How-To Turn a Favorite Sweater into a Pillow

So I had this sweater from Anthropologie, a sweater I LOVED and wore constantly. But then one day, I happened to leave it on the top of the hamper when I left for work… by the time I arrived home my poor stressed pup (we had just moved to a new place) had chewed it full of holes. BIG holes.


Happily my pup was no worse for wear (though we kept an eagle eye on her for a few days) but there was no way to patch the sweater. Because I liked the knit and colors so much, and Anthro sweaters are an investment to say the least, I set it aside in hopes of salvaging the material for a DIY. Finally a year later, our bedroom is getting redecorated in warm tones so I thought – Finally! I’ll make a pillow!

SIDEBAR: Usually you’d want to wash any recycled fabrics before using them to create household decorations. This prevents surprise stains and smells from happening.

What You’ll Need

  • A 15in x 16in swatch of fabric from an old article of clothing of decent size in relatively good condition.
  • A Sharpie or fine tipped pen
  • 2 15in x 16in swatches of fabric for the back and interior lining (I used a canvas linen)
  • Hypoallergenic (if you get the sniffles like me) Polyfill fluff – I pulled my from a $5 pillow bought at marshall’s
  • Sewing Machine & Thread

1.Spread out your recycled fabric and choose where you’d like to/can use your fabric from. Avoid any soiled or damaged spots if possible. Place your fabric down so that what will be the front of your pillow is touching the table top. Using a template (I nabbed a cricut cutting mat because I liked it’s size – it’s about 13in x 14in) from home or cut from cardboard, trace the shape of your pillow onto the back of your fabric lightly to create your sewing line. Choose a lighter finer tip pen for materials like canvas or linen so it won’t show through.

2. Cut out your fabric about 3/4 of an inch from your sewing line (the black sharpie line seen above). This can be a little sloppy, no worries this excess fabric won’t be visible.

3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 with your back piece of the pillow and the interior lining (to keep fluff from popping out the sweater weave, mine is the linen canvas above.


4. line up your sewing lines (the light green and dark black in the picture above) and pin the two pieces of fabric together make sure that the sewing lines for both are facing up! This should ensure that the correct part of your sweater will be the front. If you’d like crisper corners, cut about halfway to your sewing line along an inch of either side of the corners as seen above.


5. Using a sewing machine and matching thread, sew along the marked lines you made with a running stitch (hence the name sewing lines). I recommend sewing over the start and end of you stitch a few times to keep it secure. You’ve now made the front piece of your pillow!


6. Time to repeat with the back! Flip your sweater piece over so that the sweater fabric is facing up and the lining fabric (and sewing lines) are facing down. Lay your second back piece of fabric on top with it’s sewing line facing up. Line the sewing line up with the stitch you make on the front piece. Pin in Place.


7. Sew almost all the way around to make a sweater sandwich. Leave 2 inches open and reinforce the seams on either side by running over them a few times.


8. By gently pushing the fabric through the hole you left, turn your pillow inside out so that the sweater material is facing outward. If you’d like the corners to be a little less rounded use a ruler to poke the corners into place from the inside.


9. Time to iron! Remove any wrinkles in your fabric with a steamer or iron.

stuff-pillow full-pillow

10. Using the 2 inch hole that you left in the pillow, stuff the pillow with polyfill. Be careful not to overstuff!! I filled my pillow until it sat about 3.5 to 4 inches high. The more you fill, the rounder your pillow will be. To even out your stuffing, place a ruler inside your pillow and gently push it into place.  When you’re done, pin the hole closed about a half an inch in from the edge.

11. Sew the small hole closed, remove the pins, and enjoy your pillow!


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