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Old 09-26-2008, 05:28 PM   #1
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Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

By popular demand, a tutorial on how to make prefolds out of old t-shirts.

Disclaimer: the "proper" way to make PFs from shirts is here:
http://fernandfaerie.com/sewing_prefolds.html
This is a great method, and her instructions will make a regular sized 13x17 or so PF much more easily than my method.

I do it the following way because:
1)I need bigger PFs than regular size, and my shirts don't yield big enough cutouts to use the above method
2)I have a lot of small knit scraps to use up
3)I don't have a serger, don't fake serged edges well with a zig zag, and will always choose T&T over serging anything.

Cut out two layers of shirt approximately 1" bigger in each direction than the size of PF you want. This will be your outer and inner, both visible, and will be considered the "pillowcase" component of this method. Be sure to include the finished hem from the shirt on the bottom of your PF:


Make a 2x6x2 PF out of scraps you have on hand, making it slightly larger than the PF size you need. Sew together with a ballpoint needle and zig zag stitch. This doesn't have to be pretty or perfect, it's all on the inside of the PF and no one will see it. This is your "stuffing" component of this method:


Pin the three sides that are not finished hems on your "pillowcase", right sides together. I use a LOT of pins because knit will creep and crawl as you sew, and I'm making a valiant attempt to match stripes here. Using a solid color would be way easier:


Sew those three seams together with a ballpoint needle and zig zag stitch. Look, I went slowly and carefully and the knit did not pucker or crawl. Yay me!


Turn the "pillowcase" right side out. Yay, I succeeded in matching the stripes! Again, solid colors are way easier:


Lay your "stuffing" on top of your "pillowcase". Trim your "stuffing" so it is just slightly narrower than your "pillowcase" and a half inch shorter:


Put your "stuffing" inside the "pillowcase", and pin the top corners so it doesn't move around:


Cut and prep your woven (non-stretchy) embellishment fabric. This particular one is from an old white dress shirt because the knit is already striped, but usually I use a solid color knit and a cute quilting print. I cut a rectangle to size and iron in the hem edges. This embellishment is a lot wider than I would normally put on a PF of this size, but I want to accomodate the pocket so I need a wider piece.


Pin on your embellishing fabric. Because it is a woven, it's not going to stretch, pucker, or pull as you sew and sort of act as a stabilizer. This way, if you are not a highly skilled sewer, you will have fewer mistakes on the outside of the PF:


Sew on the embellishing fabric with a ballpoint needle and zig zag stitch. One side of the stitch goes into the embellishment, one side into the knit only. Look, I went slowly and carefully and no visible flaws from the outside!


I'm not that skilled, so there are a few flaws (puckers in the stitches) on the inside. I don't care, no one will see that side but me.


Optional steps: Your bottom seam is still open on each side, only sewn together in the middle. I don't sew it shut in this one, because with the stripes the stitching will show. You can sew them shut if you want. You can also topstitch the other three edges if you want. Just be sure if you do any of this that it is zig zag stitch, or it won't stretch when you put it on.

Action shots:



And some others I made:

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Last edited by cherylchoo; 09-26-2008 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:07 PM   #2
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

Cute! I dig the pocket square in the back pocket!
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:22 PM   #3
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

That's awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for us!! I can't wait to be able to go to the goodwill to get some shirts!
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:23 PM   #4
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

Must. Get. Sewing. Machine!

Great job and thanks for the tut!
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:06 PM   #5
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

Wow! I love it. You've done some really cute ones. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:46 PM   #6
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

Love this idea! We always use covers on our prefolds so no one sees them anyway. I need to get sewing again
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:53 PM   #7
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

Thank you, thank you, just what I've been looking for.
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:58 PM   #8
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

I love it, thank you! I am just realizing how much softer and more comfty an old tee is even compared to most prefolds!
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:59 PM   #9
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

Does anyone know if microfiber would work for the inside part? I'm needing trimmer pf's for a fabulous pair of wool shorties we just got and that are already too tight with the large pf's.....
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Old 09-28-2008, 06:24 PM   #10
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Re: Tutorial: PFs from Tshirts

I am going to attempt to make some PFs for my son with both your pattern and the one you linked to. I have some smaller t-shirts that I'm going to use your pattern with and some larger ones that I can use the other pattern with.
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