DIY Shirt Pillow

Men’s Shirt Makeover: Crafting a DIY Shirt Pillow Cover

Create a DIY Shirt Pillow Cover from a Men’s Button-down Shirt. This quick and easy DIY project transforms a men’s shirt into a pillow cover.

Sewn by hand or machine, with a NO-sew option, it’s a lovely way to repurpose an old shirt and add a special touch to your home decor. Great for making memory pillows from the shirts of loved ones who have passed on.

DIY Shirt Pillow

Materials You’ll Need:

  • A men’s button-up shirt (choose a shirt with a pattern or fabric you love)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Pillow form or an old pillow to cover
  • Pins
  • ½” wide fusible hem tape (for a NO-sew option)

Step 1: Choose Your Shirt 

DIY Shirt Pillow

Start by selecting the men’s shirt you’d like to repurpose. Whether it’s an old shirt of your own or a thrift store find, choose a shirt with a fabric that complements your home decor. Patterns, stripes, and solids all work well for this project. The shirt needs to be a bit wider and longer than the pillow you’re covering.

The shirt I chose is a semi-casual red silk button-down that shrunk in the wash. I love the color and the buttons make it super easy to transform into a button up pillow cover for the living room.

Step 2: Prepare the Shirt 

Lay the shirt flat on your work surface, making sure it’s buttoned up correctly. Smooth out any wrinkles or folds and press with an iron to ensure an even cut.

You can keep any front pockets or carefully remove the pocket with a seam ripper like I did. Sometimes the stitch holes will show, or fabric fading will be obvious, so check on a small part to make sure you like the look before removing the whole thing.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

DIY Shirt Pillow

Now turn your shirt inside out, fully buttoned. Keep the button placket or pockets aligned where you would like them on the pillow. Pin the bottom and top closed as needed to keep everything aligned.

Measure the dimensions of your pillow form or the pillow you want to cover. You can add 1 inch to the length and width for a standard pillow cover. I like a full looking pillow, so I don’t add an extra 1 inch for seam allowances, but you can if you like. My pillow form was 18” x 18” so that was the dimension I cut from the shirt.

Using another pillow cover that fits well as a template makes this super easy. Or you can use a ruler and draw the cut lines directly on your shirt fabric. Now, use your scissors to carefully cut the shirt along the lines. Make sure to cut through both the front and back layers of the shirt.

Step 4: Pin and Sew

With the shirt still inside out, pin the front and back shirt pieces together along all four sides. Sew or serge around all four sides of your pillow cover using a ½” seam allowance. Since the shirt has buttons down the middle you will sew all four sides together and use the buttons to insert and secure the cover around your pillow.

DIY Shirt Pillow

For a NO-sew option place the fusible hem tape between the layers in the ½” seam allowance and fuse with your iron per the package directions. Repeat for all four sides, taking care to keep the fusible hem tape straight and aligned with the seam.

Step 5: Turn Right Side Out

DIY Shirt Pillow

Once you’ve finished sewing, unbutton the buttons and turn the cover right side out through the opening. Use a chopstick or even your fingers to push out the corners for a neat and clean finish.

Step 6: Insert your Pillow Form

DIY Shirt Pillow

Insert your pillow form or the old pillow you want to cover and the button up your new pillow cover. That’s it, a super easy DIY shirt pillow.

Step 7: Enjoy your DIY Shirt Pillow

DIY Shirt Pillow

In just a few easy steps, you’ve transformed a men’s shirt into a special pillow cover that adds a personal touch to your home decor. You can make multiple covers using different shirts to change the look of your space whenever you like. Try plaid shirts in the fall or Hawaiian themed shirts for a fresh summer look.

This quick and easy DIY shirt pillow project not only saves you money but also repurposes old clothing. This is a great project to preserve the shirt of a loved one as a memory pillow, bringing the presence of a loved one into your home.

Happy Sewing!


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