Sewing: Pillow "Country Living" Way

I finally said to myself "ok try to do something constructive tonight". I busted out the sewing machine and stared at it. Frightening.

I wanted to make something and had torn out this article from Country Living a few weeks back. You can find it here. It details how to make a pillow cover from button down shirts.

I had recently gone through my closet that I share with my husband looking for items to donate. (He has no clue I rummage his side looking for things). I came across a couple of shirts and tossed into bag with some of my belongings.

Tonight I dug into the bag and pulled out this white linen shirt (that had never even been worn). I had no idea what I was doing, but figured how hard can it be to follow directions.

3 hours later, I have a pillow. I followed the directions, but I didn't measure my pillow form all that well. What do I know about seam allowance? The first form I tried made the pillow look fat. Picture a fat man at restaurant with his shirt taught and tight. I found a smaller pillow form and sewed new seams.

This is the first time I have sewn anything in guessing close to 10 years. It was like riding a bike navigating the machine, but I learned a lot tonight. (BTW, I skipped step #5).

Couple of hints:
-check your measurements
-iron your seams flat
-clip your corners
-plan for any embellishments ahead of time. I wanted to add ric rack trim but forgot.
-get excited for your next one!

I'd be happy to answer any questions as I didn't take photos along the way. I was way too focused.


  1. Love the pillow! This is good encouragement for me since it's been 10 years for me as well (and I'm shocked by this revelation!) since I've last sewn. I will have to brave my machine soon and try something soon.

  2. Girl, you are good. That is a great pillow. I am impressed and love it. Keep on sewing...


  3. Terrific idea. I might just have to start looking in the clothing section of thrift stores for linen shirts!

  4. What a great looking pillow! It's fun to start and actually finish a project. I wish I had a sewing machine, but I got rid of mine a few years back. But honestly, my sewing skills were nothing to brag about :p


  5. The pillow is so adorable! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I would love to sew this if I could get my hands on a sewing machine. You did a great job!

  6. It looks great! I never would have thought it used to be a shirt!