Lazy Girl, Clumsy Crafts: T-shirt Pillows

Sometimes the right wind blows and suddenly I’ll think I can do crafty things. I’ll see something and it looks…doable. And that’s dangerous for me, because my eyes will narrow as I consider all the accessories I should buy for this new thing. I’ve dabbled in plenty. I’ve got a scrapbook and a box full of bits of paper I could maybe use in another one if and when that wind hits me. I hit the thrift store hard. Before Macklemore I was in there buying old man shirts and housewife dresses. We all know my affinity for secondhand stuff.

Basically I’ve got stars in my eyes and a glue gun in my hands.

Two years ago my mom bought me a sewing machine for Christmas. I come from a long line of seamstresses and I wanted the ability to make my own stuff. I wanted the power of watching something tangible come together. I wanted to make something cool with the pieces of something else.

But despite all the fervor, the machine sat in that box until two days ago.

I know, I know. But the box became a table of sorts and blended into the furniture and I’d glance over at it from time to time and think maybe, but then I pictured a needle flying inches from my clumsy hand and remembered there are fractions. And I can barely draw a straight line.

Did I mention that I’ve never, ever used a sewing machine?

But then that damned wind blew.


A t-shirt pillow. Now, wait a minute. Here is a thing I could do. I needed to try because sometimes you gotta take the damn thing out of the box, frown at the instructions, lay on the floor and groan at said instructions before saying to hell with it and putting scissor to fabric to cut some shit up. Specifically you’re gonna cut the bottom half of a big shirt so you have two pieces of fabric that are the width of your pillow and 3/4 of the length. This will be the back of the cover. Then you’re gonna cut out that big square of his face for the front.


Maybe you’ll get the measurements right. If you’re me, then you won’t. But you’ll power through, because there’s coffee in the world and six seasons of Parks & Rec on Netflix.



Those pins may or may not have drawn blood as I distractedly stuck my hand in the jar while laughing with Leslie Knope, and I definitely did not cut anything resembling a straight line, but cotton is stretchy, the shirt was an XL, and I not only came to party, I came to finish the damn thing. With the big square on the bottom, right side facing up and the two back ends on top of that facing down (so the piece is inside out, but you knew that) you’re pinning it all together so that the hemmed ends of your shirt will sit at the middle and become the opening to put the pillow inside. Because a pillow is going inside come hell or pricked fingers.


Oh, yeah. We’re finishing. We’re plugging stuff in and turning dials to zigzag cause that sounds like a good time. I put on my glasses, threaded the machine, cursed it in both English and Spanish, and then I put pedal to laminate floor and carefully tried to not sew my finger to my hand.

And something kind of impossible and awesome happened.

No, I didn’t sew my finger to my hand. I sewed the cover for an effing pillow.


A super cool throw pillow.

I totally did a thing and it’s glorious and ridiculous, because look. It’s Perry the Platypus. I covered an old lady pillow with a cover that has the face of a cartoon platypus.


The kids dig it. And now I’m eying everything wondering what else I should cover with a novelty shirt. Or maybe should I make a blanket? I’m not really sure where a lazy, clumsy beginner should go next that would be fun, productive and not so frustrating that I set fire to the machine and cackle at the burning plastic.


Because otherwise I’m going to make a crap ton of pillows.

And why the hell not. The blanket fort will always welcome a good pillow.


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