Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Felted Sweater Pillow Tutorial

I didn't start out intending to make pillows; I started with a lap quilt.  I made the lap quilt, and I was going to post the tutorial for it, but...

We used it for a couple months last winter and my son proceeded to get food on it, despite the fact that he is not allowed to eat in the living room.  I washed and dried it, and although I had felted the sweaters by washing them in hot water, then drying them on hot and doing the same with the backing, the sweaters shrunk and left the backing in a mess. Here is the backing pre washing, and hand blanket stitched all around.

 Live and learn, so I did.  Now I decided what our naked sofa needed was pillows, and after sewing the clothes for Project Reveal, I needed an easy project, so pillows it was.

 Here it goes:  Tutorial for Felted Sweater Pillows.

I found these cashmere sweaters at Goodwill.  I can't remember how much I paid for them, but they were men's sweaters with a bit of wear and some holes.  However, the color suited me well.

1.  Wash the sweaters in hot water and dry them to felt.

2.  Cut them up into squares and rectangles, using a cutting mat and roller knife makes this easier.  I cut them into the biggest pieces I could.

3.  Measure to find out how big the pillows needed to be.  I had two 18X18" pillow forms, so to make the pillows look full and stuffed,  make the pillows and backing the same size as your insert.

4.  After cutting out the squares, lay them out and arrange them to your liking.

5.  Next, stitch the pieces together, joining the squares using a 1/4" seam.

7.  Once you have all the sweater pieces joined into the size you want, (18" x 18" as shown below) steam and block it to get the pieces as square as you can.

7.  Neaten the edges by using a roller knife and straight edge.

8.  Cut a backing the same size as the pillow.  In my case, I used an 18 x 18" piece of cotton that I recycled from an old chair cover.  

9.  Lay the sweaters on top of the backing and quilt the sweaters to the backing layer.  This way, when you wash the pillow, hopefully it will not shrink causing problems.  I quilted around all of the blocks, and then I steamed the pillow top again to make sure everything was smooth and tight.

10.  Cut the pillow back out of a preshrunk fabric.  Cut two pieces out.  For the 18x18" pillow, I cut two pieces out 18"x12" to make an envelope back.  I wanted at least a finished 4 inch overlap so I cut them with a 6 inch overlap to begin with.

11.  Stitch down the edge toward the middle of the pillow pieces 1/4" from the edge.

12.  Press this seam over at the stitching, and then fold over again to hide the raw edge and press.  I folded the edge over about 1 - 1/2 inches.  Do this for both back pieces.

 13.  Stitch the folder in place about 1/4" from the edge.

 14.  Place one back on top of the quilted pillow top right sides together and pin in place and stitch around using a 1/2" seam allowance.

 15.  Place the other back over the first with the folded seams to the middle and right sides facing and stitch into place with 1/2" seam allowance.

16.  Cut the corners on the diagonal so that you can push out the corner when turned right side out.  Be sure you don't cut into the seam.

17.  Turn right side out and push out the corners and put in the pillow form.  Here is a photo of the back of the finished pillow.

Here is the finished pillow in place.  I made two like this one, but then decided they looked a little lonely, so I made two smaller ones (12x18") using the backing fabric, which is a cream denim that I had leftover from an earlier project.


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