Valentine’s Day is around the corner and it’s no secret that this holiday is for the ladies. So maybe this year it’s time to give the guys a break -- instead of waiting for him to send you flowers or bring a box of chocolates, why not give a gift to yourself?
As crafter Sarah McLean points out, any old sweater can be made into a pillow, but when the sweater reminds you of that certain special someone in your life, it can be extra comforting.
“Just search for a sweater, making sure you have permission before cutting up a favorite, and in no time you’ll be turning it into a pillow you can cuddle up with on the couch when your loved one is away,” wrote McLean in her directions for the project. “And if there’s no boyfriend, husband or someone special, all the more reason to make your couch or home extra cozy, just for you!”
Before you begin, here are some helpful hints:
Check out local thrift stores and yard sales for great deals on sweaters.
Make sure you are using a sewing machine needle that is appropriate for the fabric being sewn. Different fabric thicknesses require different size needles.
Using a zigzag stitch pattern will add seam durability.
For additional seam stabilization, before pinning the two pieces of fabric together you can stitch about ¼” in from the edge of each piece of fabric. Then you’ll pin the two pieces together and pick up on step 5 of the instructions.
Try “rounding” out the edges of the pillows as you stitch them to prevent awkward pillow corners that poke out.
Try felting a 100% wool sweater or using “accidentally” shrunken wool sweaters.
Pillow forms can also be used: draw a square or rectangle that is the same measurement as your pillow form and make sure you leave enough room to squeeze it into the fabric.
To create removable pillow covers, use sweaters with zipper fronts or button closures. For non-removable pillow covers, you can still use these sweaters, simply stitch the button panel closed and make sure the zipper fob doesn’t show on the outside.
Add embellishments like buttons, beads or embroidery.
Stay away from heavily cabled sweaters or ribbed sweaters. They tend to gather up as you sew them, forming bunched and wobbly seams.
If you’re familiar with the mattress stitch used in knitting, this is a great way to stitch the final opening closed.
The Boyfriend Sweater Pillow by Sarah McLean
One sweater (make sure it’s clean)
Needle & thread (for hand stitching the final seam)
Sharpie, or some sort of fabric marker
Ruler or tape measure
1. Flip the sweater inside out and lay flat on a smooth surface.
2. Using a ruler and sharpie or fabric pen draw, out a square or rectangle of desired size on one side of the sweater.
3. Cut the sweater, leaving about a 1” to 1 ½” margin of fabric around the square or rectangle you just drew. (I find it easier to cut the sleeves off, then cut the fabric.)
4. Pin the two pieces together, using approximately 2-4 pins per side and making sure any pattern in the fabric lines up.
5. Stitch all the way around the fabric where it has been marked, removing pins as you go and leaving approximately 4” open to insert pillow stuffing or pillow form.
6. Flip the fabric right side out and fill with pillow stuffing or squeeze in the pillow form.
7. To finish the pillow at the opening, turn the raw ends under (pin together if desired) and hand stitch closed.