Recycled Tshirt Pincushion Tutorial

Recycled Tshirt Pin Cushion

I started sewing a long time ago. The sewing school is gone, replaced by a car lot.  The styles in those days were simple with tent dresses and A-line silhouettes; with mini lengths.  If I loved a pattern, several dresses were made from different fabrics.  My friends must have thought me batty!  I wish I had a picture.

I sewed through high school and then when my first kid was born.  Smiles cross my face remembering those elastic waist pants for my wee son, sleeping bags for preschool, and school aprons.  I sewed some of my own clothes not using a pattern.  I didn’t know how to draft patterns but I didn’t know that.  Nothing fancy for I liked simple, comfortable clothes.  It was in the days hippies, student protests, drugs and free love.  I'm embarrassed to say that the most radical thing I did was to go ‘braless’.  Oh, no I didn’t burn it…I just didn’t wear one.

Then came a time when I didn’t sew at all … paralyzed by the stress of work, raising kids…spending too much time trying to catch that brass ring. 

As the kids grew, I found more time for ME! Through the years I’ve dabbled in a lot of crafting ~~ crochet, knitting, folk painting, macram√©, beading, paper crafting, craft clay, cross stitching, embroidery, rubber stamping …. But now, I’ve come full circle back to sewing with a decision to pursue it this year. I sewed everyday for a couple of weeks, gaining confidence with each day passed.  And now…I can sew a straight line!! Yippee!!!

Sewing ideas are now popping in my head.  Here’s one for you making a lovely pin cushion out of a white recycled t-shirt.  This project was inevitable given my love for paper crafting and sewing. 

This recycled tshirt project involves printing a design on the tshirt using your ink jet printer.

Step 1 :

Get an old white tshirt headed for the thrift bin.  Iron out any wrinkles. Cut out an 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece.

Step 2 :

You need to provide stability to the tshirt in order to send through the ink jet printer.  There are two options: Iron on freezer paper, shiny side to wrong side of tshirt.  Or as I do ~ Adhere the tshirt to cardstock.  Add double stick scotch tape on all side edges of the card stock to keep the edges of the tshirt flat and to the middle.

Step 3 :

Find your favorite paper ... my favorite is this washi paper covered with kawaii rabbits.  Scan your paper into your computer using your photo editing software.  Edit the colors, brightness, and saturation if you like or just leave as is.  Resize to 8 1/2 x 11 if not already. 

Step 4 :

Place your tshirt into the printer feed, check your printer selection ( I set to 'iron on transfer' ~ not sure if it makes a difference in quality ), then print.  This is the trickiest part in the process.  I had to hold the tshirt piece in the printer feed until the printer was able to recognize it.  It took after a couple of attempts. Note in the picture a side by side comparison of the washi paper and the tshirt.  The photo of the tshirt looks more pink then it is in actuality.  The tshirt (to me) has that washed out looked. 

Step 5 :

Cut out a circle ~ your choice in size.  I decided to make it as big as possible.

Step 6 :

Sew a running stitch about 1/4" in from the raw edges.  Then pull thread as you stuff the pin cushion with filling.

Step 7 :

Gather as tightly as you can.  I stuffed my cushion a lot so there was still an opening at the top.

If this happens to your cushion, simply sew the opening to close.

 Step 8 :

Wrap thread (sashiko, embroidery, or your choice of thread) around the pin cushion, going through the center several times. 

This is the underside of the cushion. I marked 'the center' with a pencil as a guide for poking the needle for that first pull through.

When done, pull thread tightly and secure with a knot at the top.

Step 9 :

Embellish the top of your pincushion with your creativeness.  For my pin cushion I used my old standby for picture taking ... My big head bird amigurumi.


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