Transform your old clothes into beautiful and comfy pillows with this easy DIY project. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also gives your vintage pieces new life.


Pillows can easily spruce up any space and provide extra comfort. However, some pillows can be quite pricey. Making your own using materials you already have is a smart way to save money. Old clothes like t-shirts, dresses, and jeans work great for DIY pillows. Their soft, worn-in fabrics make them perfect for resting your head on. Upcycling vintage clothes into pillows is also a sustainable way to decorate.

Benefits of Making Pillows from Vintage Clothes

  • Cost-effective: Repurposing old clothes avoids buying new materials. The only other things you need are pillow stuffing and thread.
  • Eco-friendly: Giving worn items renewed purpose keeps them out of landfills. It’s a green, zero-waste craft.
  • Sentimental: Transforming pieces with memories attached makes cherished keepsakes.
  • Unique: Vintage items have one-of-a-kind prints, graphics, and fabric patterns. Each pillow will be an original.
  • Comfortable: Well-worn, soft fabrics feel great to lounge on. The familiarity also evokes coziness.

What You’ll Need

Gather these supplies before starting your vintage pillow project:

  • Old t-shirt, blouse, dress, jeans, or other clothing item to upcycle
  • Pillow stuffing – polyfill fibers or alternative materials like feathers
  • Needle and thread that matches the fabric color
  • Scissors
  • Pencil and paper for pattern
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine (optional)

Choose fabrics with fun graphics or embellishments to decorative accent pillows. Opt for soft, lightweight materials for plush, nap-worthy pillows.

How to Make the Vintage Fabric Pillow

Follow these simple steps to sew your own vintage throw pillow:

1. Create the Pattern

  • Lay the clothing flat and cut off any unwanted parts like collars or sleeves.
  • Place your paper on top and trace the outline.
  • Decide on your desired size and shape, adding at least 0.5 inch for seam allowances.
  • Cut out the pattern.

2. Pin and Cut the Fabric

  • Fold over the edges 1 inch and press with an iron.
  • Pin the pattern to the fabric, lining up any prints or details.
  • Carefully cut around the paper template.

3. Sew the Pillow Front

  • Align the fabric with right sides facing in.
  • Sew along the edges, leaving an opening for turning and stuffing.
  • Trim excess seam fabric, if desired, and iron flat.

4. Fill the Pillow

  • Turn the pillow cover right side out.
  • Stuff evenly with polyfill through the opening.
  • Add more or less depending on your preferred firmness.

5. Close the Opening

  • Fold in the raw edges of the hole so they align.
  • Sew it closed either by hand or with a machine.
  • Add a few more stitches for security and visual appeal.

And just like that, you have a trendy new throw made from recycled materials! The steps can be adjusted and personalized to suit your skill level and design. Follow your creativity and have fun repurposing vintage finds into comfy, eco-pillows.

Tips for an Attractive Pillow

Implement these extra tips for a pillow that really pops:

  • Add fun trim, lace, buttons, or ribbons around the edges.
  • Insert a layer of batting for a fuller shape.
  • Use patterned fabric for the pillow back.
  • Customize the size and shape – triangle, rectangle, heart, etc.
  • Sew a contrasting band of fabric around the seams.
  • Highlight graphic tees or prints by centering them on the pillow.
  • Match pillows to your room’s color scheme.

Vintage Fabric and Clothing Ideas

Virtually any soft fabric can be upcycled into a pillow. Here are some specific vintage items to look for:

  • T-shirts from bands, brands, sports teams, etc.
  • Floral dresses, blouses, or skirts
  • Old jeans – back pockets and embroidered designs
  • Lace and silky slips or nightgowns
  • Crochet, knit, or handmade sweaters
  • Statement printed scarves
  • Tablecloths and curtains

Get creative browsing local thrift stores and reuse what you already own. Sources like friends and family may have old garments to donate to your project as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t know how to sew?

You can hand-sew the pillow, use fabric glue on the seams, or ask a crafty friend to help with machine sewing. There are also no-sew methods like using iron-on vinyl.

How do I determine how much stuffing to use?

Add polyfill until the case is full but not over-stuffed. Gently squeeze to gauge the firmness. Erring on the less stuffing side makes a softer pillow.

What fabrics should be avoided?

Steer clear of rough fabrics like wool or burlap that could irritate skin. Very thick, heavy materials will also be harder to sew and stuff. Stick to light to medium weight fabrics.

Can I make a pillow without any sewing?

Yes! Look for quick no-sew methods like hot gluing or iron-on vinyl. You can also knot the corners of a fabric square to create a pillow pocket.

What other vintage items could I repurpose into pillows?

Check out old sheets, table runners, tapestries, socks, neckties, handkerchiefs, curtains, towels, blankets, and quilts. Get creative with materials on hand!


Upcyling worn out apparel into gorgeous throw pillows gives them a fresh new purpose while adding comfort and style to your home. This eco-friendly project is also a budget-friendly alternative to store-bought pillows. With a few simple tools and basic sewing skills, you can easily turn vintage finds from clothing to decorative accents. Let your creativity run wild combining fabrics, textures, colors, and shapes. Personalize pillows to complement your interior designs or as heartfelt gifts. Whatever your style, a DIY vintage pillow adds cozy charm anywhere you place it.