I'm Janimal, happily gainfully employed Momma to a sweet girl. Livin' it up in Atlanta with a great husband and a good job. Sometimes I make stuff and here's my spot to show it off! Life is good, so I'm sharing....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Toddler Pillow from Ugly Toddler Stained Shirt

Over at Little Blue Boo, there is a contest for making a child's item out of an ugly knit. I LOVE this challenge. I am SO excited about seeing what other people do (no doubt there will be more projects on my list inspired by other entries.)

So far I have three entries. Here is my first super simple toddler pillow from a stained hand-me-down TShirt!

First, the before shot of the shirt.

Not exactly "ugly" but that's because you can't see the stain at the neckline. While it's pretty cool my point and shoot camera helps camouflage stuff like that in pictures, it's hard for me to show details to you friendly blogreader folks. So you have to trust me - there is some ugly stuff on this shirt! It's also too big for Delilah and by the time it does fit her, it'll be the wrong season to wear a Summery T with a peekaboo cutout on the back.

Here is the pillow AFTER shot. Chillin on the toddler sofa with baby.

What helped make this project so simple, is that the original shirt already had a cute design on it. Complete with a fun design, cute little gem embellishments and embroidery. If it had been a plainer shirt, it would have been fun to add some little touches but the design required no further work. Perhaps next time!

From looking, many of you can probably figure out how I did this. But I know when you try something for the first time, it can still be tricky even for something simple like this. I made a mistake as I made this! Yep - such a simple little project and I still messed up. So in this tutorial I show you my mess up and my simple fix.

First, I drew a straight line with a fabric marker across the shirt. And....this was a mistake. What I SHOULD have done was turn the garment inside out first. Ah well, it is a mistake I was able to correct.

I used the drawn line as my guide and sewed right on top of it. The plan here is that this will be the top seam of the pillow. I'll sew the bottom, leaving an opening for turning, along the bottom finished edge of the shirt.

Then I cut about 3/8' away from the stitched line.

I then realized my boo-boo. I should have drawn the line and sewed the seam with the shirt inside out.

So what to do? I turned the shirt inside out, and sewed a new seam about a half inch away, encasing the old seam. This was an accidental french seam!

Then I sewed the bottom of the shirt a few inches on each side, leaving about a 2 inch gap for turning. I sewed right along an existing stitch line.

Then turned it!

After turning, it was time to stuff with polyfil. I tend to overstuff things - but this time I was after a nice soft pillow, so tried to be careful.

The only thing left to do was whipstitch the bottom gap closed. Because I used the bottom of the shirt for the gap, and had stitched along the existing stitch line, I had a perfect line to follow when pinching the pillow closed.

Given the very simple nature of this toddler pillow project, I don't anticipate winning a prize. I have so much faith in the vast creativity of other bloggers who will enter, that I know the winner will just blow us all away! For me, entering the contest isn't as much about winning, as it is the idea of it and the challenge to enter makes me think of doing new things. A week ago I saw this too big stained shirt and thought "oh, that was a cute shirt, too bad Delilah won't be wearing it" - but this week I looked at it and thought "OH, cool contest entry!" - and am so pleased with the result.

Delilah seemed to enjoy a little pretend night night on the pillow.

I have another ugly knit project to show you, where I have taken what might get the prize for the ugliest before pic of a weird sweater. It is now a superduper ugly hat!

The third project I am pretty proud of. I got to use fabric paint, heat n bond, andmy sewing machine to make a rad skirt for my Delilah. I'll show that off when I have a little more time to put it together AND to make sure I get pictures of Delilah wearing it.

If you see a contest online - don't think about winning. Don't think about comparing yourself to the crafty superwomen with mad skillz and their fabulous projects and professional photography. Think about how you are challenging yourself. Think about the cool inspiration you have to create something you might not have otherwise. Enjoy!

And keep in mind, should you enter, I am entering a hideous sweater turned hat that so far my 21 month year old daughter refuses to wear. I can't blame her - it's still really ugly!

Later skaters,


Show and Tell Green


PonyTails and FishScales


  1. WOW, I love that! I love being able to find humor in any situation, can I rent you for a while ? I need someone like that around ;)- Thanks for linking up with us! Glad you did! www.BreeBee.com,following you!

  2. Janimal!

    I’m following you now from Talkin’ 2SDays-No. 79! Please follow me back on my blog “Inspire!”



  3. Awww....so cute! And so is the adorable Princess! Thanks for sharing at It's Party Time Thursday!

  4. What a pretty pillow, and your adorable daughter looks so happy with it :D

  5. Did you make her couch? Recover it yourself? WOuld love to hear if you did and if so if you have a pattern.


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