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How to Upcycle an Old Sweater into a Cozy Knit Pillow

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.    

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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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