Upcycled Memory Pillow

My parents had a lovely couple as neighbors…they lived next to them for many years. While they didn’t see me grow up, they did spend time with my son, now 20, over the years. They have always been very special people to our entire family.

These neighbors spent their working careers traveling the world. One of the countries where they lived for many years was Indonesia. Knowing how much I love of Indonesian textiles, I had been gifted with a hand drawn tulis batik shirt from them. It was very well worn (the cotton is SO soft!), very well loved and had always been a favorite, but once the wear resulted in holes, it was retired. The shirt was sewn out of the most beautiful fabric — I loved it!

Tulis batik shirt, a treasured garment from Indonesia

Just before Thanksgiving of this year, the owner of the wonderful shirt passed away suddenly. As a gift to his spouse, I decided to use the shirt to create a special pillow she could keep in his memory. I added one of our Jaka fish batik block (like the ones used in our Row by Row Experience kits, which have just been added to the store) and some additional batiks and other fabrics from the shop to supplement the shirt fabric.

Deconstructed Tulis batik shirt

I began by completely deconstructing the shirt, cutting the seams, and un-hemming as much as I could.

Deconstructed Tulis batik shirt

I added a wide stripe of this beautiful tulis shirt fabric around my log cabin fish batik block.

Tulis batik and fish log cabin memory pillow

I love how this very old and treasured garment coordinates so well with the new batik fabrics!

Using the front of the shirt as the back of the pillow

What I think was the best idea was my using the front of the shirt with its buttons and placket to be the back of the pillow. The existing buttons and button holes are now used to open and close the pillow cover. (Brilliant if I may say so myself!)

Using the front of the shirt as the back of the pillow

The finished back:

Using the front of the shirt as the back of the pillow

The pillow form used is is 24×24″ and the finished pillow, seen here, is 20″ x 20″.

Completed tulis batik fish pillow

I hope this post inspires you…creating a quilt or pillow out of fabric gleaned from clothes of a loved one is a wonderful way to remember them!

It’s not too late to post a comment on last week’s posting, or below, to be entered into a drawing to be mailed one of my mixed media cards…new photos of additional cards will be posted next Wednesday too!

One Comment to “Upcycled Memory Pillow”

  1. Pat Vincentz

    The pillow Judy made for my neighbor is beautiful and my neighbor loves it. She was amazed how personal and wonderful it felt. She said that it was going to get a lot of HUGGING.


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