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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sweater Pillow Morality

I'm not sure where I stumbled on this idea, but there are instructions in some craft/sewing books and online as well. (The sweater pillows, not the morality - that part comes at the end).

Several months ago when Hubby was cleaning out his closet, he put a bunch of sweaters in a pile to donate. I quickly snapped them up and they have languished in my sewing room ever since. It was time, homeys.

I am, of course, seemingly always in the process of cleaning out my sewing room and finishing unfinished projects (ostensibly so I can start something new).

You need, of course, a sweater and a pillow form. Wash the sweater in hot water and dry on high. Turn the sweater inside out and lay flat. Lay the pillow form on the sweater to get a general idea of how the two will fit together. You do not want to cut before you start sewing.

Step one is to sew across the midsection. In this case, I also sewed new seams on the sides as my pillow form was skinnier than my sweater. AFTER you sew, then you can cut off the upper part of the sweater.

I think if you are truly industrious, you can probably find a use for the remainder of the sweater. Like if you have a much nicer midsection than I do, you could probably just wear it over a cami frayed ends and all, or stuff and sew it closed for a draft snake...but I digress.

You are probably also noticing the puckering in the sewing in the photo below. We'll get to that in a moment.

This closeup is to show that I do a straight stitch and then a wide zigzag as well directly over it for strength.
Trim roughly 1/3" from your seam lines, turn right side out over the pillow form and check for fit. The sweaters are stretchy, so you want it pretty snug.
I read somewhere online that cutting it in a rectangle would result in "ears" on the corners of the finished pillows and you could get around that by cutting the corners as seen below. Much cutting, sewing and on and off the pillow form later, I discovered that it fit best if I just made it a trapezoid. (scroll down for photo).
It's still a little puckery, but the fit was much nicer at the top corners and on the sides. You'll notice in this photo that I'm using the bottom of the sweater as the edge left open. It sort of has minor ears on the bottom, but just let it go.
After you get the three sides pretty much a snug fit, pin the open edge closed and embroider it together with a simple stitch or a blanket stitch in a coordinating or contrasting thread.

Here is the brown pillow completed on my bed.
Here is the contrasting stitching on the finished pillows.
I did the green/cream one first, so of course the brown/blue one is much better.If you have questions about this process, let me know!
The morality part of the project is this: after I made the cream pillow, I started the brown pillow and had three more in queue, lined up like chorus girls on the futon in my sewing room. But, the minute I cut into the brown pillow something turned in my stomach.
There was nothing wrong with the sweater. nothing. Somebody in the world was cold and needed that sweater and I was making a decorative pillow out of it. ugh. shudder. I had already cut into it, so I finished the pillow, but the other three sweaters are going to Tank's school food and clothing drive this week. I will find some sweaters with holes or stains to make my remaining three pillows and I hope that every time I look at those pillows (one on sofa and one on bed) that I will be reminded of the cold hungry people in the world and try to tread a little more lightly.
Okay that was sanctimonious and preachy, but there it is.

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