March’s Loot Crate kind of snuck up on me this month, what with Wondercon fast approaching and the So-Cal Renaissance Faire season getting into gear. I suppose it’s fitting, though, since March’s theme was “Covert” and the crate came loaded with spy goodies to satisfy the undercover agent in all of us. Spy notebooks, mad libs, a paracord survival bracelet boasting LC’s colors, an Agents of SHIELD lanyard, an Orphan Black Exclusive comic, a covert blink watch, and a T-shirt of one of the most notorious spies from all time–James Bond–make up this packed kit with lots of things for spy enthusiasts to play with.

J Salvador‘s artwork of a distraught James Bond looks awesome on a shirt, but t-shirts can be transformed into all kinds of fun things. Since I’ve been sitting at my sewing machine for hours on end making sure all cosplay pieces are complete for this weekend, my Loot Crate hack involves some sewing. A sewing machine can be faster, but this project can be done with a handheld needle and thread as well. Today, a t-shirt becomes a pillow. And, since this month’s theme is Covert, we’ve got to include a super secret pocket for storing all of those highly confidential documents.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it……



  • T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Light Colored Marking pencil
  • Sewing Machine/Needle
  • White thread
  • Batting/Stuffing for Pillow
  • White Velcro Strips
  • Unique Stitch; optional
  • Ruler

20150331_114636Begin by flipping the t-shirt inside out. Make sure the shirt is laid out completely flat on your work surface, with sleeve, collar, and hem lined up. It’s time to start slashing. Carefully cut the sleeves off, just inside the seams. Make sure to keep the shirt lined up as you’re cutting, since we’ll be cutting through the back and front at the same time. If that’s too daunting a prospect, you can cut around in a circle and cut each side separately. Remove the sleeves on both side.



20150331_115015Once the sleeves have gone, realign your shirt and grab the ruler and marking pencil. You want to cut across the top of the shirt immediately below the neckline, cutting a straight line all the way across.

We also need to cut off the hem on the bottom of the shirt. You can make your pillow as long as you’d like–we’re only limited width-wise because of the curve of the arm holes. I opted for a smaller “throw pillow” look, making the white space on the top and bottom of my pillow roughly the same.

If you choose to cut off at least 4 1/2 inches from the bottom, trim the hem off the bottom and set that strip aside for use as the pocket later! We’ll fold over the section to make a 5-6 inch deep pocket.

Now, we have to even out the sides. Draw a straight line from top to bottom and cut.


You should have two pieces of squarish/rectangular fabric ready to be pinned. Since we turned the shirt inside out earlier, we have nothing else to do before sewing, so throw a few pins to keep everything secure during transportation and sewing. If you’re using a machine, just a basic stitch set relatively small  about a 1/4 inch from the edge will do the trick. If you’re sewing by hand, a whipstitch is a good method to use.

20150331_122719Before sewing, remember to choose where you’d like your pocket to go–and don’t sew that area yet! It will serve both as the place we’ll insert a pocket and where we stuff our pillow-y filling. The hole should be a few inches wider than the material of your pocket.

Sew the four sides, sans the opening, together. Don’t forget to backstitch on your starting and stopping points to ensure the thread won’t pull out when we’re turning, stuffing, and generally fiddling with the case.

Take your pocket, folded, and slide it into the opening left in your still inside-out pillow. Pin one end of the pocket to the front, and the other end to the back of the pillow. Sew these two points together now. There should still be a gap of at least an inch on either side of the pocket. Leave the sides of the pocket open for now.

Flip the pillow right side out and insert the filling, working around the open pocket.  Use as much as you need to reach the desired fluffiness.


Once the pillow is stuffed, we can finish that edge. Pull the pocket back out and either whipstitch or use a zigzag stitch on your machine to finish the pocket. Push it back into the pillow, finding a space between layers of filling. The remaining space on either side can now be closed with a hand-stitched invisible top stitch. Or, for those who hate trying to sew invisible lines (ME!), grab a bottle of Unique Stitch, or any other no sew substitute, and use that to seal up the remaining openings.





Last, measure your velcro strips to the size of the pocket and attach to the insides so your pocket can close, keeping things secure and disappearing entirely from sight. You can sew these on or use Unique Stitch here as well. Your call.




Toss your new throw pillow onto a couch, chair, or bed, and go forth and turn more t-shirts into soft and comfy pillows!




basic ground rules for each month’s hack: I want my crafted hack to be as widely accessible as possible. I know that everyone does not have two rooms full of crafting supplies at their disposal, as I do, so the intent is to create something using as few and as common supplies as I possibly can. That doesn’t mean I won’t try and do some crazy specialized things if the motivation hits, but there will always be a version that can be easily and cheaply replicated.

This project is done entirely for fun. I have no affiliation with Loot Crate, just a love for their nerdy boxes and the cool stuff that comes inside each month. I appreciate the inspiration that their themes and items allow, as well as the opportunity to play with things I would never otherwise purchase for myself.

Writer. Cosplayer. Binge Netflix Watcher. Anime Dweeb. Book Enthusiast. Harbours inappropriately strong feelings about Shakespeare and William Blake. Once lost a whole day theorizing about Game of Thrones. The most motivated procrastinator she knows. Sometimes it works out in her favor. Mostly just causes widespread panic. It's all good though, because she never forgets her towel.

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