I’m not sure how it’s hidden out this long, but tucked away somewhere amid our nine-year-old’s things was a special t-shirt that he’s had since he was three.
He received it from his grandparents when we were expecting our second child, and Big Bro couldn’t have been prouder. But besides the fact that the print is a little youthy for our lightsaber wielding jedi knight, the shirt is also way too small, like by about five years.
And although he is not even remotely a packrat, there have been a few items over the years that he’s asked to hold on to for sentimental reasons (not the least of which is a shoebox and paper towel tube bango his grandfather made for him years and years ago). We have a special memories tub in the attic for these treasures. But for some reason, Big Bro wants to keep this one visible.
No problemo, right? I could just cut off the sleeves, sew all the openings closed, and voila! we have a mini pillow.
But… then he tells me he doesn’t want me to cut the shirt either. Oi.
Well, since this child of mine rarely asks for anything, I let the little hamster run around the wheel in my head and tried to think of an alternative solution. And then the lightbulb went off: I could create a picture frame pillowcase!
And it was sew simple. Here’s how you can make one too!
First, grab some fabric. You will need three pieces (a front, a liner, and a back) the size of the front of the pillow you are covering (plus seam allowance). Since my pillow is about 12″ x 18″, I cut three pieces of fabric about 13″ x 19″ each.
To do some real technical measuring (that’s a joke), I draped the pillow cover piece of fabric and the t-shirt over the pillow form to get an idea of what size I wanted the window.
You can make your window any size you want, but make sure there is enough cover border to tuck in and hold in place the pillow form when you’re done.
Cut a piece of paper the size you want the finished window to be. [Mine is actually the exact size of a piece of printer paper, 8.5″ x 11″. So no cutting for me: Handy!]
Then fold your paper template down one inch across the top and along one side (this will make for a 1/2″ seam allowance all the way around the window opening.
Next, cut out the window from the center of the cover fabric. [This is super easy if you happen to have a rotary cutter and self-healing mat.]
Then cut the liner window, using either the template again or the cover piece window.
Sew the cover to the liner, right sides together, just around the window. Then clip around the corners like the lines shown above (being careful not to cut the seam you just sewed), to allow the piece to lay flat when turned right side out.
Turn the cover/liner right side out. [The blue marks above show where you snipped the corners, now hidden, in the previous step.] Then sew around the window border to finish it (shown in yellow).
Next join the completed cover/liner, right sides together, with the back piece of fabric. Sew all the way around the border to close the pillow. [There is no need to leave a slit to turn the pillow right side out because you can flip it through the window.]
Flip the pillowcase right side out.
Put the shirt on a travel size pillow (I got this one at Walmart for $3).
Then tuck the t-shirt covered pillow into your finished picture frame pillowcase.
Shazaam! One t-shirt keepsake preserved, uncut, and display-worthy. And since the shirt is not attached to the pillowcase, he can replace the picture in the window with another shirt or even a drawing if he ever does decide he is ready to put this shirt in the memories tub. Bonus!
So, anyone else out there have a great way to preserve a special keepsake? Do tell!