Upcycled T-Shirt

5561Tee shirtI stopped by a church in the closing hour of their rummage sale. All merchandise was drastically marked down in price. This tee-shirt with a bird graphic was just 50¢.

As you probably know by now I like pretty much anything with birds on it.
The neckline on this tee is lower than I feel comfortable wearing but I knew I would be able to use the fabric/bird print for something creative. At 50¢ what did I have to lose?

I decided that the row of songbirds would look nice on a bolster. In my sewing room is quite a collection of pillow forms in all sizes and shapes. I’ve picked them up while thrifting. I don’t have records but I doubt I paid more than a dollar for any of them.
To get started I cut the shirt apart at the seams. 5564seperate frontI removed the neck-band so I could have as much fabric as possible above the bird graphic5566remove collar

I measured the diameter and width of the pillow form. 5569.square_Then cut a rectangle of fabric from the tee-shirt front making sure to center the birds.5571rite sides together_

I folded my rectangle right sides together and sewed a seam along the edge.5572opening in casing_

In my seam I left little gaps so I would have a place to thread the drawstring through the casing.

5574.casingTee shirt knits don’t ravel so I was able to simply fold over a ½ inch on each end and stitch to make casings.5575shoe laces_

Then I turned the bolster cover right side out. I looked around the sewing room for something to tie the ends of my bolster. I decided on shoelaces. Ribbon, elastic or seam binding would also have worked.


This little gadget is a bodkin. It’s helpful when threading cords or elastic through casings. I purchased this years ago when I worked at a fabric store. We were encouraged to try out all the merchandise so we could be good salesmen. I think it’s a neat little tool but in most cases a safety-pin would work just as well. Since I was using shoelaces and they have hard tips I really didn’t need anything to help get the lace thought the casing but it was faster with the bodkin because its easier to hold onto than the tip if the shoelace.

5577tie_With the shoelaces threaded through both casings I stuffed the bolster into the pillowcase. And drew the shoelaces up tight. Tying a bow knot to secure it.

5578tuck_Then I tucked the ends of the laces inside

5579finishedand I was finished with my quick inexpensive bolster project.

Do you have a favorite sewing gadget?
Have you upcycled any thrifted garments lately?

If so tell me about it in the comments.

This entry was posted in Arts & crafts, Second Hand Shopping, Sewing, Trash to Treasure, Tutorial and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Upcycled T-Shirt

  1. Bobbie Henderson says:

    I always enjoy your posts about your projects. And your cakes are beautiful. Glad I found your site.

  2. susan says:

    I am loving your bird pillow – such a smart idea! I’m rather tall and can not find capri’s to fit me correctly. So, I went to our local Goodwill surplus (everything is .50 cents), bought 3 pairs of jeans for $1.50 total – and presto, capri’s.
    Love your blog, and your cakes are beautiful.

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