How embarrassing is it for a knitter and sewist to share these photos?

This sweater was purchased in Ireland by my father-in-law and I have worn it for years. It was better than a robe – the first thing I’d slip on in the morning to keep me cozy in our 60 degree house. (Then I raise the temp on the thermostat.) It was my in-house uniform. Not only had the elbows worn thin, but it was really falling apart at some of the seams. I’m sure I could have sewn on some leather patches and repaired the breaks. But my daughter bought me another lovely Irish sweater and I decided to retire this sweater.

Yes, this pillow has been on my bed for about six months! I just put the ripped side to the back. In my defense, I am hoping to make a new duvet, so I didn’t want to replace the pillows until I knew the color scheme. But since I already upcycled my hand knit sweater, I thought upcycling another sweater would be a quick solution. Here’s the first one I made (you can read about it here.)

I didn’t like how the buttons pulled, so I wanted to avoid that problem. I thought I’d create a simple tutorial on how to create one.


  • old sweater – cardigans make this project super simple!
  • pillow form

1. Cut back fabric. Starting with the back, cut a square 1″ larger than your pillow form. I cut a 19″ square for what I thought was an 18″ pillow form. In the end, I took out an inch of fabric, so I am not sure if my pillow form was smaller/worn down a bit or if my fabric was stretchier. But it’s better to start bigger rather than end up with one that is too tight, like my original. The original one shown above was also slightly felted, so it did not have much stretch.

2. Cut front.

 3. Use a piece of the sleeve, if necessary, to fill in the gap.

4. Stitch along the V using a zig zag stitch.

5. Trim away excess fabric on the back of the V.

6. Pin, right sides together.

7. Stitch and turn. Easy Peasy! In theory, that’s how this was supposed to go. I thought I could simply serge the edges, but my serger did not like the thickness of the sometimes three layers of knitting. I did fight and force it through, probably not a great idea. However, my Janome sewing machine is in the shop and I was really itching to make this. When I found some gaps, I took it up to the loft to sew it using a straight stitch on Annie’s Singer. It stitched through the layers just fine. If you have a serger, I would recommend serging the edges first and then using a regular machine to stitch around the square. If you don’t have a serger, simply stitch using a straight stitch and then zig zag around the edges just to prevent any of the stitches from unraveling. Turn inside out, add the pillow form and button it up! At least THAT part was easy!