Turning a T-Shirt Into a Pillow (Tutorial)

My husband loves to tell Chuck Norris jokes with the guys at church. It's hilarious.

So when I saw this shirt at the thrift store I got so excited! Unfortunately it was way too big. In retrospect, probably a good thing, I'm not sure I really wanted him to walk around in this anyway. However, it turned out to be a great shirt to use for a throw pillow to put in his "man cave"!

 If you have a fun shirt that you want to repurpose, try this! It's scandalously easy. All you do is:

  • Cut a square out of both layers of your shirt, with image centered. Mine was an 18"X15" rectangle.

  •  Pin the two squares together along the edge with right sides facing and sew together, leaving an opening just large enough for your hand to fit through.

  •  Snip the corners and turn right side out.

  •  Stuff. (I highly recommend stuffing with a high quality polyfil or even a pillow form, rather than taking the stuffing from a cheap-o Walmart pillow, like I did. It turned out rather lumpy.)

  • Finish off with a slip stitch.
If you don't know about the slip stitch (sometimes called "invisible stitch" or "ladder stitch"), I'm excited to show it to you! It's great for closing up stuffed projects like this one. I'm going to use a contrasting thread color to help you see what we're doing...

Pin the area closed, with edges tucked in.

Knot your thread and come up from the inside so that your knot will be hidden.

 Make a small stitch through one side of your fabric.

Insert your needle into the other side, directly across from where your thread came up last.

Bring your needle out on the same side, just like your first small stitch.

Repeat, inserting your needle again directly across from where your thread came out last.

Keep repeating...

All the way across your opening. It will look like this if left loose:

Gently pull your thread to tighten the stitches-and viola! Invisible!
Then you'll just knot your thread, stick your needle back into the pillow, and come out several inches away. Pull the thread a little and snip off.

There you go! A super-easy project. And you don't have to be a Chuck Norris fan to enjoy it. 

But in case you are.....

Have a great day!


  1. This made josh and I crack up before bed! I think you jokes may be better than your husbands. :) now josh wants a pillow

  2. Ok, first, thanks for the giggles first thing in the morning. I love Chuck Norris jokes!

    Second, thanks for the tip about knotting the thread and then poking the needle back through the pillow to hide the tail. I had never heard of that before, but it makes so much sense! Thanks!

  3. I wonder if Chuck Norris tells Chuck Norris jokes? If he did, they'd be epic.

    I need to find a Chuck Norris t-shirt. For me. hahaha

  4. Thanks so much for the great close-up photos and the description of slip-stitching! I had no idea that was how you did it, so this is very helpful!

  5. I love Chuck Norris jokes too! Since your pillow was for a 'man cave' but photos taken outside my first thought was, "Oh my husband's man cave is actually the back yard too."

  6. wahaha! Go Chuck! What a GREAT pillow. You just gave me a GREAT idea for my white elephant gift this christmas! I LOVE chuck quotes!
    "Chuck Norris wipes with a cheese grader."

    I saw a car that had a large dent from being in an accident, and they had painted a shoe print on the dent with a quote that said "chuck Norris was here"

  7. So cool! I've done that with shirts before for the kids. I love repurposing t shirts!

  8. those quotes are hilarious. very cute.

  9. That's a great way to repurpose t-shirts. I'm all for making new things out of old things. Thanks for sharing this ^_^

  10. Thanks, Disney for the quick tutorial on the slip stitch! I've been meaning to google how to do it and now I don't have to! Fun post!

  11. This is AWESOME!! What a great way to use (and recycle) t-shirts!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!
    I am having my very first link party and this would be PERFECT!!!
    It's called Show Me How!!! ~ Friday ~ Tips, Tricks, & Tutorials ~ No. 1 ~
    It's going on RIGHT NOW :))
    I would love for you to join the party!!
    And feel free to link up as many as you like:))

  12. My husband LOVES Chuck Norris jokes! In college, his dorm door was covered with them. Ha.

    "When Chuck Norris does push-ups, he doesn't push himself up. He pushes the world down."

    Thanks for brightening our morning!

    ♥ Bethany


  13. Thank you for entertaining me while I sit at my boring garage sale. That Chuck Norris T was a fantastic find!

  14. Chuck Norris jokes are so hilarious!!!!

  15. Stephen also jokes using Chuck Norris Facts! I love the T-shirt pillow idea.

  16. Oh Wow this really got my funny bone.. I think hubby thought I was off my rocker till he came over & joined in...(: Thanks for the needed laugh.


  17. What a great idea! I have a T-shirt bought accidentally too small that I love too much to give away... I could do this with it! ps - thanks for the invisable stitch tutorial - I've been doing them wrong for years, no wonder mine never seemed to look good :S oops!

