I’d always pretty much considered Valentine’s Day an adult holiday until I had kids. Now I appreciate the sweetness and fun of a day (or month!) to immerse ourselves in everything hearts & love & affection. I’ve had this plan to upcycle an old sleeveless sweater into a pillow and today I’m sharing what I’ve transformed it into – a “love” reverse applique sweater pillow.
This is a pretty easy project, and I’ll share a couple of ways you could make it even quicker!
1. Gather supplies: I recently bought a 12 x 16 lumbar pillow at JoAnn’s during a nice sale and used a coupon for an additional 25% off. The sweater is a white cable knit sleeveless sweater that I’ve had in my “to be refashioned/upcycled” drawer since it got a stain on the back I couldn’t get out. Some red felted wool I had (yet another project with lovely felt from my Package Pal Ellen!).
2. Sketch out your design. I used a scrap of duck cloth and this will also serve as the stabilizer for the applique. You could also print out a font you like, but I wanted this to be in my handwriting. Hubby Dave even commented that he liked that it was my writing! Go over the final design with a sharpie or dark marker so the next step will be easier.
3. Trace the design in reverse. Make a sandwich with the sweater right side down, then the felt, and finally the design with reversed side up. Pin in place. You could iron some interfacing between the felt and the design here as well to further stabilize your stitching.
4. Working slowly from the backside where the design is showing, stitch around the lines of the design.
5. Cut away the sweater close to the lines of the stitching. You could go back over with a zig-zag or other stitch, but I liked the look of the rough edges.
6. Measure the pillow – just want to double check the measurements.
7. Prepare the back. I decided to make a button closure for the back and used the bottom edge for the buttonholes. Sew buttonholes at even intervals. For the side with the buttons I finished the cut edge using my serger, but you could zig-zag or turn the edges just as easily. Iron a strip of medium weight interfacing to stabilize the edge and support the stitching for the buttons. Make sure the pieces are cut to overlap on the back – I made mine overlap 1.5″; the width of the ribbed edge of the sweater. Or if you want to make it easier, use the front of a button down shirt and skip buttonholes and the rest!
9. Turn right side out and add buttons. Stuff the pillow form in, button up and enjoy!