Curbly Original
How to Upcycle an Old Sweater into a Cozy Knit Pillow

by Rachel Jacks
Upcycled sweater pillow
Photo: Rachel Jacks

Now that the weather is getting cooler in most places, you may be pulling your sweaters from last year out of the back of your closet. And maybe there are a few that you decide won't be making it into your wardrobe rotation. Before you get rid of an unwanted sweater, consider whether it could have a new life as a sweater pillow. Here's how to add a bit of knit texture to your decor by sewing your own sweater pillow.    

 

There are lots of reasons why you might not want to wear an old sweater any more. Maybe the fit, color, or style is off, or perhaps there are stains or holes that developed while it was sitting around unworn (thanks, moths!). Especially if the stains or holes are on the sleeves, you may be able to salvage the rest of the sweater by turning it into a pillow. And if you don't already have a suitable sweater, you should be able to find one at a thrift store. 

I loved the stitch pattern on this dusty pink sweater, but the color and fit just didn't suit me. When I realized that it would look much better in my living room than on me, I started figuring out how to turn it into a sweater pillow. Here's how I did it:

Materials

Materials for making a sweater pillow
Photo: Rachel Jacks

 

  • Knit sweater - You want one with a fairly dense knit stitch. 
  • Pillow form
  • Sewing machine
  • Machine sewing needle
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
If you have a specific sweater you plan to use, be sure to take it with you when you buy the pillow form so that you can make sure you get one that will fit. If you're buying the pillow form online, carefully measure the sweater to make sure that the arm holes, neckline, or any other obstacles will leave you with enough material to cover the pillow.

Step

Sweater pillow step 1
Photo: Rachel Jacks

Turn the sweater inside-out, and place the pillow form inside it. Pin around the form so that the sweater fits it snugly, but don't stretch it out.

 

Step

Sweater pillow step 2
Photo: Rachel Jacks

Cut the sweater outside the lines you pinned, leaving about a 1/2-inch seam allowance. 

 

Step

Sweater pillow step 3
Photo: Rachel Jacks

Sew around the perimeter of the sweater on the lines you pinned. Be careful not to stretch the sweater as you sew, or you'll end up with wavy seams. I like to round off the corners and trim them, so that my finished pillow won't have pointy, empty corners. Be sure to leave an opening for inserting the pillow form! The exact size of the opening depends on your pillow size, but the one here would have been easier to deal with if it had been an inch or two larger. 

 

Step

Sweater pillow step 4
Photo: Rachel Jacks

 Hand sew the opening closed using an invisible stitch/ladder stitch/blind stitch/slip stitch.

Yes, those are all names for the same simple, incredibly useful stitch. If you don't know how to do it, here's a short video that will teach you how.
Finished sweater pillow
Photo: Rachel Jacks

Upcycled sweater pillow
Photo: Rachel Jacks
Upcycled sweater pillow
Photo: Rachel Jacks

Sewing a sweater pillow is much faster than knitting a pillow cover from scratch! Do you  have any old sweaters that would make good throw pillows?

Upcycle an unworn sweater into a knit sweater pillow
Share this project on Pinterest!

 

Want more creative reuse ideas? Here are 30 upcycled organization ideas.

Upcycled organization ideas

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Fun and Colorful Hamburger Cushions.

by Chris Gardner

Love the hamburger bed, but not quite up to the intensity? Get a taste of these hamburger scatter cushions, equally fun all stacked up or spread about.

hamburger cushions Fun and Colourful Hamburger Scatter Cushions

From NotToday's Etsy shop:
"These fun and colourful hamburger scatter cushions are a great addition to any lounge room, or living are!
Each cushion is approx 75cm across the middle, and the two tomato cushions are approx 35cm across the middle.
This yummy centrepiece looks great scattered and...

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MNU: Boxed and Corded Cushion at Home

by Mod Home Ec Teacher

MNU: Boxed and Corded Cushion at Home

Viewing someone's project out of context doesn't always convey it's fabulousness. In my Monday Night Upholstery post yesterday, there was no way to understand how the green cushion would look at home. This morning she sent me this photo of her handmade, three button boxed and corded bench cushion. She can now make boxed and corded cushions whenever she wants to.  Teaching to fish... 

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DIY: Replacing Foam in a Lounge Chair Cushion

by Mod Home Ec Teacher

  

DIY: Replacing Foam in a Lounge Chair Cushion

There's no question that down cushions are high-end and luxurious. The down side (ha! no pun intended) is that they lack resilience and don't provide the springiness many folks want in their seat. The problem with foam cushions is that they get compacted and crumbly after years of use.  Many people ask me how to change out their down cushions to foam, or just replace their flattened out foam cushions. To see a very DIY friendly,

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Easy-To-Make Floor Cushions From Old Sofa Pillows.

by Chris Gardner

The Associated Content circuit has published this useful how-to to make floor pillows from old couch cushions, perfect for on-the-floor dining, video games, or to seat a roomful of little ones. The design is a variation on the envelope pillow, which allows the cushions to be removed and the covers washed, or switched out. The instructions include measurement and pattern making tips, as...

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How-to Insert a Zipper

by Mod Home Ec Teacher

how to insert a zipper

Whether you buy a zipper at the fabric store or use a roll of zipper "tape", the steps for inserting a zipper are really very simple.  You need a zipper foot for your sewing machine.  This how-to shows you how to insert a home dec sort of zipper used in cushions, pillows and slipcovers. The zipper I am inserting here is 40" long and will be the back band or boxing on a window seat cushion.

What you need:

zipper

sewing machine with zipper foot

thread

fabric you're inserting the zipper into

scissors

What you do:

1. cut a strip of fabric 2 inches wider than the remaining boxing

For a 5 inch thick cushion, boxing is cut at 6 inches, allowing 1/2" seam allowance on both sides.  The piece of fabric used for the zipper is cut at 8" and cut in two, lengthwise.

  

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

2. pin two 4" pieces of fabric together, right side to right side and stitch using the longest basting stitch on your sewing machine

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

3.lay zipper on open seam with zipper teeth placed directly on top of stitches

4.pin in place and begin stitching at one end, stitching straight all the way down side, stop, pivot and stitch up the other side

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

5. when finished, backstitch cut thread

6. add zipper tab onto zipper, moving tab down on zipper to open it and get it working

7. fold a scrap piece of fabric in two, making a tab to stitch at top of zipper to keep it from coming off

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

8. flip zipper section over and using small scissors or seam ripper, cut through the basting stitches so zipper is functional

created on: 04/02/08

9. set aside to sew into cushions or pillows

 

If you need to know how to fix a zipper, this ManMadeDIY article covers it in great depth.

 

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Barcelona Cushion Clock [Hackable for sure]

by Chris Gardner

It's about time for the Barcelona Cushion Clock from MonkeyNose:

Barcelona Cushion Clock [Hackable for sure]
 

The cushion is styled after (or to complement?) Miles Van Der Rohe's classic Barcelona Chair:
 
 
Of course, with a battery operated clock movement, some basswood for hands,a pillow or cushion (handmade or purchase), and some clever scissor work and sewing, this could be yours for well under the retail price of £13.95.

 


 

 

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