Rozsamaria: Pillow project

I had a busy weekend that didn’t include a huge amount of sewing, but I continued to work on anlichan’s birthday present and I started on my Christmas presents.  Here’s the first.

Papa S’s parents both died this spring.  My grandpa had a huge collection of tshirts and sweatshirts, many of them old favorites, and after his death I decided I wanted to make presents for the family out of his old shirts.  I’m making pillows for people using tshirts of their choosing, and then I’ll use whatever’s leftover to make a quilt for the whole family.  Hopefully this will all be done by Christmas.

I started with this tshirt, a souvenir from someone’s trip to Switzerland.  Grandpa was born in Switzerland and came to America in the 1920s, when he was a little boy.  I hardly ever heard him speak German, but he was always very proud of being Swiss.  My cousin C picked this tshirt as the one he wanted for his pillow.

Grandpa's Switzerland tshirt

A close-up of the Switzerland logo on the tshirt (sorry it's sideways)

I used a 12-inch pillow form.  First I ironed the tshirt, then I turned it inside out and laid it flat.  Using an orange pencil, I traced a 12-inch square with the Switzerland picture in the center.  I added an inch on each side to give myself leeway.  I pinned the two sides of the tshirt flat, cut along the orange line, and sewed the two pieces together, leaving an opening at the bottom where I could insert the pillow.

The tshirt, turned inside out, with the two layers pinned together and the outline marked in orange

The front and back, cut and pinned together

As it turned out, I didn’t need an inch – I’m used to working with quilting fabric, but tshirt fabric has way more give.  I turned the fabric inside out again and remeasured, taking off about half an inch to three-quarters of an inch on each side and sewing a new line all the way around.

Once the fabric fit the pillow properly, I hand-sewed the opening at the bottom.

The pillow inside the pillow cover, with the bottom still open

I hand-sewed the opening with matching thread.

The finished pillow

The project was very quick and would’ve been even faster if I hadn’t had to take off extra fabric on the sides.  I have now finished one Christmas present!   (One down, too many to go.)   Pillows like these make a great keepsake.  As I’ve mentioned before, pillows are very simple, even for beginning sewers, and using old tshirts is a way to recycle them – or, in this case, preserve them.

Note: I saved the rest of the tshirt, to be used for the quilt I’m making for the family.


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