Repurpose Button-Up Shirts Into Pillow Covers

Transforming old button-up shirts into pillow covers is a creative way to repurpose your old shirts and can also serve as a wonderful remembrance as a gift to a friend or loved one.

These pillow covers are so easy to make, requiring just 4 straight seams. You don’t even need to worry about leaving an insert opening because the button-up front serves that purpose!

finished pillows

Materials Needed

  1. Old or new button-up shirts
  2. Fabric scissors
  3. Sewing machine or needle and thread
  4. Measuring tape or ruler
  5. Pillow inserts or stuffing
  6. Fabric chalk or pen

Selecting Your Shirts

You can really use any button-up shirt, with pockets or without. Thick fabrics like denim or flannel work great. I found these shirts at Walmart, there are lots of really cute plaid shirts out right now.

This is a great way to utilize shirts with some sentimental value to give as gifts. Make sure you wash and dry the shirt before beginning.

Measuring and Cutting

Lay the shirt flat and measure the size of your pillow insert. Add 1/2 inch to each side for the seam allowance. Mark and cut the fabric accordingly. Remember, the button placket will serve as the opening of your pillow cover, so align it in the center or as desired.

Cut an identical size piece from the back of the shirt.

Sewing the Pillow Cover

Place the 2 pieces of fabric right sides together and sew a 1/2 inch seam along all four sides. Press the seams open.

Adding the Pillow Insert

Turn the cover right side out through the button placket. Insert your pillow or stuffing, and button up the shirt. If you are interested in the best down inserts, read this.


  • Mix and match different shirts for a patchwork effect.
  • If you don’t like the look of a pocket on the front of your pillow you can easily remove the pocket from the shirt before beginning.
  • Consider using shirts with memories, like a loved one’s shirt, for an emotional touch.
  • If you’re not into sewing, fabric glue can also be an alternative for assembling the covers.

This DIY project proves that with a bit of creativity, you can transform everyday items into something special and sustainable. Happy crafting!

If you liked this post you might enjoy DIY pillow covers for beginners or envelope pillow covers. Both of these ideas are beginner friendly and are removable covers with no zipper or buttons.

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