Friday, January 31, 2014

Sweater Pillows


I feel like a domestic goddess today!  Look at me, I actually sewed something!   ;-)

I bought an inexpensive sewing machine a few weeks ago, with the intention to use it to help decorate our new home.  First project on the list?  Make some throw pillows for the living room.   I've been seeing "sweater pillows" all over Pinterest and blogland this year, and I thought that would be a good place to start.

I bought some sweaters at the thrift store to use for this project.   After a couple of fails (measure twice, cut once is all I'm sayin'), I finally got the hang of it and ended up with two sweater pillows.   The other two were made from a really soft and cozy throw that I found at SteinMart.  And now my new sofa has four really soft, really comfy pillows for the winter.


I began to take photos to show the how-to as I was sewing.  Unfortunately, those ended up being the "fail" pictures, and I didn't take any more shots while I was working on the pillows that ended up working.  But I'll try to describe how I made them.

The pillow inserts I'm using are from other throw pillows that I've had around the house.  These are all down-filled, which is so much nicer than the kind with just the polyfill.

The first pillow that I made (after the two fails) was the white one.  It began life as a men's cable knit cardigan.  It had these really chunky and cool wooden buttons that I tried to figure out how to include, but my creative juices just weren't flowing well enough.  So I cut the most interesting cable portions of the sweater into two squares, and pieced them together with two squares from the back of the sweater.  These four squares made a nice pillow front.


I could talk about how many mistakes I made on this pillow even after the other fails, but why focus on the past?  Let's talk instead about how cute the little pocket looks there.  :-)


For the back of the pillow, I used an old flannel pillow case which I had recently put into the "cleaning rag" pile.  I just used the finished edges to make an envelope closure.


All of the pillows have this "overstuffed" look to them, because I didn't measure anything, just eyeballed things based on the old covers that used to be on these pillows.   So in fact, they ARE all overstuffed, because the covers ended up being just a little on the too small side.  Oh well, that makes them plump and pouffy and just fine, so I'm going to stop obsessing on it now.

The next sweater pillow was the blue one.  It started life as two women's sweaters, one in a light turquoise blue and the other in a darker, richer aqua blue.  Both are super soft acrylic yarns which makes the pillow very snuggly.


To make the front of this pillow, I needed to use both the front and back of the light blue sweater, because the body of it wasn't big enough to make a whole pillow out of just one side.   So I sewed the bottom of the sweater together along the edge of the bottom.   Of course, I forgot to turn it inside out first, so the seam allowance ended up being on the outside.  Rather than have a strange seam showing, I decided to sew the seam allowances down on either side of the seam.


This makes it look like a design detail that I planned, rather than a solution to a mistake.  I think I like it better this way than if I had sewn the seam correctly and just had a join here.   (am I making any sense?  I'm making up sewing terms based on what I remember from 6th grade HomeEc class.)

The back of this pillow is another envelope closure, this time using the bottom halves of the darker blue sweater, using the bottom band as the finished edge.


I like the dark color being the back - it adds a depth of color to the room that I hope to incorporate in other places as I continue to decorate this room.


Now, the other two pillows are not made out of sweaters.  They're made out of a super soft and comfy throw that I found at SteinMart last week.  The front paisley pattern has all the colors in it that I hope to have in the living room - cream, rich brown, medium beige, and turquoise.  So it's perfect for this project.


These turned out just a little more snug on the pillow form than I really wanted.   That made them a little misshapen in the end, but since we lean on them more than we look at them, I'm totally ok with it.  :-)  Besides, I'm not obsessing, remember?


The backs are - guess what? envelope closures. I love, love, love the feel of this brown fuzzy fabric. I hate, hate, HATE cutting this brown fuzzy fabric with scissors. Fuzz EVERYWHERE! including up my nose, in my eyes, in my mouth. Ugh! But worth it for the comfy soft feel of these pillows.


The second one came out a little more normal shaped.


All in all, I'm really happy with this project.   It was inexpensive - I have four new pillows for about $20 (a $17 throw and three $1.00 sweaters).  It was fun to get the sewing machine working and remind myself that yes, I can do these kinds of things.  And I like knowing that I did it myself.


When I added back in the cozy white throw that I recently picked up for a steal at Kohl's, the sofa quickly solidified its standing as the official "favorite spot to be" in the winter.


How about you?  Have you ever made sweater pillows out of thrifted sweaters?  Am I the only one with a bunch of fails before any successes?   Are you staying warm in a comfy spot this winter?  I'd love to hear about it!  Please leave a comment to share your wintry cozy stories.

I'd like to invite you to come back next Tuesday to my weekly "Happy Tuesday" Link Party.  Each week we're sharing anything and everything that makes us happy!  That's easy enough, right?   The party starts on Monday nights at 9pm Eastern, and lasts all day Tuesday.   Please come and join in! You can read more about the party by clicking on the image below.

Happy Tuesday

Linking to:
Liz Marie -  Inspire Me Please Party
The Dedicated House - Anything Blue Friday
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Jennifer Rizzo - Fabulously Creative Friday


  1. These look so comfy and cozy! I have been wanting to give them a try. Guess I need to make a trip to the second hand shop in search of sweaters!

    1. yes, definitely give it a try! Fun and easy. :-)