How to: Make Decorative Throw Pillows from Recycled Sweaters

How to: Make Decorative Throw Pillows from Recycled Sweaters

Hi!! I'm Rebekah from Potholes and Pantyhose, a site where I share and photograph detailed tutorials of my DIY projects, recipes, photography tips, and remodeling endeavors. 

I like to re-invent things around my home, offering a fresh look to a room with little to no cost.

So, I had a couple of old sweaters and old pillows that I no longer enjoyed the orangey-ness of. What's a girl to do, but combine the two into one cute product?     

created at: 02/20/2012

Here's what you'll need to make your own Cutesy Sweater Pillows:

  • Old Pillows or stuffing Old Sweaters 
  • Backing material-I used an old canvas laundry bag 
  • Tape Measure 
  • Scissors
  • Straight Pins 
  • Thread and Bobbin to Match 
  • Button covers (if desired) 
  • Invisible Thread (not pictured here, due to its invisibility) 
  • Sewing Machine  

Start by measuring the width & height of the pillow. If you are using stuffing, determine how big you want the pillow.  

Measure on the sweater the width & height of the pillow and add 3 inches for seam allowance.


For example, my pillow was 14" x 14". I cut out two 17" squares of sweater material.  

Fold the backing material in half, measure and cut out the same sized square as the sweater.


Sandwich the sweater material (right sides facing in) with the backing material. Pin all four layers of material together.  

With a 1 1/2 seam, sew the four pieces of material together on 3 sides only-leaving one side open for the pillow (or stuffing). Cut off the excess seam, snip the four corners and turn the material right side out.  

Stuff the pillow inside of its new home-or add stuffing.

Using invisible thread and a stout needle, sew the opening closed.  

If desired, make a button for the center of the pillow, following the instructions on the button maker box.

Sew the button(s) on with more invisible thread, going all the way through the pillow and pulling the thread tight. This will make the button dimple into the pillow.

For ruffles on the pillow, cut 3-4" wide strips from the sweater, making them 2" longer than the squares of sweater material and backing.

Follow all of the above instructions, except instead of sewing all 4 pieces of material together at once: Sew one side of the backing to the wrong side of the sweater material-leaving two separate pieces total.  

Sew the edges of one side of the potential ruffle using a zig zag stitch.  

Fold over 1/4" of the unsewn side of the ruffle, pinning and evenly spacing each ruffle on the right side of the sweater material. Sew the tops of the ruffles in place.


With right sides of the sweater facing in (backing material on the outside), sew the two separate pieces together on all 3 sides with the same 1 1/2 seam, leaving an opening for the pillow or stuffing.

Cut the excess seam off, snip the corners and turn the material right side out.  

Slide the pillow inside of the material or use the stuffing to fill the pillow out. Use invisible thread once again to sew up the opening.  

Throw them on your fancy pink couch and call it a day.

Thanks so much for having me here today. Please stop by my site, Potholes and Pantyhose, for more recipes, crafts and remodeling projects. I would love to hear from you

- Rebekah

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Hans on Jan 29, 2014:

How many pears of pantyhose will I need to get from the ladies in my family to fill up 1 pillow?

Kandy on Mar 06, 2013:

You are my hero Rebekah!  Thanks for sharing this great idea!  I have (and treasure) a HEAVY, worn, slightly scratchy 90 yr old wool quilt my grandmother made from the fabric of my grandfather's old suits!  So making something new out of something old is an long standing tradition in my family, and one reason why I seem to have a hard time throwing reusable items away!  I LOVE sweaters and what a great way to "keep" an old favorite around a bit longer!  I'm thinking this would make a great  service project for my daughter's Girls Scout Troop; give them away to the local retiremnet homes to add a little warmth and homemade charm to the residence's bedrooms!  YAY! You inspired me <3 God bless ya!

Lisa on Nov 15, 2012:

These are so cool! I just wanted to ask a question about the yellow sweater. Did you do anything different to make the sweater fabric ruffle like that or did that happen when it was cut?

Sarah e on Mar 12, 2012:

I'm a begginer sewer and made a pillow from a button up sweater, so easy...now I just need to keep the kiddos from unbuttoning it!

rebekah-greiman on Feb 27, 2012:


Both sweaters were cotton, I believe. 

Frani on Feb 27, 2012:

May I ask if your sweaters are wool?  If not, what are they?

Catherine on Feb 21, 2012:

What a cool idea on upcycling sweaters -- love it!

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