Sweater Pillows

By Kate Riley November 2, 2011

I love a great challenge!  Last week Katie and friends announced the second Pinterest Challenge (Fall Edition) and since I missed it the first time around, I decided to hop on board this time.  A few weeks ago I had cozy accents on my mind, specifically sweater pillows.  Pottery Barn has made versions of these in the past and there were a few DIYers who came up with their own interpretations too. I loved Megan’s version from Brassy Apple so I pinned it. (Don’t you love the ability to comment on Pinterest too?  Thanks Julie, you made me laugh!)


washed thrift store sweater pinterest

brassy apple sweater pillows

I also loved Megan’s button center and floral accents too!  I went down to my local Goodwill and saw at least a dozen sweaters to choose from.

goodwill sweaters


I bought the center one for $3 bucks and brought it home.  Then I pinned this:

pinned sweater


And a few days ago I made this! 

sweater pillow pinterest challenge cg

The flower is a lapel pin I’ve had for awhile that suits the pillow perfectly. 


I also found another gray and red striped sweater at the Goodwill for $3 and also stitched up this cozy Christmas accent pillow:

stripe sweater pillow cg


Here’s the simple how to:  First, cut your sweater to the size of your pillow form (whether square or oblong) and allow an extra inch of material all around. Turn the knit material inside out and stitch it together with a sewing machine on 3 ½ sides.  Turn right side out and stuff opening with pillow form, then hand stitch the remaining opening closed.  how to make recycled sweater pillow


Any ol’ sweater you find at a thrift store can become your next decorative accent in these upcoming chilly months!  

recycled sweater pillow cg


Linking up to the Pinterest Challenge party:



Thank you Katie, Sherry, Ana, and Erin for hosting!




  1. I love that Idea! I’m going to check my Goodwill for some sweaters and see what I can come up with.

  2. man o man i’m excited to see what old sweaters i have in the back closet… some of which originally CAME from a Goodwill store! ;-)

  3. Wow – you make it look easy . . . my sewing machine hasn’t seen the light of day in quite awhile but this would be such a cute, stylish and inexpensive way to have a couple of Christmas accent pillows!

  4. What a great way to recycle old sweaters! I love the way the cream cable pillow looks. I just got a sweing machine a few weeks ago and will definitely try to make one. They look so cozy!

  5. Your pillows look so cozy. I made a throw pillow last year from a cashmere sweater I found at Goodwill. The great part is that I was able to follow the lines of the cable when cutting and sewing, making it a really easy and quick project.

  6. I am hosting a Project Pinterst linky with Katie from Katie Lloyd Photography. When I saw your little blurb on my blogger homepage I got SO EXCITED thinking you were talking about Katie and me! I see that some other lovely ladies are hosting a similar linky and that in fact you were talking about them! If you’re interested in linking up with us, come on over tomorrow for the link up!

  7. Gosh I really need to learn how to sew! These are so flippin’ cute & I really need new pillows. Must. Obtain. Sewing. Machine.

  8. This is a great project. This would make a great Christmas gift. I have to go and check out my local Goodwill to see if I can find anything to make a pillow out of. Great inspiration.

  9. They both look great, Kate! No rhyme intended, lol. I have a sweater in my closet that I’ve been eyeing since last winter. It flares out too much, so it’s either going to get taken in on the sides or turned into a pillow. Hmm, tough decision. Thanks for even more inspiration to cut it up! =)

    ~ Catie

    Oh, check out the post I did today about turning an old throw blanket into a throw pillow.


  10. I love this idea, and I have many pillow cover ideas. But, what I want to know is where people buy their throw pillows. I feel like there has to be a good, cheap place to get them and I’m just not sure where that is. Please enlighten me.

    • Hey Lindsey, I find most of my pillow forms at Joann’s – you can get down or polyester and they’re reasonable and often go on sale!

  11. That is a great idea! I’m pretty sure I can whip some up using old sweaters that have been packed away for years in a cedar chest (which will definitely need to be washed first to kill that smell). As always, thanks for the inspiration …

  12. haha I pinned those pins and have so far failed to make this happen – yours turned out really great. I definitely need to get my ass in gear!

