What To Do With an Old Sweater

Say you have a sweater you no longer want. Maybe you put it in the washer and it shrunk, maybe it has holes, maybe it’s starting to look to worn or maybe someone gave it to you and it’s not your style. What can you do with it….let’s make it into a pillow!

Step 1 – get the sweater. If it’s wool you can put it in the washer and dryer and felt it (it reduces the wool fibers so that you get a more solid piece of fabric that shouldn’t unravel when you cut it- it shrinks). My sweater in the picture above is acrylic so I just cut and sewed.

Step 2 – find yourself a pillow. Most of my pillows have pillow slips that I can take off but any pillow will do as long as it fits on your sweater. Make sure you leave yourself enough room for a seam allowance.

Step 3 – Cut around your pillow and then put right sides together to sew er up!

**One of the good things about not really knowing how to sew is that you don’t know enough to be concerned about tension and stitch lengths and whatever! So never mind that and just go for it. You can always take it apart and start over – it’s only thread!

Step 4 – I sewed up two sides and then I stuck the pillow in it and pinned up the other two sides. I did that so that the fit would be snug. If you were more meticulous in your initial measuring you can probably skip this step and you obviously know what you’re doing!

Step 5 – sew the remaining sides – only on the fourth side don’t sew all the way across. I sewed about 2 inches in on each side to leave room to stuff the pillow in. Now turn it so that the right sides are facing out – put your pillow in – and hand stitch up your opening. And BAM! Well…about 20 minutes later….You have lovely one of a kind sweater pillow!

diy sweater pillow
diy sweater pillow

If you know what you’re doing you can of course add buttons or a zipper for the closure otherwise you’ll have to do like me and just cut it up to get your pillow form out when you’re finished with it. Unless you really, REALLY love it and want to keep it forever! Which you might because it is so cute! So now that I see how easy it is, I’m on the look out for one of those great white fisherman’s sweaters at the thrift store. I think that would make a great pillow for winter!

If you’d like to learn how to make the cute sweatertotespictured above, the instructions are in the January 2009 issue of Country Living (They’re each made from one sweater with cute mitten pockets). Hey, you could make mittens out of old sweaters. These would make really cute Christmas gifts and sew easy:-)!

Speaking of pillows…look what came in the mail right after Christmas from my dear friend Phyllis For The Love of Vintage– cute little gingham pillows and a door hanger!

Thank you Phyllis – I love them! They look great on my window seat! I might be able to start painting today since it’s sunny and not too windy. Come back on Monday for Thrifty Decor Chick’s Mission: Organize & Declutter (it’s not too late to sign up – there’s a button on the top of my sidebar). Have a good weekend everyone!

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  1. Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio says

    LOVE IT!! I am now on the mission to find some cute sweaters! Actually I saw an article years ago about turning sweaters into pillows and they use a button up the front cardigan! That way you can unbutton it to take the pillow out, and the buttons added a little extra touch!

  2. Lisa says

    The sweater pillow is a great idea. It’s funny, because as I was reading about the pillow, I was thinking about leaving a comment about Country Livings’ sweater totes. Both are great ideas!

  3. sandra/tx says

    Manuela, I love that idea. Pottery Barn has some large pillows made of creamy cable knit. On sale they’re $25, and I’d need four. Rather than spending even that much, I’m considering trying to find a knit throw to repurpose. We’ll see. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. busha2 says

    Love your idea, I sew, here is an idea so you can reuse your pillow forms–stitch velcro on the last seam, then when you need to change for the seasons etc, it is easier.

    Love your blog, enjoy reading and seeing all the decor.

  5. glorv1 says

    I too love that idea. Buttons would be cute on it. They have all kinds of buttons at craft store and even at Walmart I seen a few. Thx. for sharing.

  6. Vee ~ A Haven for Vee says

    I’ve got a sweater in mind for the bag that was featured in “Country Living” but so many of my old sweaters are acrylic that I’m thrilled to learn that I can do something like this. How wonderful! Thank you for sharing your clever idea.

  7. Emily says

    I just LOVE all your ideas! Your decorating is fabulous! The pillow idea is so cute! Thank you for sharing this with us.


  8. Rambling Girl says

    OMGoodness…I love this…I have several sweaters that I don’t wear and are just hanging in the closet and a brand new sewing machine that has not been used much…I am so going to try this out and will show you when I finish.