  18. HAHAHAHA love the Chuck Norris pillow and jokes :) The slipstitch tutorial is great!!! I love your site and try lots of new things on there! My sister just made that necklace with bows on it!!! Very cute!!! Thanks again!!!!


  19. That pillow is cute! I definitely need to do that with some t-shirts of mine.
    The slip stitch instructions were perfect!

  20. Oh my, I must make one of these for DH and DD for the game room. Every time they get going on Chuck Norris jokes, I think my husband is going to die of laughter. That's just great! I think I need some Chuck Norris fabric to make jammies for them.

  21. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [17 Jul 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  22. those chuck norris jokes were too much! i remember watching walker texas ranger every sunday with my fam.

  23. Thank you so much for the stitch tutorial- I have been trying to do it for so long and never quite "got it." This helps so much! And I have just the t-shirt to try this with. Great idea!

  24. Two hints that I was taught a long time ago.
    One for sewing corners:
    sew one side from edge to edge, stop and cut threads.
    fold over the seam allowance so that the stitching is on the fold.
    sew from that fold to the next edge.
    stop, cut threads, fold that seam over on the stitching line and sew to edge.
    Repeat until all four sides are done, leaving the last edge open for stuffing.

    Now to make it easier to fold in the raw edges for slip stitching:
    when you come to the end of the stitching on that fourth side, stop, turn the pillow and sew off the edge of the seam allowance, making an L.

    If I hads a clue how to take pictures of this step by step and post them, I would, but alas, I can sew but not photo and post.

  25. My husband watches Walker Texas Ranger with the kids. He's a big Norris fan and I think it's hilarious! He doesn't like me to watch with him because I end up cracking jokes and talking through it 'commentating' because it's so funny and predictable. When my dad found out my husband was such a huge fan he printed off like a hundred Chuck Norris jokes off the internet and read them all to him. ... The real Churck Norris used to actually live sorta near my parents and my dad (who was a basketball coach for junior high kids) would occasionally see him sitting in the bleachers at a basketball tournament cheering on his daughter.... I hear he's actually a really really great guy and fairly down to earth and everything. ... ANyway, thanks for some funnies today.

  26. Yay, this is perfect! Bought a t-shirt just the other day with the intention of making it into a pillow. And now I don't have to figure it out for myself! Thanks. :-)

  27. Thanks for sharing Disney. I made a pillow out of my husband's favorite hawaiian shirt that has no business being worn out in public but didn't know the stitch to finish it off. I appreciate the tutorial for next time.

  28. Awesome post! You do such a good job showing the things new sewers need to know! I LOVE the chuck norris thrown in there!

  29. Doubly inspiring.
    #1 I want to try this.
    #2 I decided to ad an *inspiration* link in my sidebar, and this post is the first installment.
    Thank you.

  30. I think that this was one of the best visuals and explanations of a ladder stitch that I have ever seen. thanks!

  31. love it! my brother loves chuck Norris and gets shirts every year for Christmas and his birthday. a fun pillow would be a nice change. Awesome post:>

  32. LOVE it! :)

  33. Hmm...now I have to go make pillows out of all our Disney shirts that are no longer wearable but we haven't been able to throw away. We have a Disney obsession around here and my hubby was mourning his animal kingdom shirt pretty hard.

  34. LOVE it! And funny...I've got a red chuck norris shirt sitting around, waiting for a project. your pillow is brilliant!

  35. What a great way to preserve those tshirts you cant bear parting with. Thank you for sharing!

  36. I LOVED this post. I laughed right out loud at the Chuck jokes. tee hee.

    I have a couple of comments: First, if you want a more stiff pillow face or if the t-shirt has been well loved, iron on some baby soft wonder under on the inside of the design. It gives it just a little more stability without really changing the hand of the fabric. Second, if you have a bunch of tees like the previous commenter, use the stiffer type of wonder under and make quilt blocks out of the t-shirts. It's even better if you can use fabric markers to add details such as the date of a special vacation where the shirt was purchased, etc.
    Your blog is great. Thanks for the laugh and the awesome post!!

  37. Thanks Disney!

    I hope you don't mind - I linked to this page from my t-shirt shop so people will get fantastic instructions on how to turn their shirts into a pillow.

    Wonderful tutorial. Thanks!

  38. Chuck Norris didn't go to school as a kid. School came to him.

    Chuck Norris' tears can cure cancer. But Chuck never cries.

    I'm making a pillow this weekend from some shirts that don't fit anymore.

    And thanks for the invisible stitch pics. I always thought my mom was just a magician.

  39. Hahaha this is hysterical and I love it! Such a fun tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing it! http://www.craftbaby.com

  40. What size shirt should you use?


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