The 8s

Old Sweater, new pillow: Goodbye, old sweater. Hello, new cushion!

March, 2016


1 large, woollen cardigan with buttons

2 large, woollen pullover sweaters

1 pillow form (the size of your sweaters will determine how large a cushion you can use)

Cutting board with grid

Sharp scissors

Sewing machine


Stick pins

Out with the old, and in with the new. It’s an exciting prospect and the inspiration behind this month’s how-to. Made from long-forgotten woollen sweaters, this adorable cushion is a great reminder to reuse, reduce and upcycle. Give it a try.

Unknown-2Step 1. Choose 3 colour-coordinated woollen sweaters, 1 of which must be a cardigan with buttons. The bigger the sweaters, the more fabric you’ll have to work with.

Step 2. Felt the sweaters by washing them in hot water and drying them on a hot setting. This process will shrink the sweaters (dramatically) and felt the wool so that it’s easy to cut and sew.

Step 3. Using scissors, dismantle your sweaters: remove the arms at the armpit seams, and separate the fronts from the backs along the side seams. You will now have a stack of 6 sleeves, 3 backs and 3 fronts. Next, take the sleeves and open each one along its underarm seam. The sleeves will be pieced together to make one side of the cushion cover, and the cardigan front with the buttons will become the other side (and make inserting the cushion a cinch!).

Step 4. Measure the length and width of your cushion form, and add half an inch to each number. These dimensions determine how large the front and back pieces need to be.

Step 5. Take the sweater front with the buttons, place it square on your cutting board and trim it to the dimension you just calculated (example: 17” x 13”). This piece will become the back of your cushion. Next, arrange the sweater sleeves side by side on the cutting board in a pattern that pleases you, trimming the sleeve widths if desired. Next comes the sewing.

Step 6. Set your sewing machine to a zigzag stich, and sew each sleeve panel to the next, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Press the seams flat with an iron, and place the finished piece square on the cutting board. Trim it to the same dimension you calculated in Step 4. Your front piece and back piece are now ready to be joined.

Step 7. Pin the front to the back, right sides together. Using the same zigzag stich, sew all 4 sides together.

Step 8. Undo the buttons on the cardigan side, and turn the cushion right-side out. Next, insert the cushion form, button up and admire your handwork. t8n

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