Regardless of the season, when I go thrift shopping I always find myself drawn to the sweater aisle. I sift through the racks, dig through the piles, try on multiple sweaters, and still buy at least one, even when it’s summer. I have two baskets of sweaters in my closet as I write this, but I know if I went to the thrift store right now I would more than likely still come home with more. It’s kind of a problem, especially since it’s June.
I have no problem bringing more sweaters into the house, but I do have a problem getting rid of them. The textures, the colors, the patterns…they’re all too great to part with! I try to donate sweaters that I no longer wear, but if I don’t take them the moment I made the decision I find myself digging the discarded sweaters out of the donate bag and putting them back in my closet. After realizing that I probably won’t wear half of these sweaters even when it is once again sweater weather (which I’m so not ready to think about; let’s enjoy summer first!), I decided I should give some of them new life.
While I definitely have enough sweaters, I don’t have enough throw pillows. I love throw pillows! They’re colorful and an easy way to spruce up your décor. However, I don’t love how much they cost. Every time I’m shopping for home goods I go down the pillow aisle only to quickly leave it again. I’m pretty thrifty when it comes to something that’s going to get worn out and flattened by constant use (or have tea spilled on it…that’s happened once or twice). The throw pillows that live on the couch currently have definitely seen better days.
I thought about sewing new pillows from some of my sweaters, but then I had a better idea: why not spruce up the pillows I already have by making new covers? Something I can change quickly and depending on my mood; something that is easy to store and switch out as needed. The patterns and textures of my thrifted sweaters are perfect for pillows; different colors and designs for different occasions. And what better way to rationalize the continued buying of sweaters?!
Before I started on the sweater pillow covers, I bought a bag of stuffing to plump up the otherwise squished throw pillows. A little seam ripping, half a bag of stuffing per pillow, a quick whip stick to close it up, and they are ready to go!
For the covers: pick sweaters that complement your current décor or something bold that stands out! Make sure you choose sweaters that are big enough to fit over your throw pillows with some extra room; if your sweater is too small, you might end up with a cover that doesn’t quite fit. I opted for a funky brown patterned sweater because our couch is brown, and a cute Halloween sweater because it’s always Halloween in my heart and, apparently, in my house!
1) Gather your supplies! You will need:
- Sewing shears
- Embroidery needles
- Embroidery thread (at least 3 of each color to be sure you have enough!)
- Straight pins
- Throw pillows
- Sewing machine (optional)
- fabric glue (not pictured; optional)
2) Flip your sweater inside out and slip it over your throw pillow. This will give you an idea of how much cutting and sewing you will need to do. With my brown sweater I had to take it in a few inches to make it fit. The Halloween sweater was smaller and didn’t need as much alteration.
3) Pin the sweater in place to mark where you need to cut. Be sure to leave yourself at least a half inch seam allowance. Carefully slide the sweater off the pillow (note: if you are going to sew by hand, you can leave the sweater on the pillow! It might give you a better idea of where your seams should be).
4) Cut the excess material from the sweater (again, being sure to leave room for your seam!). Bonus DIY tip: If you save the sweater sleeves, you can wear them as funky leg warmers when the weather turns cold! 😉
5) Sew! Using your embroidery thread and embroidery needle, sew a whip stitch along the raw edges, leaving the bottom of the sweater open. Full disclosure: I fully planned to sew this entire project by hand, but a short ways in a remembered why I never hand sew; I don’t have the patience (also I’m not great at it)! I gave up on hand stitching and moved to the sewing machine. If you decide to use a sewing machine I recommend using a zigzag stitch. If you continue with the hand stitching, I tip my hat to you!
6) When your edges are all sewn together, flip the sweater back to right side out. Slide it onto your pillow to make sure it fits the way you want.
7) Add buttons! Along one of the open edges at the bottom of the sweater, space out your buttons and sew them on using the embroidery thread and embroidery needle. You can sew them inside one of the sweater edges so it will button together flat, or you can sew them on the outside so the edges fold over each other when buttoned.
8) Cut button holes! Line up the other edge of the sweater over top your newly sewn buttons. When they are properly aligned, snip small holes with your sewing shears. If you want to make your button holes sturdier, you can sew a whip stitch around the opening with your embroidery thread, or even use a thin coat of fabric glue!
9) Button your sweater and your pillow cover is done!
This was such a fun and quick project; I will definitely be making more pillow covers! Fancy pillow shams for the bedroom made with sparkly sequined sweaters, fun Christmas sweater covers for the holiday season…the possibilities are endless! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I would love to see any pillow covers you make!
If you liked the floor, you can see the actual product here! It’s Featherstep Bleached Oak 1301!