Recycled sweater cushion time

wool sweater cushion

My living room is full of earthy textures and fabrics. Jute, timber, wool, linen, suede. It’s probably time for a bit of counterbalance, to keep the place from looking too burrow-like — maybe some metal picture frames, and a striking floor lamp or two? That counterbalance isn’t happening today, though: I found this great wool knit sweater vest at Vinnies, and I had to turn it into a cushion slipcover. It’s pretty unwearable as an article of clothing, unless you are a lady golfer or cricketer, but this little recycled sweater cushion is brilliant as upholstery.

sweater cushion 3

I used backing fabric to quilt the knit wool into place. This way the wool won’t stretch out or become misshapen, and the cushion will be hardier in the wash.

materials

Materials:

  • Sewing gear – pins, seam ripper, thread, etc
  • Fabric scissors
  • Ball-point knit needles, 14-16 weight
  • 1m x 0.5m [just over 1 yd x ½ yd] of backing material – midweight cotton will do, pref in a similar colour to the knit
  • One extremely daggy sweater from your local charity shop of choice. (This one is a ladies’ 16, if you’re curious about size.)

cut pin

1. Wash and iron your fabric.

2. Measure and cut into four 19” square pieces, for a cushion that will be 18” wide, with a half-inch allowance on all sides. You’ll have 2 pieces of knit wool and 2 pieces of backing fabric.

3. Quilting the wool: Start from the middle and work your way out. Run a line of pins down the centre and sew a straight line down. Repeat on either side, using your judgement on where to secure the wool. I just sewed along the existing straight lines in the knit, with gaps about 2-3 inches between lines.

quilting

Here, you can see how ends up looking quilted from the back.

finished seam

4. Sew straight seams about ¼” from the edge and then run a zig-zag stitch over them, to help keep the wool ends from fraying. (Ignore this if you have a serger, aka overlocker. You already know what you’re doing anyway.)

finished pieces

So there’s your two finished sides, ready to come together and turn into a cushion cover.

cushion zipper

5. Attach the zipper before sewing the other three sides together.

People much more experienced than me can clearly explain how to attach a zipper, but basically: attach zipper wrong-side-up onto the fabric wrong-side-up, sew and attach with about ⅛” clearance from the zipper itself. For extra credit, fold up the overlapping fabric ever-so-slightly and sew that in order to create a flap that hides the zipper better. I’m sorry, I know this explanation isn’t cutting it! Another option would be to attach tabs and buttons; it’d look really cute.

finished cushion

6. Once the zipper is in place, sew a straight seam ½” from the edge all around the three non-zippered sides. For extra security, go around the edge once more with a zig-zag stitch (or your serger, ooh la la).

Moment of truth: flipping it right side out. Success! I gave it an iron before stuffing it, to press the seams into place.

sweater cushion 2

All done! This pillow is pretty sturdy. It’s ready to take a beating.

sweater cushion 4

The front side was all one solid piece from the sweater, but the back side needed some extra care. Since I used a cardigan, I just sewed down all of the edges (including buttonholes) and used scrap pieces to fill in the gap. It took a bit of fiddling around but it looks all right.

sweater cushion 1

Feels good, looks good.

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