Gift Giving: Lasting Memories

Some time before Christmas my friend Lynn asked me to make a “Memory Pillow” from her father’s old Wrangler shirts and Jeans. I’d heard of Memory quilts but never pillows. Since I’m the queen of pillows I was intrigued and quickly did some research.


These are various ideas that I found on Pinterest, made by various other bloggers/people.

I was reluctant to say “Yes” but I felt like I couldn’t say “No” either… I get major anxiety sewing for other people. Add the memory of one’s deceased father to the mix and I was basically a basket case… but I acquiesced.


Lynn had 8 pairs of Jeans, 1 robe, and about 10 shirts of her father’s that she gave to me for this project. Her only preferences were to 1.) showcase the “Wrangler” logo and 2.)have a pocket on 5 of the pillows that would go to her siblings.


I had no plan of action, really… I cut all the shirts at the side seams, keeping the pockets in tact, and removed the sleeves.


I cut off all the pockets from the jeans and had them on “reserve” for embellishment.


I wanted each pillow to be as colorful and unique as possible. 14 by 14 is a very common pillow form size, so I made sure to cut all the fabric around those measurements.


Lynn had a note she wanted to add in to each pocket of these pillow cases. For the 5 remaining pillows that would go to the grandchildren, I embroidered a message onto them.


For some of the pillows, I embroidered on leftover fabric and appliqued it to a pillow piece before I assembled it together. For others, I embroidered on the material of a shirt sleeve (after opening it up at the seam, ironing, and then cutting it to size). Some I placed on the front of the pillow. Others, I placed on the back. I didn’t want any pillow to be identical.


I was very careful when I cut the fabric. This was a special project and I wanted to be as respectful as I could about it. I didn’t want any part of the shirts or jeans to go to waste.




I was especially proud of this one:


For the back of every single pillow, I used the envelope method. They were all made from a sleeve of a shirt.



This project was definitely a labor of love. I got emotional several times working on these. These aren’t just shirts and jeans. It’s not just fabric. It’s not just a pillow. These are memories… memories of a dear loved one who’s no longer here. This project really pulled on my heart strings.


There was so much material left over that I decided to really get out of my comfort zone and make a quilt top. I didn’t finish the quilt… I just did the top and referred Lynn to a professional quilter to finish it.


Again, I didn’t want anything to go to waste so I cut off all the cuffs from the shirts and found a way to utilize them as well as the extra pockets I cut off.


It’s painfully obvious I’m not a quilter… But Lynn was very happy with how everything turned out and that’s all that mattered to me.

She got pillow forms for the 10 pillow cases I made and gave them to all her family members for Christmas. She reported that everyone loved the finished product and that really made my heart happy! šŸ™‚

I always used to say I’d never sew for other people… but be careful what you say, I guess. You never know when your gift/creativity could be used to bless someone who needs it.


8 thoughts on “Gift Giving: Lasting Memories

    1. Thank you! I never met him… but that’s exactly who he was: very rugged; a cowboy and a man’s man. šŸ™‚ I’ve only seen pictures. I’m glad those qualities of his came across in this project. Thank you for saying it.

  1. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like, to receive something like this, made from clothing of someone I’ve lost – with wording like that embroidered on. It makes me tearful, just thinking about it… What a beautiful way to use your talents x

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