Army T-Shirt Repurposed

Re-purposing is so much fun and so green.  It is so me. I love to use things that would normally be discarded and use them again, but it is even more fun when it is for your son.

We are so proud of our oldest son who was a drone pilot in the Army.  While he was in flight school someone made these embroidered t-shirts for them. 

He came home for a transition time to the civilian world and when he was preparing to move out, he asked if anyone wanted this t-shirt.  My first response was to inspect the quality of the embroidery, the type of stabilizer and of course, the last stage trimming.  You know, I gave it once over. Then I gave him a hard time because he told me that he would never wear an embroidered shirt.  His come back was that he never did and said, “Mom, did you ever see me wear that shirt?” Well, okay, but I could not throw away someone else’s embroidery and a memento at that. The easiest solution was to make a pillow.  To my surprise he loved the idea.

The t-shirt surprised me though when I was planning what size pillow to make it.  The design was really tucked in the upper corner, very close to the sleeve.  A rectangle pillow would do the trick by offsetting it a little bit in the upper corner as planned; it would look like it was meant to be there.

The embroidery needed as much room as possible so I used the rotary cutter and ruler to make the first cut as close to the neck as possible. 

Then I fussy cut the sleeves out. I could have cut them out first, but by leaving them in tack, allowed me to keep the shirt front and back straight and lined up for that first cut.

After the sleeves came out, I cut down one side and cut the remaining three sides on the front and back. I could have cut the front with the back by keeping them together, but when I had measured I noticed two important things.  First, that the back was larger than the front. Secondly, that the front was not going to make a 12” + 1/2” seam allowance by 16” + 1/2” seam allowance to fit the pillow form that I purchased. I decided to make the front as big as possible 12 ½” by 16” and add the extra seam allowance to the back.  I knew that no one would notice that the seam was slightly pulled forward. The corners were rounded so this knit would not pucker when squared and it would give fullness where the polyfil was lacking, since it did not have the material for a flange or any other time of edging.

This pillow was just to be used as an accent in his bedroom that was grey and with the t-shirt material so flimsy, I opted out of not using my standard zippered closure for a pillow. 

If the pillow was dirty, I just assumed that the pillow form would be too and it was small enough to wash the entire pillow in the machine. Of course, that was the first thing my son pointed out. “Mom, where’s the zipper?”  Technically, that was a good response.  It means we as sewers have done our job well when our family notices when we cut corners. What has your family noticed?