How to Turn Your Favourite Top Into a T-Shirt Pillow

This easy T-Shirt Pillow can be done with or without a full sewing machine.

Post contains affiliate links as a service to readers. I receive a small commission via qualifying purchases.

Anyone Can Make This Project

So, cards on the table. I am not the world’s best seamstress. But that said, I am completely confident using a sewing machine and have one that I love, which I inherited from my Mom. I am confident sewing things by hand too. Hemming pants and mending things manually with a needle and thread appeals to the thrifty mom in me.

So a T-Shirt Pillow is no problem. It’s a pretty easy little project. You just need an old T-Shirt and some fibre fill pillow stuffing.

Saving Money, Upcycling All Reasons to Make This T-Shirt Pillow

I last used our Husqvarna sewing machine almost 11 months ago to do all the alterations on my daughter’s prom dress here myself. Saving money for the win! Any excuse that I have to get the machine out and test drive it to be sure it is still working is an opportunity that I will take.

Keeping Teens Busy

That little beauty of a sewing machine sometimes makes it out during the summer when my daughters are bored, or during random times when we need to hem something or fix something. Occasionally, we craft with it, because I am surrounded by crafty and creative teens.

So, during the pandemic one day about 4 weeks in, my youngest daughter grabbed her old long sleeved SARI riding shirt that she loved, but had outgrown and said: How can I make this into a t-shirt pillow?

Now, my darling girls sometimes are all in on projects even before mapping them out, so by the time I even grabbed the sewing machine and told her hey here are the steps to this, she had located a pair of scissors and was ready to get cutting away. With No Plan. Rolls Eyes.

Hold On and Make a Plan

STOP. Right there. This is life with kids who have a lot of energy most of the time, but are lacking anything meaningful to do on the daily during a pandemic when stuck indoors.

So, I managed to get her to put a pin in it for a minute while I ran through the steps in my head and then articulated them to her. First, locate all of the materials that you need. For instance, do you have the stuffing for inside a pillow. Luckily, I already had some here. Just enough leftover polyester filling for pillows and other projects that require stuffing.

Materials Needed:

  • Polyester Pillow Stuffing
  • Thread
  • Sewing Needle
  • Scissors

Easy T-Shirt Pillow Continues

Of course, we had scissors as already established and thread that was dark in colour because I have several sewing kits stashed around the house. Mostly, they are organized sewing supplies, but often these can be found underneath my oldest daughter’s bed because she loves to craft and make things.


Clearly we had all the materials and then some.

Steps to Make an Easy Upcycled Pillow

  • The first step for the long sleeved shirt was to cut the arms off of the T-Shirt. If you have a short t-shirt you also need to cut the sleeves off so that you are left with a square.

That was a job my teenager happily did. LOL.

After removing the arms, we set that fabric aside for another time. My one teen hates to waste crafty things and material.

  • Turn the fabric inside out first. I double checked that we wouldn’t be sewing through or ruining any of the lettering.
  • Sew the neck up and the armholes too with a straight stitch right across both of the holes, so that it is mostly even with the side seams of the shirt.

Grab the stuffing and set it nearby.

  • Sew right across the bottom edge of the pillow to at least halfway point.
  • Turn the fabric for the pillow right side out again and start stuffing it.

Nearby, my daughter determined whether it was firm enough or not. Too little stuffing equals a not very firm pillow.

  • Once it is almost entirely stuffed, you still have the bottom edge to sew. Finish it off with the sewing machine or by hand.

Then you have a great little keepsake T-Shirt Pillow.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.