Pillow Case From a T-Shirt With Screen Print Border

Introduction: Pillow Case From a T-Shirt With Screen Print Border

About: Pinterest directed me to Instructables. I'm not sure if that was a good thing or bad - but now I'm hooked. I have made jewelry since 1988. I have had some designs published, taught jewelry at Michael's Hobby …

I had seen instructions on how to turn a t-shirt into a "pillow case" style jumper. However, the illustrator/graphic artist in me wanted to do some screen printing too. What's better than a wonderful floral border?

Step 1: Materials Needed

You really do not need much else other than the t-shirt (usually an adult large) and whatever you're going to use for the tie strings.

Don't stop there though - go crazy decorating! Add jewels, appliques, iron on transfers - or as this instructable shows - screen printed floral border.

For screen prints you can use any type of t-shirt material. For iron on transfers, I have found that 50/50 t-shirt material is the best. Cotton tends to have too much "moisture" within it that the ink does not adhere well.

When in doubt, read the instructions on whatever image process you are using. 

Step 2: More Advice

I use iron on bonding tape for the small rolled edges to finish off the cut edges. You do not have to use this but I have difficulty making such small edgings with just an iron. It's your preference.

If you're using iron on transfers - make sure you're using a white or off-white t-shirt. Iron on's will not work with most other colors. Even if you're screen printing - make sure you're using OPAQUE inks for darker colors.

Again - read the fine print for the medium you're using.

Step 3: Fold the T-shirt

Fold the t-shirt exactly in half.

Step 4: Cut Out the "dress"

I have drawn a "pattern" for the cutting line. 


Step 5: What Length Do I Need?

I have found out on the internet some basic guiding lengths for "pillow case" style dresses. You can also measure your child from the point where the top of the dress would land (the gathered part) to the hem.

If you are using my pattern - just move it up or down the length of the t-shirt. Use the t-shirt hem as your hem - no need to have extra sewing!

Step 6: Using a Yudu or Screen Print?

I am not instructing on how to do screen printing in this instructable. Nor am I showing how to do an iron on transfer. I will do that in subsequent instructables. It would just add too much information to this instructable.

Prepare your screen print. I have provided you with the screen print image I used here:


Step 7: Position the T-shirt for Printing

I am a cheapskate. The Yudu screen image has two images for two separate printings. For this one I'm using the tall flowers, so I will place the screen so that the flowers are along the bottom.

The image I provided you also has some flowers along the top. This is because screens are too expensive and I use every inch of them. So if you want to use the other flowers for your border, just flip the screen so they're along the bottom.

You may need to tape off any image you're not using. I have become somewhat adapt enough to keep the ink only where I'm printing. Again, I am also cheap and do not waste any ink covering parts of the screen that do not have to be covered.

Line up the hem of the shirt with the border you choose to print.

Step 8: Adhere the T-shirt in Position

Again, Yudu sells sticky paper to adhere your materials to the platen/board. Ms. Cheapskate strikes again and uses packaging tape to keep the shirt in place. I also make scotch tape marker spots on the platen so I know where to position the shirt when I turn the hem around.

You do not have to print the entire border. Do your own thing and print as little or as much as you wish.

Step 9: Ink Your Screen

Prepare your screen per your manufacturers instructions. Again, there have been many more screens introduced on the market so I will not address them all here. Of all the hobby type screens - I prefer the Yudu machine. This is mostly because of the ease of burning the image on the screen and the ability to keep the material registered for more than one ink printing but I will discuss that in greater detail in subsequent instructables.

Step 10: Yippee - Boy Is It Pretty

Carefully lift your screen and check out the image. If it's not exactly where you'd like it, shift the t-shirt position as you turn the hem around the platen/board. 

Ensure that your ink is not drying as you re-position the t-shirt. In other words, don't dwaddle with changing the print area.

Step 11: Keep It Moving

Print and then move until the entire hem border has the image or how ever much of the border you want printed.

Step 12: Do Not Forget to "heat Set" Your Ink!

Read the ink manufacturers directions for how you need to heat set your ink. Most of them require simply ironing the ink - make sure you use some material between the iron and the ink.

If you do not do this, your ink will wash out.

Now you're ready to finish it up with the sewing part.

Step 13: Sew the Armholes

The pictures give pretty complete sewing instructions. Basically the armholes need approximately a 3/8" rolled hem around the raw edges. I used iron on bonding tape to help with that. 

Iron on tape has two adhesive sides. Iron the first on, wait until cool, carefully remove the paper backing, fold into place, and iron one last time.

Sew along the finished edge.

Step 14: Make the Tie String Casing

In the same manner as for the armholes, make approximately a 1" casing for the tie string.

Step 15: Make the Tie String.

Choose the material you wish for the tie string. Material usually comes folded and 45" wide. Leave folded and then fold again. This will make the material about 12 inches and much easier to handle. 

Cut the material approximately 2" wide. Bring over to the iron, fold both edges in towards the middle, iron. Then iron the entire piece in half. Sew down the double edge.

Attach a safety pin to one end and thread through the casing you made on the t-shirt. When it is threaded through, tie a know on each end.

Do this on both sides of the dress.

Step 16: You're Done!

Congratulations! I have been complemented on the professional look of this dress and the material. I will do another instructable focusing on using iron-on transfers to accomplish the same type of look. 

You can find a PDF file, the pattern, and the Yudu screen image all at my website


I will be adding more instructions as I make them. I will also be making more instructables on using iron-on's, screen printing, and more to embellish plain old t-shirts and other materials!

Friend me on Facebook and learn when these instructables are published. Also receive freebies and coupons for images and more.


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    9 years ago on Introduction

    Such a pretty dress! Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day~