Make a Holiday Pillow from an Upcycled Thrift Store Sweater

A textured, cozy holiday pillow is fast and easy to make when you upcycle a sweater from a local thrift store find.

I’ve wanted a holiday pillow for my white sofa for a long time. Unfortunately, every time I’d find one it was either too expensive or not quite the colors or pattern I wanted. I desired something unique and pretty and I’m really happy with what I ended up with!

Holiday sweater found at thrift store to make an upcycled pillow; gray and white with girl skiing.

I was at the thrift store looking for winter wool sweaters to felt and use for future projects, and I came across the cutest sweater. I immediately knew this sweater would soon be in my sewing room, cut and sewn into a lovely holiday winter pillow! The sweater was in great shape except some stains on the shoulder but I knew that wouldn’t matter for my project. Since I always have a measuring tape in my purse, I measured to make sure it would be large enough for the pillow form I already had at home. It was just perfect–with an inch to spare. This was definitely meant to be!

This project was so easy and forgiving and you could upcycle any piece of fabric or clothing into a different kind of pillow. Enjoy!

Let’s Go!

Materials to Make a Holiday Pillow from an Upcycled Thrift Store Sweater:

  • Sweater* (or fabric, etc) of your choice

  • Scissors

  • Needle and thread matching your project

  • Measuring tape

  • Pillow form in the size of your choice (mine is a 18” pillow form)

  • Sewing Machine

*Make sure your sweater is large enough for the size pillow you’ll be making. Sweater “fabric” should be at least 1” bigger than your pillow form measurement. Be sure to take into account the cut out for the arms and how that affects your square size.

Instructions For Cutting and Sewing Upcycled Holiday Sweater Pillow:

Step 1

After determining that your sweater is large enough for your chosen size pillow, measure off your pillow piece, at least 1” bigger than your pillow form, making sure to place any designs you’d like to be focal in the center. Lightly mark your measurement and cut (just the top layer of the sweater) to size.

Step 2

Measure, mark and cut the backside of sweater as you did above to exactly the same size as the front.

Pinning thrift store upcycled sweater top and bottom with right sides together

Step 3

Place right sides together and pin securely around the perimeter of the squares.

Step 4

Thread your sewing machine with matching or complementary thread. Using dense stitches, stitch around the perimeter of your sweater squares with a 1/2” seam allowance, holding securely as you stitch. When you are on the fourth side, stitch half way down to allow for turning right side out.

Step 5

Turn sewn square right side out.

Stuffing the pillow form into machine sewn upcycled thrift store sweater pillow.

Step 6

Gently stuff pillow form into your sewn pillow cover.

Using a blind stitch to hand sew upcycled thrift store sweater pieces together after inserting pillow form.

Step 7

Turn raw edges under and using a needle and matching thread, carefully sew opening together, using a blind stitch. Knot very securely. (Note: for demonstration purposes I used a contrasting thread but you’ll want to match your thread to your project.)

Leftover scraps from thrift store sweater after cutting out front and back for holiday pillow.

Now I need to decide what to do with my sweater “leftovers”! Maybe some small sweater ornaments? Let me know if you have any ideas for using the sweater remnants so I don’t waste any of this pretty knitted fabric!

Finished thrift store knitted sweater in white and gray sewn into a holiday pillow.
Make an inexpensive Christmas holiday pillow from an upcycled thrift store sweater for your home decor or a gift.