  13. Cut. Sew. Stuff. Stitch. You make it sound so easy. ha! Actually, I’ve been in love with sweater pillows for a long time and never thought to make my own even though I’ve made other pillows. Seems like such a “duh” moment now. I’m going to do this ASAP!! Thanks!

  14. A fantastic way to recycle sweaters and they are so warm and cozy looking. The lapel pin is a lovely touch! You ooze talent, Kate! It’s always fun and inspirational to see what you’re up to.

  15. Thank you, thank you, thanks you for pointing me in this direction. I’ve seen these cushions in the shops and thought they might be easy to make, but never had the guts to cut up a sweater. Now? I’m off down the charity shops! xx

  16. These look great! How funny because I just wrote on my forever long project to do list I wanted to make some sweater pillows for the couch. They are just so comfy looking. Thanks for showing how you did it!

  17. I have Goodwill sweaters in waiting too! I was a little worried how they’d sew, it looks like you didn’t have any problem. Maybe I’ll get off my duff and get these done before winter is over! Your’s look great!

  18. What a wonderful idea for such a low cost and great to change the look of a room for those chilly months ahead! Now it’s really time for me to learn how to sew…

  19. I just had an epiphany! I have a beloved sweater that I just can’t part with though it is looking pretty worn. It’s just one of my favoritest favorite things, but really, the elbows are practically see-through and there’s a whole in one armpit. : ) Perhaps instead of getting rid of it completely, I can give it a new life as a pillow! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  20. Fabulous. So cozy!
    I’ve seen this sweater conversion done with a button-up style sweater as well, which means you can sew up all sides and get the pillow form in and out by “un-buttoning” the sweater. You can show off the button side or flip it over.
    Gotta do this project for winter. Thanks!

  21. I will be bringing you my sweater pillow order next week. I need them done before Thanksgiving :) Kate – the pillows look beautiful and the photos are styled perfectly!

  22. I need to learn how to sew! I’ve always thought it would be nice to change out pillows each season and these would be so cozy for winter. Found your site through the Pinterest Challenge. Well done! :)

    Pinning now!

  23. Fab project – will def look out for charity shop jumpers (that’s the English way of saying thrifted sweaters lol). Love them! x

  24. Love them!! This is the perfect thing for a goodwill “hunter” like myself! :) One question, do you ever feel that adding a zipper is better if you can so you can take off, or wash it if needed? Or do you find that not having a zipper works just fine? Also, have to ever tried buttons vs a zipper? Just wanted to know your thoughts before I tackle this one!!


  25. About 15 years ago, when even the last holdouts had gotten rid of their 80s Family Ties sweater vests, I picked up a big pile of them at a thrift store and cut them into squares. Then I zigzag stitched them into a patchwork knit blanket. I had lots of pastels, so it makes a great springtime throw blanket. One side is finished and the other side has the fuzzy, nubby seams. It has held up really well through repeated washing and drying. So, feel free to make throw blankets from rescued sweaters, too! Give some Cosby sweaters a new home…

  26. Lookin’ good! That’s exactly what I thought of doing for this Pinterest challenge, even though I didn’t do it! But I will, someday soon!

  27. They look great!! Thanks for demonstsrating how easy this was to make; I’ve added it to my list of things to do.

  28. Thanks for this post! You make it sound so easy, but I have a question….do you do anything to the ends of the yarn after you cut the sweater down? I wonder about fraying….
    Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks!

  29. Great Idea!!! I think that I will make a few of these pillows out of sweaters that my daughter wore when she was young! Not only will it remind me of the good ole days when she was a little girl, but they will be wonderful to snuggle with too!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  30. I made those sweater covered pillows before! Don’t they make a nice, cuddly, change? And at a very reasonable price too.

    I did not however had the flowers and those are adorable! Well done! I will have to try that next time.

  31. Hilarious! I just picked up 3 sweaters from the thrift store in town, as well as some thrift store pillows (to use the forms!) to make some of those this weekend :D What a crazy coincidence! I love how yours turned out :D

  32. Awesome! I turned a few old sweaters into sleeves for clear round vases last fall – I love the look of big chunky sweaters on anything :). These look great, Kate!

  33. I bought a gorgeous aqua mohair sweater weeks ago to do just this! Thanks, Kate for the extra inspiration to get that project done! I love the flower detail, maybe I can make one from the sleeve???

