now take a nap on your new sentimental and decorative pillow!


In picture form!

Step 1







also step 2
Step 3
Steps 4 & 5
Step 6
Step 8
You're done!
Nap time!


Ok so now go raid the closets and see what kind of pillows we can make with our old shirts!  Don’t use them all up, soo we will gather and make a quilt.  Remember to save those scraps too, I’ll show you how to crochet up a rug or a basket once we have enough saved up.  I appreciate ya’ll hanging out with me.  If you have any questions, comments or if you make one drop a picture below so we can all see it!  See ya’ll soon!!!

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