Make a cushion cover from a jumper

Jumper Pillows

These easy-peasy cusion covers are a great way to make something new from something old. Upcycling at it’s best!

Before you begin:

Wash the jumper! This goes for any sewing project you’re planning – pre-wash the fabric/jumper so that it shrinks before you make your item. That way you can wash it again and again without ever having to worry about it shrinking.  Most jumpers will shrink in a normal wash – that’s okay (you’re not exactly planning on wearing it again), and it means that you’ll be able to wash it like that again later when it gets grubby. (If your house never gets grubby,then I’m coming to live with you!!)

Step 1:

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Unpick the pieces of your jumper – you’ll be using the Front and Back pieces.

Cut the jumper up. With the cream jumper, I unpicked the stitching all the way around the jumper, so that the knitting wouldn’t come undone while I was working with it. (You’ll have to cut the jumper later, but by that stage you’ll have secured the knitting so that it can’t fray). The red jumper had shrunk so much in the wash that the knit was tight enough to treat like normal fabric, so I simply cut the sleeves etc away.

Step 2:

Measure the largest square or rectangle that you can fit on the front part of the jumper. The front usually has deeper armpits and is narrower than the back, so anything you can squeeze onto the front, you’ll be able to fit on the back.

Step 3:

Once you’ve measured your pillow shape, cut it out of a spare piece of lining, or cheesecloth, or anything that’s handy that you don’t mind being the inside of your pillowcase. Just make sure it’s nothing stretchy. This lining is what’ll help keep your pillow case from stretching into cats’ ears in the corners and prevent it from warping while you sew it all up.

Step 4:

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Place your lining over your jumper pieces – pin and sew in place.

Place your fabric squares/rectangles over the inside of your front & back jumper pieces. Line them up and pin them in place. If your cusion is a rectangle, then make sure  that if the long side of the rectangle goes up the length of your jumper front piece, that you do the same on the back.


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Sew the lining to the jumper using a small stitch and a double line of sewing to secure the yarn in place.

Using a small straight stitch, stitch all the way around the outside of each of your squares/rectangles, through the jumper fabric too. Do another line of stitching next to it. The stitching holds your jumper in place, keeping it to a square shape later in the sewing process. This stitching also prevents the knitting of your jumper from unravelling. The reason we go for a smaller stitch is so that it’s more or less guaranteed to catch every yarn, holding it twice (both of your lines of stitching), and preventing it from fraying.

Step 6:

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Once you’ve sewn your lining in place, you’re ready to cut your pieces out.

Now that your yarn is sewn down and can’t fray anymore, you can cut your squares/rectangles out. I didn’t quite cut my jumper right next to the lining fabric – I left a little extra seam allowance in yet another bid to make it un-frayable.

Step 7 (optional):

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Overlock or zig-zag the edge of your pieces to finish it off neatly.

I think this next step might be optional, but I like the way it neatened the overall effect and calmed my concerns about those un-frayable edges coming undone. (Yes, I’m a control-freak and I like to know that no threads or yarns are able to do anything other than precicely what I want them to do!) I overlocked/serged the edges of both rectangles with a wide 4-thread stretch stitch on my overlocker. If you don’t have an overlocker/serger, then using a wide (but slightly shortened) zigzag stitch has the same effect – it just holds the edges neatly together, making sure none of them start getting ideas other than those you have in mind for them.

You now have two squares or rectangles ready to be made into your cushion cover. If you know what you’re doing, feel free to skip this bit, and pop over to our Facebook page to show us your finished product!

Step 8:

The next step is sorting out the fastening.  For the first pillow, I found some pearl buttons and a tiny scrap of ribbon at the bottom of my sewing box, which I used to create little button loops to hold by cushion cover closed. I had a red zip hanging around, so I used that for the red pillow. I’ve created a mini-tutorial on how to add buttons or a zip to a cusion cover.

Step 9:

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Pin the sides together, leaving the edge with the buttons or zip open.

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Before you turn your cushion right way out, clip the corners (without cutting through your stitching line).

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You may need to tidy up your open edge with some hand stitching.

Now that your zip or button loops are in place, pin your two sides together wrong sides facing, and sew it up! Just please don’t sew up the side with the buttons or the zip! Before you turn your cushion case from inside-out to right-way-out, you might want to clip the corners. If your jumper is quite wooly or thick, doing this will help take the bulk out of the corners so that they have a crisper effect. At this point, I discovered that the edges of my opening were looking a little scruffy. So, I simply hand-sewed 2 or 3cm closed at either end, to tidy it up.

Step 10 (buttons only):

If you’ve gone for the button option, sew your buttons in place, and then you’re done!!

What jumper did you use, and how did you find this little tutorial?I’d love to hear how did –  share your photos with me on Facebook!