Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Free Pattern: Christmas Sweater Pillow Conversion

I recently received a request via Ravelry message for a tutorial that I promised back in January. Kudos to the blog readers with good memories.

The Ravelry member wrote:

Sweater pillow pattern
Sent at 12:11 PM August 7, 2011

Hi Katie Rose:

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I wanted to ask you about the sweater pillow pattern that you had mentioned back in January. I thought that yours was so cute, and when I was cleaning thru a stack of sweaters, set aside some that I’d like to use to make pillows. You had mentioned posting the directions/ tutorial for how you did it - any chance that you’ll have time to do that in the near future?

Here's a picture of the finished pillow:

Yeah, sure. I can do that.

Christmas Sweater Pillow Conversion


1 - Awesome Old-School Knit Christmas Sweater, the squarer, the better (the example in this pattern was made by Eagle's Eye; search Eagle's Eye sweaters on Ebay for some gems). No V-necks. Cardigan is OK--you will sew down the front seam like I did here. Two-sided patterns are even better; here's the back of the sweater:

The 360-degree pattern makes this pillow rock especially. Look at that cute fawn.

1 - Sewing machine.

1 - spool of thread to match the sweater.

1 - pair super-sharp large scissors (like tailor's shears).

1 - pillow form to fit inside the sweater (just take the sweater over to your craft store and stick pillow forms in the body to measure.

1 - sewing needle for hand-finishing.


Step 1: The Front. If your sweater is a cardigan, sew down the front seam in between the buttons. I used my machine for this. I sew between the buttons with a zig-zag stitch, like this.

Step 2: The Sleeves. Turn the sweater inside-out, including the sleeves. Cut the sleeves off of the sweater. Now, using your sewing machine, sew the sleeve-holes shut. (You probably want to pin the sleeve-hole before sewing.) I used a straight-stitch. On the inside, this might look a little rough, but on the outside it looks great. Just make sure that you stitch straight in line with the side-seam of the body. Here's how the sleeves just disappear into the side seam:

As you can see, we are in the process of turning your sweater into as square of a piece of fabric as we can. If you need to make adjustments to this process to ensure that your pillow looks square (such as cutting away more or less fabric) then do so. The top and the bottom are a little more tricky.

Step 3: The Top.

This is the hardest part. Here's what I did: I set my machine on a basting stitch. I stitched straight across like this:


Turn the sweater right-side-out--does the top look okay? There might be a slight dip in the top, that's okay, especially if you need to preserve more of the sweater by stitching around the neckline more, rather than bypassing the neckline altogether. My sweater has a bit of a dip, but you'd never notice unless I pointed it out:

If you like how the basting comes out, then stitch again with a solid straight-stitch to secure it.

Step 4: Bottom/Zipper.

I recommend installing a zipper on the bottom opening so that you can change out the pillow and/or hand-wash the wool cover. I'm not going to teach you how to install a zipper. Here's a tutorial for how to do so. I do recommend using a bigger/chunkier zipper than the one in this tutorial.

Here's a tutorial on how to install a zipper.

Lastly, slip in the pillow form and zip the pillow closed!

If you have questions, put them in the comments, and I'll revise this tutorial!

--Katie Rose

1 comment:

Tricia said...

Thank you very much! I'm looking forward to making a few of these!