  34. I’ve definitely had sweater pillows on my pinterest for a while! I’m currently unemployed, so I really shouldn’t be spending money on decor (even thrifty decor), but hopefully I’ll have some around next year! Yours are so cute – I love how they really warm up a room.

  35. I am so glad I found your blog what a fantastic idea for making cushions.I never would of thought of it.These cushions would be nice and cosy to have around in the winter I’m sure..

  36. Love your pillows! thanks for the shout out to mine!

    I will have to share my project that I created with the sleeves when it’s posted!

    thanks so much! Enjoy your “coz-ified” chair/couch!

    • Delighted Meg, so glad you stopped by! Can’t wait to see your sleeve project!

  37. I love the pinterest challenge! I am getting so many fantastic ideas for winter projects! This is going to be the perfect match to my boyfriends Christmas present (a handmade crocheted blanket he’s been asking for). And this is the perfect project for putting my new (used) sewing machine to the test!

    I’m headed to my local thrift shop ASAP. Thanks for the post!

  38. Kate! KATE! KATE! KATE! Thank you soooo much for reminding me about sweater pillows. I pinned some months ago and thought I *have* to make some of these for Christmas presents. I’d forgotten all about them! You’re like my little Christmas Fairy. Keep it up, because I have lots of things I’ve forgotten! ~ karen!

  39. I’ve been trying to decide what to do with my throw pillows on the couch. What a great Fall/Winter idea! And cheap to boot. Thanks so much!

  40. I know that this is probably cheating, BUT I got a JC Penney flyer in the newspaper and guess what was on the front cover? Cable knit sweaters in every conceivable color you could imagine, each well under twenty bucks and that was before all of their coupons. You could conceivably get one for around ten bucks, in the color you want and brand spanking new. I think they are in the juniors or misses department. I saw those sweaters and it never even occurred to be to wear them. The first thing I thought was pillows!!!!

  41. These pillows are beautiful! You can also use the sleeves for another project. Just cut off a sleeve, fill with uncooked white rice, and tie both ends with dental floss. Put in the microwave for a few minutes and you’ll have a warm, moist heat to relieve painful muscles or warm your cold feet. It can be reheated many times. A friend gave me one years ago, and I use it all the time in the winter or when my neck is hurting.

  42. Seriously, so cute. I cannot wait to make one. I’ve been on a pillow covering kick lately! Great addition to the challenge. Hope I have time to enter it!

  43. I love the red & white one! My husband has tons of sweaters he never wears!!! He probably would have no clue if I made a pillow cover! I’m going to try & make one :) Awesome tutorial!

  44. I love the cable knit on a sweater. It looks even better on a pillow! I really need to do this, thank you so much for the inspiration.

  45. love this! i just got a sweater today, going to try it. did you dye the sweater? it looks a different color than you showed or is it just the photos?

  46. That pin is the icing on the perfect cake. Love how your pillows turned out! I must learn how to sew…


  47. I got a cocoa XL men’s sweater from Value World for $.60 and an XL creme fisherman’s cable from Salvation Army for $3.75. Two pillows for well under $5.00! Doesn’t get any better than that!

  48. What a cute idea! I have some sweaters with my children’s names on them from when they were little and I have been holding on to them for something like this. Going to have to do this!

  49. Those are beautiful, great job! I’m featuring it on my “Top 10 Awesome Recycled Craft Projects” today at http://www.cheapcraftymama.com, be sure to grab a button if you want. Also I would love for you to share this (and any other creations) at my “Pin It and Win It Wednesday” starting this evening!

  50. Great idea – these would be cozy on the patio for the last few outdoor parties of the season. I have plenty of old (washed :-) sweaters that fit the bill. Thanks for the inspiration!

  51. I just came across a lovely cable sweater at Goodwill while shopping for Halloween Costume supplies. I knew it would make a great pillow cover!

    Question, is there any special technique to seeing the thick knit sweater in your sewing machine, other than being careful not to snag a strand of yarn?

    Off to check out your pillow cover pins … =)

  52. gorgeous!! I have done similar but our goodwill charges a LOT more …and usually they are pilled up stretched and snagged acrylic….will hunt a little more..

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