Make a Memory Pillow from a Men’s Shirt

Have you ever wanted to take a piece of clothing and repurpose it into a pillow cover?  When my Father passed away, we were not sure what to do with all his clothes.  So many of what he wore reminded us of different days or events that we shared in his life.  I wanted to take some items and find a way to keep a hold of his memory while utilizing his clothing in the process.  In this tutorial, I will show you how I took my Father’s button down shirt and repurposed it into a Memory Pillow to cherish for years to come!    Let me show you how to make a Memory Pillow from a Men’s Shirt!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 🙂 Read my full disclosure policy here.

Memory Pillow – MATERIALS LIST

  • a Button down shirt
    • Preferably made from cotton (but it is not required)
    • My Dad’s shirt was a size XL, so that gave me a bigger pillow form option.
  • Custom Embroidered Patch (Handmade in America by CR Creations Shop)
  • Pillow Form
  • Shape flex or SF101
    • This is not required, but it definitely gives the pillow cover a sturdier hand

Memory Pillow – SUPPLY LIST

  • Sewing Machine
  • Serger (not required, but recommended)  I use the Brother 1034D.
  • Cotton Thread (I recommend Aurifil 50 wt)
  • Rotary Cutter with sharp blade
  • Acrylic Ruler
  • Sharp Fabric Scissors (this is my favorite brand)
  • Large Cutting Mat
    • I have a VERY large mat, but you really just need something that is a little bigger than the front of your pillow cover.  (try one of these)
  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Sewing Pins or Wonder Clips

Memory pillow – CUTTING & prepping

The size of your pillow cover is going to be limited to the size of your shirt.  Measure the length and width of your shirt to determine the size of pillow form you can use.  My shirt measured 30″ in length  and 26″ in width.  I had a 20″ x 20″ pillow form on hand – so that worked out great for this project!

Before I cut the shirt apart, I buttoned the front of the shirt closed.  Using my favorite fabric scissors, I cut the front of the shirt away from the collar and the back.  I also omitted the sleeves.

Memory Pillow - Cutting the shirt

I cut the back away from the collar and sleeves as well.  Then I used the following measurements when I cut apart my Dad’s shirt.  Again, my pillow form was 20 x 20, so I used the measurements listed on the below chart.

Pillow Form Chart

Memory pillow – sewing and finishing

Next, I followed these steps in assembling the pillow cover.

Memory Pillow Instructions

  • Step 1 – Sew the front of the shirt closed
  • Step 2 – Fuse the Shapeflex to the wrong side of the front and trim to size
  • Step 3 – Fuse the Shapeflex to the wrong side of both back pieces.  Fold a 1 inch hem on each side.  Trip to size.
  • Step 4 – Place one back piece on top of the other so that both hemmed edges will overlap.  This is the envelope opening.  Secure with stitches along the bottom and top edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Memory Pillow Instructions 2

  • Step 5 – Follow the instructions to iron the patch onto the front of the shirt
  • Step 6 – Sew the patch to the front of the shirt.  This is optional (since the patch is technically iron-on).
  • Step 7 – place the back assembled pieces on top of the front (right sides together).  Pin along the edges.
  • Step 8 – Sew the perimeter of the pillow cover, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  You can choose to serge this at the end.  I think it adds a nice touch and finished the cover nicely!

Now all you need to do is turn the cover right side out and install the pillow insert!  Yay!  This repurposed shirt is being gifted to my big brother.  You guessed it, his name is Shad!

Memory Pillow Cover - Finished Collage

You should make a Memory Pillow cover too!  I have a fun giveaway to get you ready!  All you have to do is comment below and tell us what you plan to repurpose and you will automatically be entered into this random drawing.  One lucky winner will receive one Custom created memory Patch from CR Creations Shop!  

Memory Pillow Giveaway

I will notify the lucky winner next week and get the custom embroidery details plus shipping info.  You can comment multiple times to enter.  Each new comment is an additional entry.  You can even enter on my Instagram and Facebook comments!  See my patch for all the contest rules.

I can’t wait to hear what you have planned!  Comment below!

Until next time – Happy Sewing!

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9 thoughts on “Make a Memory Pillow from a Men’s Shirt

  1. Becky says:

    That patch is really neat! I would like to make a pillow from my Grandma’s tablecloths. I wonder if that shop could change up some of the words to make that work. What a great idea for a Father’s Day gift!

  2. Claudia says:

    Thanks for the giveaway chance! I would like to make something for my Father with one of my Mother’s shirts. My Mom passed away a couple years ago. I think my Dad would really like that!

  3. Jillian says:

    This may not be Father’s Day related, but I would like to make something like this for my daughter from my own Mother’s clothing. We recently moved away from the town my Mom lives and my daughter misses her Grandma. I think this might be a nice thing to make for her.

  4. Mary Sue Owens says:

    Children really like Father’s Day…great idea for this time of year. I am going to see what I can find of my GRANDS other Grandfather to make them a pillow. The oldest will especially like the idea because she has such great memories of her Timpaw. She is setting up her first apartment this fall when she goes back to school. Thanks!!!

  5. Nancy DeRodeff says:

    I saved a lot of Dad’s and Mom’s clothes. I had hoped to make quilts. Maybe someday in the future. This is a project I could do now! The sentiment is lovely. Tears.

  6. Suzen says:

    This is amazing creative work. I appreciated your clothing ideas for DIY. I really love your blog. You always come up with new ideas.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Janie Jones says:

    Dad passed 9/11/18. He and Mom had been together 62 yrs. She turns 90 This week. She has dementia is taking it very hard. Had estate sale this weekend and must do another and sell home. Not an easy thing for her to see her memories of their life together leaving all within 2 months. Think this pillow with message would help her immensely. I can make the pillow, no problem. Thank you in advance.

    • Nicole Moore says:

      I’m sorry to here of your father‘s passing. Losing a parent is never easy and going through their belongings makes it that much harder. I’m glad you have found this tutorial helpful and I hope you’re finished memory pillow to your mother and the days ahead. Hugs 🤗

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