How to Sew a Lumberjack Pillow from a Flannel Shirt

LumberjackPillow NancyZieman First

How to Sew a Lumberjack Pillow from a Flannel Shirt

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LumberjackPillow NancyZieman First

Here’s a recycled-garment pillow project that we call the Lumberjack Pillow. It’s a great beginner sewing project.


Cutting Instructions:
  • Unbutton shirt and turn wrong-side out.
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  • Follow manufacturer’s directions to apply tape.
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  • Edgestitch the lower center front placket.

Note From Team Nancy3


Our plaid flannel shirt had a back pleat. To avoid puckering, we topstitched the entire back pleat closed. 

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  • Center pillow form inside shirt. (Notice the shirt is still wrong side out.)

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  • Button the shirt completely.
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  • Pin shirt parallel to the pillow form edges along the right, left, and bottom edges.
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  • Pin through the sleeve, closing the armhole area.

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  • Cut along the marked chalk line.

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  • Use a straight stitch and 1″ seam allowance to sew right, left, and bottom edges.

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  • Try the shirt on the pillow form.
Note From Team Nancy4
Fine tune the fit of the shirt around the pillow form. A loose shirt may look sloppy and it is quite easy to turn the shirt wrong side out to remark/stitch a tighter fit.
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  • Cut a 13” x 10” square of contrasting fabric to fill neckline area. Press under ½” along the 13” sides.

Note From Team Nancy5


 If the flannel shirt size is XL, it may be necessary to use a larger rectangle of fabric to cover the opening in the shirt. 


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  • Pin the midpoint of one 13” side to the center back of the neckline seam where the collar is attached to the shirt.
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  • Continue to pin approximately 3” from each side of the center back.
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  • Edgestitch the rectangle to the shirt where pinned along the collar or neckband seam line.
  • Trim excess seam allowance from pillow sides and lower edge.

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  • Fold the seam allowance to create a “wrapped corner” at the lowered edges. Stitch in place.

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  • Turn the shirt right side out.
  • Insert the pillow form.
  • Button the shirt and tuck the contrasting fabric in place.
  • Use an invisible hand sewing stitch to secure the contrasting fabric along the shoulder and center front.
Ta-dah! The pillow is finished!
LumberjackPillow NancyZieman First


Happy Sewing,

Team Nancy Zieman

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC.

Nancy Zieman Productions, LLC

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  • Lillian K
    March 8, 2016

    I got a little “lost” with the instructions when the contrasting insert was put into the shirt. Is there a video tutorial for this project?? It would help. Cute pillow idea, though. Thanks.

  • Rebecca Monnin
    March 8, 2016

    I’ve seen the Lumberjack Pillow and have wondered ever since regarding the “how-to”, thank you for the great instructions and pictures! This would be a good project to be a remembrance of someone who’s died, using one of their shirts.

  • Rebecca Monnin
    March 8, 2016

    I’ve seen the Lumberjack Pillow before and wondered how to make it. Thanks for the excellent directions and pictures! This would be a thoughtful gift of remembrance to make for someone who’s lost a family member. If I still had any of my father’s shirts, I’d make this as another way to remember him.

  • Pat
    March 8, 2016

    Thanks for this idea. My husband died in June and I am left with many wonderful wildlife motif shirts that are in excellent condition. Now I know what I can do with them.


  • Cindy Hertel
    March 8, 2016

    Great idea for a pillow. I did something similar last Christmas. I made a T-shirt pillowcase for my grandson. I used a shirt with his favorite band, cut off the sleeves and stitched the armholes closed, then I used one of the sleeves to enclose the neck area. It looks really cute to prop the pillow vertically on the bed.

  • Noreen
    March 9, 2016

    Hi! Nancy, and thank you for being such a great instructor of sewing!!! I am lost as to where you place that insert. Is there any video available? I would sure appreciate it! Thanks and hugs@

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    October 28, 2017

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  • milad shooli
    October 27, 2018

    This is an excellent idea, I love flannel and plaid shirts, and you can find my last article about warm flannel shirts and how to wash and dry them! I think the best plaid flannel shirts are buffalo plaid, I love to wear them in the fall and winter!

  • cathy
    May 2, 2019

    Nancy I am searching for pattern for memory pillow with collar and sleeves. My father just passed away and I was hoping to make a pillow out of his flannel shirts. I found a pattern online for lumberjack, it had collar and sleeves. And the sleeves were stuffed also so it lookes like he is giving a hug. But I lost it when the computor shut down. My parents are both gone now and I don’t have much to show for them being here…

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