Earlier this week I talked about upcycling and a company I really admire for their eco-responsibility as well as their creativity in using travel related decommissioned items that they make into new travel related gear. This inspired me to try my hand at a bit of upcycling.

Last March I went to Milwaukee’s Urban Garage sale that brought together a bunch of local retailers to help them move inventory at highly discounted prices. One of my favorite local graphic t-shirt companies was there with tons of t-shirts to move at $5 a pop. I grabbed a few, including one that had a gaping hole at the shoulder that I didn’t notice at time of purchase. Since the rip was beyond repair or turning into some sort of tank-top, it sat in my drawer for a while. I liked the design too much to throw away or turn into rags.

Heavy Rotation T-Shirt

Come summer, my mom and I were discussing fabrics for a certain quilt she’s making that includes pretty much all Amy Butler Fabrics. One of the pattern design colors didn’t quite go with the others, so that yard of fabric (Acanthus from Sun Glow in color Duck Egg) was off-loaded to me.Amy Butler Acanthus Fabric

I now had something to work with. What to do with these two pieces? I had a 20″x20″ pillow that needed a cover so I decided to make a pillow slip!

Here’s what I did:

  • Cut the t-shirt front and it’s back into a square and reinforced it with a piece of white cotton (non-knit) on the back (so that it wouldn’t stretch when I attached it to the other fabric). This made three layers of fabric total for the middle square.
  • Added a border of the Amy Butler Fabric in a (very) semi-log cabin square around the t-shirt design.
  • Before attaching the back pieces of the pillow to the front, I hand stitched around each of the birds to make them pop a little more from the pillow.Hand Stitching on Upcycled Pillow
  • For the back of the pillow, instead of dealing with zippers or velcro,  I made over-lapping flaps that served as the back opening/cover (all out of Amy Butler Fabric).Upcycled T-Shirt Pillow

While my upcycled creation isn’t quite travel related, I was happy with how it turned out. Maybe next time I’ll make a traveling neck pillow instead!

I’d love to hear or see your upcycled creations…send them in and I’d be happy to post them!

- Colleen