Tag Archive: shirt


Memory Pillow

We all want keepsakes of our loved ones even when, or especially when, they are gone.

My father died four years ago.

I can’t believe it still and I know it happened.

Sometimes I smell his cologne around the house, sometimes it is pipe tobacco.

But I also wanted something tangible of his to hold. That’s when I saw shirt pillows.

pillow chairYou take a loved one’s shirt and convert it into a pillow. To make it easier to wash the insert or replace it, a zipper is placed at the bottom of the pillow.

I took one of Dad’s favorite shirts, with Mom’s permission of course, to make into a pillow. The patterns I saw called for a 16″ pillow. But Dad was a big guy and we came to realize that an 18″ pillow was going to work much better.

Making the pattern was the easy part. I cut out an 18″ square out of newspaper. Originally I thought I was going to make a 16″ pillow and created that patter piece in the same way. But we quickly realized the pockets would be cut on the ends. Mom didn’t want that so I went two inches bigger.

pillow pattern cut outOnce I placed the pattern on the shirt and pinned it down, it came for the really hard part.

I had to cut the shirt.

In cutting the shirt I had to admit to myself just how real this all is. Dad is not coming back. He is not going to come around the corner quacking at me or the kids. He is not going to say “It’s too damn hot” or “it’s too damn cold.”

The door to the house will not open and he will not walk through. Cutting the shirt seemed more final than when we spread his ashes.

I had to wait until I was back home before I threw out the remains of the shirt. I couldn’t do it at Mom’s house where I made the project. All in all, it took me an hour to get the courage to cut around the pattern, giving it a half inch seam allowance.

pillow front stitch downAs I began to work on the shirt, I followed the good advice of my friend, Steve. It was tempting to simply leave the shirt able to open at the buttons. But puckering was a concern. Steve suggested that I sew down the button over lap, making it look like top stitching.

Another great suggestion was to put in the zipper before I created all of the side seams. That way the zipper is in before trying to make it fit. Once the zipper was in, all I had to do was create the side seams with a traditional 5/8 sewing line.

To be safe I did a zigzag stitch along the edges just to make sure there would be no raveling of material. After that, it was a matter of waiting for the pillow form to come from Amazon. Once it did, all I had to do was fluff the pillow form, bend it in half, and zip up the closure.

pillow finished

If I had to do it again, I would top stitch along the zipper for less gap. I can always go back and do that.

I might have used a 19″ pillow to fill out the corners better and to have a more pop of pillow fluffiness.

Otherwise, this went well. It only took a few hours in real time. I did have to take a while since it was the first time I made this project. Steeling your courage without alcohol takes time.

While I have some of his other shirts in quilted flannel, they are not going to get the shirt treatment. They are too warm to cut up.

Still, it makes for a great memory keepsake, especially when you need a little warmth or hug back.

pillow supplies

 

Supplies

1 Shirt

Matching or coordinating thread

Zipper – I had a 16″ zipper because that is what I planned initially. I would go with 1-2 inches shorter than the form size you plan to use.

Pins

Pattern

Pillow Form – On inch bigger than your pattern for a bigger fit.

Seam ripper – for all necessary unsewing

 

Lovely Cinnamon To Wear

A few weeks ago, I talked about watching a classic movie and how I planned to watch another one.

Grace Kelly in the final scene of "Rear Window," Image from clothesonfilm.com.

So the husband and I watched Rear Window, and I marvelled again at the elegance of Hitchcock’s direction, his use of character actors and limited space for a set. Thelma Ritter remains one of the best character actresses – Ever. The movie was fab but then again so was Grace Kelly who showed up in so many wonderful outfits.  

But what caught my eye was in the final scene when all is at peace once more. Kelly is sitting on the day bed, propped against one side reading a book about South Asia until she thinks Stewert is asleep when she pulls out her luscious Harper’s Bazaar magazine. And to show how fashion returns to old favorites, she is wearing a crisp cinnamon button-front shirt. This picture comes from the blog Clothes-On Film which goes into a wonderful explanation of each piece and the meanings behind them.

Beautiful Cinnamon Shirt

All I could think of was how that color has been showing up in magazines and catalogs all over the place and then here it is in front of my eyes. (Like the shirt, go to this etsy site to buy it) Does this mean that whoever started the cinnamon trend had been watching Rear Window

I wonder if the team who designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress had been inspired by Grace Kelly in other ways as well – like a gorgeous cinnamon shirt.  

Well, I am not sure how I will incorporate this in my fall wardrobe. I do have a few items I would like to add to the closet to round out what I already have.

 

Tunic Sweater

1. A tunic sweater, prefereably in a neutral color of oatmeal or taupe so it sets off my dark hair without making my pale skin appear that much paler.

This one comes from the Simply Be catalogue.

Tall Boot

 

2. Tall Boots. These are from Jessica London. I love the look with dresses and jeans that are being shown. The heel is only 2 1/4 inches, which is perfect for a clutzy woman as myself. I can’t decide between black or brown. Brown is more my style, black might be more versitile.

 

Swing coat, image from Gone Funky.mybisi.com.

3. A new fall/winter coat. I really like the swing coat designs and would like a dark green color. Finding one exactly how I want it has been difficult and it looks like I might have to make one out of artic fleece.

I found a pattern at Gone Funky but the site says they are out of stock of this pattern. Perhaps the fabric center will have a suitable substitute.

How are you planning to update your fall wardrobe?