Sustainable Christmas Project 2: Ruffled Flower T-Shirt Pillow

Hello again! It’s time for the second installment in the sustainable Christmas series. In doing this, I am deviating from the standard topics of this blog to give you a few tutorials on Christmas presents and other accouterments you can make yourself (instead of purchasing them at Target). This project is a ruffled flower t-shirt pillow that is stupid easy and very cheap. Originally found here.

I’m giving this to my sister (-in-law), who is 16 and loves bright colors. It’s a great gift for a teenage girl–especially those ones you might not know very well but are obligated to give something to–but could easily be classed up by using lightweight wool felt and more adult colors.

My apologies in advance for the horrible pictures. I actually made this about a month ago, and did not document it, so I had to Paintbrush it up.


  • Two t-shirts of matching or coordinating color (protip: Goodwill has a contract with Target, so often you can find multiples of the same article of clothing at one Goodwill store. Not only are the shirts cheaper, but the money you spend on them goes to Goodwill and the good work it does instead of to Target)
  • One sheet crafting felt in an inconspicuous color (you can find these in the kids’ crafting section at most craft stores)
  • Coordinating thread
  • 12-inch Pillow form, or polyester stuffing


  • Shears
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sewing machine (or handsewing supplies)
  • Handsewing needle
  • Circular objects (for tracing) of roughly 2 and 3 inches in diameter


  1. Take one of the two shirts and lay it flat on a table or other hard surface. Cut off the hem on the bottom. Measure 14 inches (for a 12-inch pillow) up from the bottom edge and cut straight across. Don’t worry if the shirt itself is wider than 14 inches–as long as it is at least this wide, it doesn’t matter. Set this aside.


  2. Take the other shirt and cut off the bottom hem, same as the previous shirt. Mark out lines in increments of 1.5 inches up from the bottom edge. Cut along these lines to make six strips. Cut each strip along the side seams to make twelve strips.

  3. Round the corners of each strip. Then, baste (like in the last project) down the middle. Tie off one end and gather the strip until it is about half of its original length.Tie off the other end. Fold the strips in half along the stitching. Set these aside.


  4. Trace out four 3-inch and three 2-inch diameter circles on your sheet of felt. Cut these out.


  5. This is where it gets a little difficult to explain in words. With your strips readily accessible, put a glob of hot glue in the middle of these circles (do one at a time). Roll up half an inch or so of one strip and place this on the glue. Keep adding glue and strip in a spiral out toward the edge of the felt circle.Your 3-inch circles will get two strips, and the 2-inch circles will get one. Trim the felt as close to the glue lines as possible. Set these aside. You will end up using eleven strips to make four 2-strip flowers and three 1-strip flowers. If you want, you could make an additional 1-strip flower.

  6. Go back to the square you cut from the first t-shirt. Because your shirt will likely not have perfectly straight sides, you may have to even these out. Cut (or stitch up the sides) so that it measures 14×14 inches. Stitch along three sides and an inch or so into each end of the fourth side, leaving the rest open for stuffing.Clip the corners down and turn right side out.
  7. Insert your pillow form or stuffing into the pillow. Folding the raw edges under, handstitch up the last side with a simple running stitch. 


  8. Take the flowers you made earlier and arrange them on the pillow. Hot glue these in place, making sure to secure them well.


  9. Admire your handiwork. You’re awesome. Give yourself a high five just for the hell of it.

Altogether, this cost me less than $3–I found two matching shirts at Goodwill for $.99 each, and the felt was on sale for $.25/sheet but is usually $.35 or so. I think I had the pillow form, but these are not expensive and you can find them in almost any craft store. If you choose to go the stuffing route, a bag of fiberfill will run you $6 or so. Easy, cheap, and sustainable!

If you aren’t super crafty, you can find some great pillows similar to this one here.

Happy crafting!



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