Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sweater Pillow

Today, I was trying to clean out my sewing room. I had two sweaters that were sitting next to each other that just happened to be Christmas colors. I thought what better way to get rid of these and clean my sewing room than making something out of them. I immediately thought of a pillow, because really pillows are quick and easy and I would feel it was useful too without feeling too bad that I cut up two totally and completely useful sweaters. Well, they would be useful if I fit in them.....
ANYWAY… And what better way to kick off the Halloween season, then making a Christmas pillow! Oh, you didn't know it was the Halloween season? Well, apparently all of the stores think it is. So, Christmas pillow in August!
First, cut up perfectly good sweaters. I leave as wide an area as possible. Then, I figure out the biggest square area I can get out of the part of the fabric I'm going to use. Cut a square of lining fabric, any scrap fabric that is big enough will do. The lining fabric is important when making sweater pillows because it helps them retain their shape, keeps them from unraveling while you sew, and keeps the stuffing from coming out of the pillow. Make sure the fabric is cut well, that the corners are square, and there are two identical squares. One square for the front and one for the back. Then, pin the squares (with lots of pins) onto the sweater fabric. It's nice when the fabric has a stripe, like the green and white fabric because I could line it up with the lines and ridges and know I was getting the fabric even on all sides.

After pinning, sew the lining to the sweater fabric, using a walking foot and a zig-zag stitch. The A zig-zag stitch allows the fabric to stretch when it is stuffed, and the walking foot helps the sweater fabric move with the more rigid lining fabric so there isn't a lot of stretching and bunching.  
If you don't want to add an embroidered detail to the front, then skip this step....
I drew a simple picture on the lining fabic, cut it out and sewed it onto some of the sweater fabric. I didn't even pin it down since it was all straight lines. If I was doing something more complicated, I would've pinned it. Then, I trimmed it pretty close to the edge of the lining and sewed it to the center front of the pillow. 

Trim the front and back pieces to the edge of the lining fabric and sew them together with right sides facing each other. Leave about 1/2 inch seam allowance. I just lined up the edge of the fabric with the outside edge of my walking foot. Leave a 2-3 inch gap on one of the sides as you sew around the edge so that you can turn the pillow right side out. Before turning the pillow out, clip the corners as shown below.

Then, stuff the pillow through the gap in the seam. Fill it nice and tight. Make sure to get stuffing into each corner and distribute it evenly. Finally, turn the raw edges of the gap under and hand stitch the seam together. The sweater material is very forgiving. I didn't even have to be careful and it looked really nice.
Enjoy your recycled handiwork! Merry Christmas! ;-)