Thursday, March 5, 2009

Turn a Man's Shirt into a Cushion Cover

In Hawaii, men's normal work attire is aloha shirt & slacks.  My husband owns about 30 aloha shirts - he buys them at thrift shops.  He has this rule that every time he buys a new one, he has to throw one of the old ones away (Thanks to the rule, his closet is uncluttered unlike mine :<).  
We normally donate old clothes in good condition to thrift shops and use unsavageable ones as rags. But the prints on aloha shirts are so cute that I just could not say goodbyes to them.  So after some trials, I came up with an idea of turning them into cushion covers. 

All the tear & wear of old shirts usually are seen around neck and underarms, so if you cut these parts off, the remaining fabric is in pretty good condition.  Plus, since buttons and button holes are already sewn, you don't have to put a zipper. How great is that? 

Here is a simple instruction - I am a very lazy and armature seamstress, so pls. bear with me (If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them :) 

1. Turn a shirt inside out.  


2. Measure the length, width and thickness of your cushion (mine is 16 in. x 16 in. x 1 in. (for S size shirt).  Use a 1/4 seam allowance. 

3.  Add the width + the thickness + (1/4 seam allowance multiplied by 2). - e.g., 16 + 1 + 2 1/4 = 17 1/2 . Divide that number by 2. - e.g., 17 1/2 x 1/2 = 8 3/4 - hope this is right. Measure that length from where the buttons are sewn to the side. Mark about three dots on the both sides and connect the dots with a straight line from top to bottom of a shirt, using a ruler. - ("#3 side line")

4. Right below the top button, draw a straight line from side to side perpendicular to the #3 side lines. - ("#4 line")

5.  Add the length + the thickness + (1/4 seam allowance multiplied by 2). - e.g., 16 + 1 + 2 1/4 = 17 1/2) . Divide that number by 2. - e.g., 17 1/2  x 1/2 = 8 3/4.    Measure that length from #4 line toward the bottom of the shirt & mark about three dots.  Connect the dots with a straight line from side to side, using a ruler. 

6. Pin the front and back of the shirt together, aligned perfectly. 

7.  Cut along the line. 

8.  Sew completely around the edge, taking 1/4 seam allowance. 

9.  Unbotton and insert a cushion.  

* I think this also works with regular shirts, especially flannel & oxford shirts.  For a solid-color shirt, I would add some emblishments.  Emblishments also hide ink stains. 

* I made cushions inside these cushion covers using old sheet.  I was very stingy with fillings.  That's why the cushions look very FLAT.  Don't ever get stingy with cushion filinsg. 





10 comments:

Lisa said...

What a cute idea! Maybe I'll have to raid my husband's closet...

TeamBlue said...

i love them, will have to find some shirts now ....

Coco said...

Thank you! I would love to see the pictures of your creation.

Shasta said...

Wow, such a neat and creative idea! Now if only my husband had cool shirts! {haha}

Susan said...

very cool idea.

awellcraftedlife said...

Neat idea!

Barterbabe said...

How clever. I use jeans to make pillows I probably could do the same with shirts. Thanks

Michele said...

I love this idea! If only I had some aloha shirts to try it out with...my husband's shirts aren't quite so interesting, but maybe a little added emroidery will do the trick.

keiki gifts said...

You have a great and helpful blog...love it! This cushion cover is wonderful project. I hope to try it soon w/the husband's old shirts. Thanks for submitting your post to my craft carnival.

RecycleCindy said...

Love the cushion project and it so cool that you are upcycling old shirts. You have created some very frugal and cute cushion covers. It looks like your idea would work good for pillow covers too.

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