DIY giving: Recycled t-shirt throw pillows

Got a drawer full of old oversized and underutilized Ts that you've collected over the years? You know the ones.

Got a drawer full of old oversized and underutilized Ts that you’ve collected over the years? You know the ones – the jumbo concert shirts, the XL prize-pack freebies, the slogan-saddled top you once loved but just don’t wear any more? Put them to good use by remaking them into custom throw pillows for your pals this holiday season. Just match the T to your friend’s personality, from left-wing politico and kitschy hipster all the way to rocker babe.


Step 1: Comb your drawers or second hand stores for the perfect vintage T-shirts for couch dressing. They should be large or extra large unisex cut so they can easily be cut into accent pillow cases. Oh, and make sure they’re washed before you move on to step 2. Don’t want any weird stains on there.

Step 2: Cut two large matching squares from the front and back side of your T with good, sharp scissors.

Step 3: Turn them pattern-side in, pin the edges, then sew the edges either by hand, if you have an evening to sit and stitch, or go the quicker, sturdier route with a sewing machine. Make sure to leave a 4-inch opening on one side so you can flip the pillow inside out to reveal your pattern/slogan/super-cool band logo of choice.

Step 4: You could cheat and buy a polyester pillow insert (if you do, you’ll need to make sure your pillow case is cut to be about a half-inch bigger on each side than, say, your 16-by-16-inch pillow insert), but then your gift wouldn’t be totally eco, now, would it? Get around the lack of natural fibre pillow inserts on the market by shredding old, hole-ridden Goodwill rejects into strips. Most fabrics can be ripped by hand with the help of an incision with a utility knife or scissors. Once you’ve shredded a few shirts, you should have plenty of stuffing.

Step 5: Shove your second-hand fabric strips into your T-shirt pillow case then manually stitch up the opening. Plan B: glue a velcro strip or sew a few press studs along the opening so the stuffing can be removed between washings. Then voila, you’ve got yourself a totally green, guilt-free gift.

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