A coffee stain that several trips to the dry cleaner couldn’t fix left me with a much-loved cashmere sweater that I couldn’t wear or bear to get rid of. The other day I came up with an idea to save it and in less than an hour (and with minimal sewing) it went from attic storage to my favourite chair, where I can once again cuddle up to it on a cold day.
What You’ll Need
- Old sweater
- Small square pillow form
- Sewing pins
- Large ruler
- Needle (or sewing machine) and thread in a colour that matches the sweater
- Large button in a complementary colour
This simple project involves two main steps: measuring the body of the pillow and creating the envelope fold. Dig out the cashmere cardigan with the snag on the sleeve or your cable-knit pullover with the stain on the front – it might not be wearable, but it could make for a cute cushion.
Turn the sweater inside out and lay it on a flat work surface lining up the front and back panels. If you have a hole or mark on the torso of the sweater, look at how you can disguise it with the placement of your cuts or by creating an envelope fold, as shown here. (I hid the stain under the flap on the front of this pillow.) Slide your pillow form in the bottom of the sweater, lining it up against the seam on the left and flush against the bottom hems. Pinch the front and back of the sweater together along the right side, pulling the sweater snugly around the form. Use several pins to mark this line, where you will cut. If you feel more confident using a ruler, draw a line on the outside of the pins first, using chalk. Next use a pin to mark the top edge of the pillow.
To make the triangle envelope fold, remove the insert and measure the length of your pillow. Divide this number in half. Measure that length from the middle of the top edge up. Mark this point with a pin. Use the ruler and chalk to mark two lines from that point down to the top left and top right corners of the pillow. Insert a few pins to keep the two panels of fabric together.
Cut out your shape. Using a needle and thread, or a sewing machine, stitch all the way around the outside leaving a 5-inch hole at the bottom. (If, like me, you can’t be bothered to dig out your machine, it’ll take you about 15 minutes to hand-stitch.) Turn the fabric right-side out and insert the pillow form. Sew up the hole. Fold the flap over the front side of the pillow. Thread the button and use it to anchor the flap in place.
Karen Robock lives, writes and crafts in Toronto.