Pillows in chunky knits are pretty popular these days (Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Nordstrom) and I wanted some of my own without having to splurge for them, or spend hours knitting! And this project was surprisingly easy to pull off — all you need is an old sweater and some creative manipulation..
- 1 old sweater with a chunky knit pattern
- pillow forms
- tools: your sewing machine, scissors
How to do this:
- Lay out your sweater next to your pillow to see how best to make the pattern work with the size of the sweater. Here I find that my sweater will allow me to make two pillow covers, and I’m planning to cut up my sweater so that the fun cable pattern will run exactly down the middle of my finished pillow.
- Remove the sleeves from your sweater. Try not to cut the sleeves off with your scissor to prevent unnecessary fraying for your pillow, but rather, see if you can find that one stitch that holds the pieces together.
- Now the slightly scary part, actually cutting your sweater in half. In order for the cable pattern to be centered for my pillow, I ended up making one straight cut sort of one-thirds from the right front of the sweater (the long holes below are where the sleeves were). And then cutting that piece in half to have two pieces. Each of these pieces will make you one long pillow. Don’t worry that you have raw edges and yarn starting to fray as you cut, it’ll all get sewn together in the end.
- Next, cut each piece into half. You can probably get rid of the scraps around each arm hole. You’ll end up with one longer piece that has the center cable knit pattern, and a shorter piece that came from the section under the holes for the sleeve. Notice that each piece has one nice straight finished edge — which used to be the bottom hem of the sweater. These edges are going to be the ‘closure’ for your pillow, we’re going to sew them in such a way that they overlap and don’t require any buttons or zippers to close off your pillow.
- So now your pieces are cut and you can start sewing! Take the longer piece, place it right side facing up, and fold the ‘nice’ edge over until this piece is about the length of your pillow. Then take the shorter piece, place it right side down (i.e. the wrong side facing up) over the longer piece. You should now have the pieces placed such that all the wrong sides are facing out, with the ‘nice’ edges overlapping each other by at least an inch.
- Now sew the edges all the way around the outside of this rectangle. I tried using a zig-zag stitch to make it more secure, but I think a straight stitch would work just as well. Double check the edges where there are cable knits in case there are gaps there due to the way the cables overlap. Make sure you have a nice covered opening for your pillow. And don’t worry if it looks messy or out of shape, once you get the pillow in it’ll look great. Then flip it inside out!
- At this point, you should have a chunky knit pillow cover that will stretch over your pillow form pretty easily. Flip the ends over, pull it into shape and you’re done! New pillows for the fall/winter season!