  9. Jill -Forever and Ever House says

    Oh! This is the greatest idea I have heard in 2009!! lol!! I LOVE it! Frugal and lovely!! I am going to add it to my to-do list!

  10. Betsy says

    This is a great idea! Love the idea of finding the sweaters at the thrift store and the mitten pockets on the bag are so cute!

  11. Linda's Blue Gate says

    Well…. I’ll be….. that is so cute… I love it…hummm I have a cute christmas sweaters that this would be so cute…. I need more little pillow around they add such a nice touch….
    HUgs….. (you are so awesome}

  12. Tracey McBride says

    You are a bundle of activity Manuela! I love the way you not only collect ideas…but act on them!! Thank you for showing us how easy this project really is. I’m Amazed…again…as always!

  13. Cindy ~ My Romantic Home says

    Cute pillow, what a great idea! You could even find some nice sweaters at the thrift store if you didn’t want to cut up one of your sweaters!

    I love the gifts you received too! Those are adorable!

  14. salmagundi says

    Your sweater pillow looks great. I saw those tote bags in the magazine. Intriguing!! I may have to try that. Sally

  15. beth at aunties says

    Thanks for the wonderful ideas for the sweaters. the pillows and the totes are both wonderful.
    I enjoyed getting to know you at Rhoda’s party. It seemed I was following you around on your tour and I enjoyed reading your really kind comments to those we were visiting.
    I have also noticed you on Jen’s Fiddle dee dee blog ocassionally.
    I added you to my blog list and would love to get to know you better.

    Eenjoy your weekend!

  16. Glenda says

    That is a great idea. I’ve seen pillows from yarn for a very high price, this is cheaper and more practical. Great job.


  17. Sue says

    Hi Manuela…great idea…I love how blankets look when they felt the wool then piece it like a quilt..I never thought to makes pillows…I’m going to Goodwill this weekend I’ll look for a fisherman’s sweater for you….have a good weekend if it warms up!!

  18. jenjen says

    Manuela —

    LOVE your sweater project! Darn, I gave all of my Christmas-y sweaters away to charity a couple of years ago. I should have saved them. Very cute!


  19. Milah says

    Thank you for leaving such a nice comment on my blog. You have a nice blog too and I’ll definitely be back. It sounds like we have a lot in common.

    Love the red sweater! I just threw one away today and I think I’m gonna drag it back out! Lovely idea!

  20. Lady Katherine says

    The sweater pillow is so pretty! You did well! I love the little door pillow, it so sweet and just wonderful, Hubby has decided to tear out our staircase, and now re do the rooms upstairs, beds and a studio for me. We found a plan that lets us put in well not dog houses, but a different style, one large, tall in centerof the roof with window on 4 sides, except he wants a door and a terrace,on the back and two smaller ones, on each side of the large one, where you can see out the front and back. I thought my kitchen was almost done! Now goes my stair case! lol

  21. She'sSewPretty says

    Oh my gosh! You’ve been busy. I caught up on all your posts. I love that sweater pillow. I don’t wear sweaters but there are always pretty sweaters at the thrift store. I’ll have to look at them closer next time.

  22. Kathleen Grace says

    I absolutely love this project! I keep meaning to go to the thrift and try my hand at some felting projects too. Phyllis’s pillows are adorable!

  23. Stacey says

    You pillow is perfect! I’ve thought many times about doing the same thing – but I don’t sew. Your plant is so pretty too – kind of looks like it’s wearing a crown.

  24. diXymiss says

    What a fantastic idea! I’ll be looking at old sweaters with a different eye now… ThanX for the inspiration.

  25. Darlene - Our Creative Life says

    That is a great idea of what to do with old christmas sweaters or even buying a christmas sweater on sale after christmas! Looks so warm and cozy sitting on the sofa!

  26. Buzzings of a Queen Bee! says

    This pillow is adorable. I love the colors and of course the re-use of the sweater. Plus I am totally with you on just going for it, rather than worrying about stitch counts and all that. Way to go! :)

  27. Suzanne says

    Cute! I may have to go thrift store shopping for some sweaters…I just cleaned all of mine out of the closet! Those totes are a great idea too.

  28. Emily says

    I am so excited about this idea! I have the perfect sweater to do this with, one that shrunk, and is to small now. Thanks for sharing!

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