How to Turn '80s Sweaters into Fashionable Floor Cushions

comments (17) March 5th, 2014     

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erika_kern Erika Kern, contributor
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The beloved Cosby sweater finds new life as a comfy floor cushion.
The bigger the sweater, the easier the cushion cover, but worry not if you find a smaller sweater that you love! Use patterns that complement each other and piece them together with basic quilting techniques. The front of this cushion is just a great big log cabin square.
Thrift stores are filled to the rafters with loud 80s sweaters. Since there are so many out there, you can get them for almost nothing. The average price of the sweaters in this pile was about $2. One of them cost a whopping 46 cents!
The beloved Cosby sweater finds new life as a comfy floor cushion.

The beloved Cosby sweater finds new life as a comfy floor cushion.

Photo: Erika Kern

Sew the cover together using a zigzag stitch and a 1/2-inch seam allowance. I highly recommend using a walking foot when sewing your cover together to aid the fabric feed. It's almost necessary when sewing through the heavy layers of sweater material. Once you've sewn the cover together, run another zigzag along the edge of your fabric to lock the knit down and prevent fraying. If you have a serger, you can sew it up and lock it all at the same time. Sergers are the best!

Once your cushion cover is sewn together, turn it right side out and stuff it with your cushion.

  The back of the finished cushion cover.

 

  One big sweater and one hour equal a fun, washable floor cushion cover. Look for XXL or larger if you want to use the one-sweater approach.

 

If you've found a few sweaters you love and they're too small to cover cushions all by themselves, you can use basic quilting techniques to make a patchwork cover.

  To showcase the zigzag-patterned sweater, I framed it with the striped one. My cushion was 28 by 28 inches, so I cut my center square 19 by 19 inches and my framing strips 25 by 6 inches (both with a 1/2-inch seam allowance). I sewed them together with a zigzag stitch using a walking foot.

 

Follow the instructions for the single-sweater cover to finish the patchwork cover.

  The top of my envelope back is the back of the large zigzag-patterned sweater, while the underside is the bottom half of the back of the striped sweater.

 

Now that you have your cushions covered, you're ready to sit back with a pudding pop (or perhaps some chocolate cake) and feel the Cosby sweater love!

posted in: sweater, thrift store, Cosby sweater

Comments (17)

Lilee writes: This is an idea which could help me build covers for some of our more than 10 floor pillows, which I've be beside myself about recovering since material and zippers are so expensive! Thank you for sharing, this could save me so much work and money, and acrylic will hold up better under regular washing than upholstery fabric & vinyl.
I have a Japanese-style diningroom, thus the high number of cushions which serve as chairs, and we have friends with baby boys! Every time the kids come over some of every food gets dropped and ground into the cushions. Any ideas on making them even more spill-proof, like some kind of lining?
Posted: 11:56 am on June 19th
SandyEvelynne writes: Erika - so well done - good on you. Instructions and photos excellent and the whole concept is a great idea. My dog would love them too! I wonder if that would keep her fur off the rest of the lounge, room, house!! Probably not - she's a lab.
Posted: 2:27 am on June 1st
EchoLin writes: wow, like this recycled things, so beautiful.
Posted: 4:47 am on May 3rd
sbell writes: The Today show had a segment on turning old sparkly christmas sweaters into cushions. Does anyone have the instructions?
Posted: 12:28 pm on January 6th
rainwolfe writes: Your post + beautiful sweater that no longer fits + $3.00 on clearance pillow from home store (+ribbon for accent)=
Beautiful new home decor!
Awesome!
Posted: 12:34 pm on February 2nd
erika_kern writes: lindesign53: Oh. . . sorry, I don't mean like an actual envelope, I just mean it as a style of pillow cover closure. The kind that doesn't need a zip or buttons.

So your back will be made of 2 pieces of material, a larger piece and a smaller one. When you're pinning the front to back you'll place the large backing piece down on your front fabric and then the smaller piece. There should be an overlap, I usually overlap about 5". You should be able to see what I mean in the pictures, especially the shot of the pinned cover and the shots of the backs of the pillows.
Posted: 12:57 am on January 20th
lindesign53 writes: I'd love to try this as I can't throw anything away, especially those gorgeous sweaters. One thing I don't get about the construction: you say sew it like an envelope. You are seaming two sides, and one side is folded over. Once you turn it inside out, what do you do with the flap? Thanks.
Posted: 11:45 am on January 18th
erika_kern writes: SandieSews: I found mine at a local thrift where they always have green ticket or white ticket or pink ticket days. On the what ever color day you go in anything with that color ticket is half off. A lot of the smaller, non-chain, type thrifts have those days. Also lots of Salvation Army stores will mark down anything that's there a long time, and most of these sweaters are in the thrifts a LONG time.
Posted: 3:48 pm on January 17th
queenopearls writes: Thrift stores, Goodwill, Salvation Army... lots of sweaters. I found a much-too-small cashmere sweater ($2.99 at St. Vincent Charity thrift store) that will make a great pillow! The sleeves are going to be wrist warmers after I dye them with kool aid. (nearly boiling water in an appropriately sized pot, throw in a packet or two of your favorite un-sweetened kool aid or generic drink mix, stuff in your wool of choice and watch it soak up the color).
Posted: 8:52 am on January 11th
sandiesews writes: Please tell, where did you find sweaters at that price?!!!

Posted: 6:35 pm on January 10th
artlikebread writes: hahah! I love the pudding pop line! Great idea!
Posted: 10:45 am on January 10th
Jen1964 writes: Great idea! YOu know how many of those sweaters are turning up in garage sales, rummage sales, and the like... and in great condition too... Would a "sweater swap" party be another source? Just don't tell your friends what you're planning to do! Might even work for the shrunken woolies... for the pet beds. Our dog always goes for the pillows, when she gets up on the furniture. Oh, and she's learned to claw down any afghans resting on the backs of the furniture. Do all dogs love the feeling of yarn? Anyway the floor pillows would soon be her favorite spots in the house. I could live with that.
We love re-covering old pillowforms. It's more efficient than buying the new ones all the time. And the covers do wear out.
Once you've secured the edges, while I know you could sew them, you could probably crochet them together, with both sturdy and decorative stitches. Has to be tight enough or they'll stretch though. I liked the idea I saw somewhere that put knitting in log cabin quilt patterns... if the sweater itself isn't already loud enough for you. Anything's possible once you start cutting them up!
Posted: 8:01 am on January 10th
Kips writes: This is a great idea ! I need to do this!
Posted: 7:56 am on January 10th
Neddie writes: I love this ideal i have alot of sweaters
Posted: 9:09 pm on January 8th
croqzine writes: Awesome. I love Cosby sweaters. This is a hit!
Posted: 5:27 pm on January 7th
erika_kern writes: They are way comfy too!
I like to sit on the floor to work and it's getting harder now that I'm getting older. These cushions are just the boost my aging rump needs. AND since the sweaters I used are old acrylic ones they are completely machine washable!
Posted: 3:21 pm on January 7th
kaytet writes: so great! i need to make some floor pillows too and this is a good idea!
Posted: 3:13 pm on January 7th
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