Shirt Pillowcase – Step By Step Guide

Here at Birch Creative, we love the idea of upcycling. Turning an old shirt into a pillowcase is a cheap alternative to home décor or a great gift idea that adds a personal touch. In my case, I wanted to give my family a keepsake that we could hold onto the memory of my beloved Grandfather. He was a businessman and so it was only fitting that I made something out of one of his shirts. It is a simple project that is great for beginners (like me!) because there is no need for inserting a zip or buttons. 

Here is what I did:




  • Shirt (I used an XXL)
  • Cushion Insert (I used 45cm x 45cm)
  • Tape Measure/Quilting Square
  • Marking Pins
  • Dressmaking Scissors
  • Thread
  • Point turner



1.   Gather supplies. Prewash jeans to remove any finishes that may interfere with dye absorption.


2.   Estimate the weight of your dry jeans. (If possible, use a food scale.) As a guideline, ½ cup (half bottle) of liquid dye will color up to 500 grams of dry weight fabric. For black or other dark colours, use 1 bottle of dye per 500 grams.


3.   Wet jeans in warm water and squeeze out excess water. The wet fabric will absorb the dye more evenly and prevent splotchy results.


4.   Fill dishpan, bucket or sink with 12 litres of very hot tap water (60° C). Note: If water is not hot enough, heat some water in a tea kettle or in the microwave. Wearing rubber gloves, shake dye bottle and pour into the water.


5.   Measure 1 cup of salt; dissolve with 2 cups very hot water and stir well. Add to dye bath.


6.   Add squirt of dishwashing liquid.



7.    Stir well. Test dye colour to be sure you are satisfied. Note: If colour is too light, add more dye. If colour is too dark, add more water.


8.    Immerse jeans in dye bath and stir continuously for 20 minutes, then occasionally for 10 minutes or until desired colour is achieved (up to one hour).


9.    The longer the jeans remain in the dye bath, the darker the colour will be. (Colour will appear lighter when dry.) Stirring helps to ensure an even colour.


10.  Remove jeans from dye bath and squeeze out excess dye.


11.  Rinse in cold running water until water begins to run clear. Then wash jeans in warm water with mild detergent, rinse, dry and iron.  





It's like having a new pair of jeans!

Until next time,




Bernat 1

To achieve each stripe pattern

  • With MC, work 4 rows.
  • With A, work 2 rows.

With MC, ch 58. 

  • 1st row: (RS). 3 dc in 4th ch from hook (counts as 4 dc). Miss next 2 ch. 1 sc in next ch. *Miss next 2 ch. 3 dc in next ch. (1 sc. 1 hdc. 1 dc) around post of last dc. Miss next 2 ch. 1 sc in next ch. Rep from * across to last 3 ch. Miss next 2 ch. 4 dc in last ch. Turn.
  • 2nd row: Ch 1. 1 sc in frst dc. Miss next 3 dc. 3 dc in next sc. (1 sc. 1 hdc. 1 dc) around post of last dc. Miss next 3 sts. 1 sc in next dc. *Miss next 2 dc. 3 dc in next sc. (1 sc. 1 hdc. 1 dc) around post of last dc. Miss next 3 sts. 1 sc in next dc. Rep from * to end of row. Turn.
  • 3rd row: Ch 3 (counts as dc). 3 dc in frst sc. Miss next 3 sts. 1 sc in next dc. *Miss next 2 dc. 3 dc in next sc. (1 sc. 1 hdc. 1 dc) around post of last dc. Miss next 3 sts. 1 sc in next dc. Rep from * across to last 3 sts. Miss next 2 dc. 4 dc in last sc. Turn. 
  • First 3 rows of Stripe Pat are complete.
  • Keeping count of Stripe Pat, rep last 2 rows of Ripple Pat until work from beg measures approx 45" [114.5 cm], ending with 4 rows of MC. Fasten off.

Note: When joining colours, work to last 2 loops on hook of first colour. Draw new colour through last 2 loops and proceed.

Gauge: 6sc and 7 rows = 4” [10cm]


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