Monday, August 15, 2011

Turn a Men's Shirt into a Travel Sized Pillowcase Tutorial

My son has been in his toddler bed for eight months now and has gone through a couple different pillows.  First he had the PillowPetz pillow.  Very comfortable.  Very awesome.  Very stinky!  It got pretty gross pretty quick.  Of course we'd wash it, but the smell kept coming back sooner and sooner.  We tried putting a pillowcase on it, but that just didn't work out.  Somehow my son ditched the pillowpet and developed a bond with one of our living room sofa pillows.  This really didn't bother my husband or myself - I mean, the sofa pillow is a great size for his bed and he likes it - but really, we want him to have a proper pillow. 

We knew he was attached to this sofa pillow, but we thought if we got him some cool pillowcases maybe he'd transition to a bed pillow easily. 

But bed pillows are so big in proportion to his toddler bed and his toddler body.

Then one day, while shopping at Walmart (not for pillows) my husband spots a $3 travel size pillow!  In the cart and home it goes!  Now it was time for me to make (eek!!) a case for his new pillow.  It had to be good!  We're in luck - I had spare BUZZ LIGHTYEAR fabric!

I made the pillowcase and he liked it, but not enough to actually use the new pillow *insert pouty mommy face here*.  So now there's an extra pillow in his room and a sofa pillow still in his bed.  But did that stop me from making another pillowcase?  Of course not. 

My husband has this one t-shirt that's been sitting in his dresser forever.  He won't get rid of it because it was a gift, but he's only worn it twice out of desperation, and complained about it both times.  A light bulb went off other night when I was doing laundry and I decided it would make a cool pillowcase for the pillow that really doesn't need an extra case because it never gets used.  (Sometimes I almost ask myself "self, why do you waste your time on these projects" but I stop myself because I know I love the process of sewing, not just the final product). 

Travel size pillows are perfect for toddler beds, travel, nap time at school or daycare, sleep overs, and accent pillows.  Even if my son won't use it now I figure we're bound to use it at some point.

So here's a tutorial on how to turn a men's size large (or larger) t-shirt into a pillowcase for a travel size pillow!

~ size large (or larger) t-shirt
~ basic sewing supplies
~ sewing machine

* you can easily use a woven cotton fabric in place of the t-shirt during this tutorial.  The amount of fabric required will depend on whether or not you're using the same fabric for the front and back of the pillowcase.


*before you begin, please be aware of the orientation of your t-shirt's image/pattern/text/logo.  In most cases (like mine) the image is going to be portrait style - not landscape style like store-bought pillowcases.  If this doesn't bother you please continue!

1. Lay the t-shirt as flat as you can get it on a cutting mat.  I pinned the bottom of the shirt together to keep it from shifting.

2. Cut a 25"x15" square through both layers of fabric.   Include the bottom hem of the shirt if the image on the shirt allows!!!  If you're anything like me you aren't the best at sewing knit fabric, so this will make the pillowcase look so much nicer.  In my case, I did not use the t-shirt hem :-(

 3.  Pick up the fabric and turn it over.  Now the image is face down on the mat and you are looking at the outside of the back of the t-shirt.  Cut 4" off the upper edge of the  top layer of fabric.  Do not cut the bottom layer (which is the piece with the image).  Are you still with me? 

(if you weren't able to use the bottom hem from the t-shirt, now is the time to finish those edges.  Take one piece of the fabric and serge the bottom edge.  Fold the edge 1/2", pin, press, sew.  Repeat on the other piece).

4.  Now you have to reposition your pieces.  You want right-sides together and you want the upper raw edges to be even.  Your finished bottom edges will be 4" apart from one another.  Pin the upper raw edges together.  Sew, using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Serge (optional).

5.  Peel the top layer of fabric back to reveal  the right side of your image.  Fold the bottom edge up 4"

6.  Drape the top layer of fabric back over the bottom layer so that right-sides are together again.  Now your bottom edges should be even (the upper finished hem should be flush with the folded crease of the bottom layer).
7.  Pin your sides together.  The bottom 4" will consist of 3 layers of fabric.   Start at the upper edges and sew down both sides.  Backstitch at the beginning and end.  Serge (optional).

8.  Turn the pillowcase right side out and stuff a pillow inside!

Now you have a very comfortable pillowcase for your travel-sized pillow!

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