Dyed Pillowcase Shirt

Happy Friday everybody! Hurray for the weekend! I'm still getting used to juggling everything, so sorry that it's been so long since I've updated, but I have some great projects coming up for you guys!

First just wanted to let you know, BIG summer sale at Nonpareil Home -- most of the pillow covers are marked all the way down to $19 to make way for new inventory! Head on over and grab them before they're gone!

Today I have a pillowcase shirt DIY for you guys!

 So my mom is moving out of her house and I've been helping her pack and get rid of things.  She is a craft author and artist so she has a lot of supplies and materials with the attitude of "I'll use it in a project someday!"  Okay, we have very different ideas about what should be saved, versus what should be thrown in a fire and never looked at again. I had been putting almost everything in the "Throw Away" pile and shoving things into trash bags when she wasn't looking.  But when I came upon these amazing 1970's pillowcases, my mom immediately held out the trash bag and I had to be the one saying, "But I'll use it in a project someday!"

Okay, I probably just have some weird childhood nostalgia with these things because, they really are just old 70's pillowcases, but I had to keep them and make something with them!

This shirt was too easy to make and turned out so cute! Dig those old pillowcases out of your closet or maybe even hit up the thrift store to make one of these cute shirts for yourself! I ended up dyeing mine so it didn't look too pillowcase-y, but feel free to skip that part if you already have a color you love.

 Dyed Pillowcase Shirt DIY

What you'll need:
  • An old pillowcase
  • Fabric Dye (if you want to dye your pillowcase)
  • Gloves to protect your skin
  • A pot
  • Water
  • Bias tape
  • Thread
  • Pins

Some dye tips right off the bat:
  1. Wear gloves, an apron (or old clothes), and have some paper towels handy.  Especially if you are using powdered dye (as opposed to liquid) these little crystals can get everywhere even when you think you're being so super careful.  Make sure to work over the sink or a paper towel when pouring powdered dye.
  2. Use a pot that will not be used for food.
  3. Bring powdered dye to a boil to dissolve the crystals.  If you don't, sometimes you can get little chunks of dye that don't dissolve and leave a big spot on your lovely fabric.
  4. Always test a strip of fabric before chucking the rest in--you'll be glad you did, especially if the dye is darker or lighter than you thought! If it is too dark, add a bit more water; too light, add more dye and bring back to a boil.
  5. Wipe down all surfaces with a wet rag or paper towel after dyeing--you'll be so surprised what you pick up, even when everything looked clean.
  6. Have fun! Dyeing really isn't scary, you're just playing with colors, so have a good time!

How to dye the pillowcase:

1. Put about 2 cups of water into your pot.  I do this first because sometimes when you add water after powdered dye, the dye kind of sticks in the crevices of the pot instead of incorporating.  Prepare your dye according to the instructions on the box or bottle.  For mine, I just wanted a light tint of color, so I just used a small spoonful of tangerine and yellow dye and put it into a pot with about 8 cups of water.  My dye instructions also had me add some salt--I added about 1/8 cup.  Put the pot on the stove and bring to a boil.

2. Lower the pot of dye to a simmer.  Test a strip of fabric in the dye (leave it in for about 2 minutes).  If it is too dark--add a little more water to the dye, if it is too light, add a little more dye and bring back to a boil.

3. Get your pillowcase wet, wring it out, and then add it to the dye pot.  At this point you can also add your bias tape to the pot if you need to dye it.  Leave it in until you get the color you like.  Keep in mind that when you rinse it out and dry it, the color will lighten a little bit.

4. Take your pillowcase out of the dye and rinse it out in the sink until the water runs clear.  Wash it in the washing machine (alone!) and then dry it.

How to sew the shirt:

1. Now your pillowcase will become a shirt! This step will depend a lot on your size and what you want your shirt to look like (sleeves? no sleeves? V-neck? Crop top?) REMEMBER: This pillowcase is not stretchy.  Make sure you leave plenty of room so that the shirt will slip over your head.  An easy way to know how to cut your pillowcase would be to lay out a non-stretchy shirt that you like over the pillowcase and trace the shoulder seam, sleeve, and hem.  What I did: Laid my pillowcase flat.  Cut a neck hole (I just cut through both layers so it was the same on the back and front--makes it easy!).  Cut a sloped shoulder seam (if you don't do this, your sleeve will stick straight out instead of following your shoulder.)  For the sleeves I just cut slightly into the pillowcase sides for arm holes, then I also cut my hem to be rounded.

2. Try it on and see how it looks! Adjust if necessary.

3. Sew the shoulder seams together, right sides together.  Iron the seams open open.

4.  Hem the bottom of the shirt by ironing the bottom seam up 1/2" and then again another 1/2"and stitching along the edge.  Do the same on the sleeves.

5. Use the bias tape to finish off the neckline.  Sandwich the raw edge of the neckline in between the bias tape and pin.  To finish the area where the ends of the bias tape meet, trim one side (I trim it to a point so that there is less bulk when I fold it), fold it back on itself, lay it over the other raw end of the bias tape and pin.

6.  Stitch the bias tape along the edge to finish the neck.  Iron all of the seams.

You're done! Now you have a fun new shirt made from a old pillowcase that your mom wanted you to throw away.  Congratulations!

And just as a little bonus: I found this while I was editing the photos, and this is the proof of why I should NEVER be a model or fashion blogger of any kind:

 Hahahaha! How am I so cute all of the time?


  1. bahaha, that last pic made my day. Ps. I remember sleeping on that pillow case and when I was younger I thought it was the ugliest thing in the world.

    change of heart, I want.

    1. I know right? That pillowcase is fugly but awesome at the same time. It makes a good shirt, maybe not such a good pillowcase.

  2. Rachel!!! I slept on that thing for like five years of my childhood! When I saw it, I had a serious flashback moment. Seriously, that thing is like 40 years old.

    1. Hahahaha I can't believe it is that old! I love it.

  3. I even remember that pillow! You gave it the awesome treatment, love it!!

    1. Thanks Bren! So funny that everyone in the family remembers this pillowcase! Haha!

  4. Super, duper cute!! You know how I feel about vintage bedding...So many possibilities! I love the dying addition, it really does take it from pillowcase-y to clothing. I'll have to remember that. :)

    1. I know, I was totally thinking about you when I made this! Especially about those cute new dresses you made for you and Hannah.