Have a Sweater? Make a Pillow!

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) One of my favorite things about Halloween (besides the candy of course) is the abundance of skull-adorned items that fill up the stores. I have an all-year-round attitude towards skulls, but it’s fun to find and make new items “for Halloween” that I end up keeping out the rest of the year. The thing that I love about this project is that, not only does it involve cross stitching (which, as it turns out, is so fun), but it’s also sweater upcycling as well since you use a knit-based material as the base of your pillow. This is actually the first time I’ve done anything cross stitch related, so if you haven’t tried it yet either, this is the perfect project to start with. So don’t throw out that old sweater because we’re going to make something new out of it!

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) We’re so excited to team up with one of our favorite go-to stores in town, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, on this post! They’re kind of a dream partner for us, because, well, we go there all. the. time. We’ll be working with them on a couple more posts this season, so stay tuned! Be sure you check out Joann.com if you don’t have one in your town!

Supplies:

-skull template-thick white yarn
plastic yarn needle
-black knit sweater
-fabric scissors
plain black cotton fabric
pillow stuffing

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial)OK, so first print out your skull cross stitch template. The numbers tell you how many Xs are across each line and the skipped spaces are in parentheses.

I put a foam core board inside my sweater so it would lay nice and flat while I worked, but a piece of cardboard would be fine too. The great thing about cross stitching is that you can make your design as big or as small as you want just by making each X bigger or smaller. I decided to start with one of the longest rows near the middle of the skull so I could keep each line straight and balanced in relation to that first line. Just get a long piece of yarn threaded through your yarn needle, knot the end, and come up from underneath the sweater so the starting knot is hidden on the back side.

To determine your X size, examine the weave of your knit and see if there are distinguishing marks you can use to measure your X size. For example, I had lots of vertical columns in my knit, so I made all my Xs two columns wide and then made sure they were all the same height.

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) Stitch the correct number of Xs across, and then move to the next row. Don’t forget to move your starting point in or out a few spots as the pattern dictates.

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) When you get to the end of your yarn, tie a new piece on the underside and knot it close to the sweater. Re-thread the yarn and continue your pattern.

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) There’s probably a more correct way to cross stitch as far as where you go in and come out of your fabric to make the Xs, but that didn’t seem to matter for this project. I just went in and out where it made the most sense and straightened the yarn with my fingers as needed. The back may look a bit messy, but that’s OK 🙂

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) Once your pattern is complete, knot the yarn on the underside and trim the string. Cut two pieces of plain black fabric that are your final pillow size with 1″ added for a 1/2″ seam allowance. (So my final pillow is 18″ square, and I cut two pieces that are 19″ square.) Flip your sweater inside out and center one of your cotton squares over your skull pattern and pin around the edge. This cotton will act as a backing for your sweater material. Repeat this step with the back half of your sweater and the other cotton square.

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) Cut your sweater up the side seams to separate the front from the back. Using a sewing machine, stitch 1/4″ in from the outside edge of each of your cotton squares.

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) Trim the excess sweater away from your cotton backing.

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) Place the two pillow halves together (right sides facing each other) and pin around the edge. Sew together with a 1/2″ seam allowance leaving a 5-6″ opening to fill the pillow.

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) Flip the pillow right side out, stuff the pillow until it’s as full as you like, and sew the opening closed with a blind stitch. That’s it!

Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial) Have an old sweater? Make this cute skull pillow with it! (click through for tutorial)OK, if I’m being totally honest, I was so tempted to just leave the sweater untouched after the skull was sewn on because it looks so cute as a sweater as well. Buuut, then this wouldn’t be a pillow project, now would it? Anyway, this turned out so well that I’m planning on making another skull sweater that stays a sweater so I can wear it out and about. I think cross stitching just made a new fan! xo. Laura

Credits// Author: Laura Gummerma, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection

  • Do you think there is any risk of the sweater edges unraveling? I want to apply this tutorial to cable and other knit sweaters, and in this one it doesn’t seem to compromise durability once it’s sewn together…I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do to help protect the edges.

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  • This is such a cute idea! I would love to do this only cross-stitch an owl instead. Because I love pillows, but they’re way too expensive sometimes!
    xo
    Kristina
    www.eccentricowl.com

  • Holy crap — this is awesome!! I have a friend that is really into skulls and this is the best Christmas present idea for her EVER. Thanks for posting this!

  • This is so awesome! I might need to do this on a sweater! Speaking of JoAnn’s, did you guys hit up the awesome sale they had last week/this weekend? I stocked up on art canvases since they were half off, and the clearance fabric was half off as well! I spent way too much money! I work there though, and I send people to your blog all the time! You guys are my favorite blog and always inspire me!

  • I would love to do this on a sweater to wear this fall!
    I sense a trip to the craft store!

  • Totally agree about the skulls! I love them all year-round, but Halloween has just given me more of an excuse to wear skull-covered clothes all the time. 😉

  • I’ve been collecting alot of nostalgia from when I was younger, most of the items have been Chalupa (Loteria) cards, Sugar Skulls from the days where we were close to my grandparents graves to celebrate Dias De los Muertos, for some reason, I’ve been really collecting a ton of great pieces from my heritage lately. I think it’s the weather 🙂

  • This is great! Thanks for sharing! I think I may need to make a stop at my favorite thrift store soon!

  • This is such a clever idea! What could make a cozier pillow than a sweater?! I love the innovative creativity and thriftiness of homemade sewing. This is definitely something I’ll have to try.

  • this is very off topic but what is that nail color?! I feel like I have seen it a lot on you and never have posted but i NEED it on my fingers right now.

  • I am the worst DIYer in the world… However love reading & seeing all these super intresting & crafty DIY projects on A Beautiful Mess…

    Have a lovely day!!!

    xoxo Violeta, your Shoegal Out In The World

    www.shoegaloutintheworld.com

  • Adoring this. Damn… just need a sewing machine !!!
    <3
    amodelintheknow.wordpress.com

  • That’s an awesome idea! I should try it :))

    Kisses, Kali
    | Kali’s inspiration board |

  • I can barely sew a straight line, but this is SO CUTE that I think I’ll have to TRY! 🙂 Such a great idea girls…and Joanns as a partner?! AMAZING. XO – Jana

  • How do you continually make up these wonderful DIY’s and posts? Your creativity is an inspiration! http://meowemily.blogspot.com

  • Super cute! It would be a really lovely Halloween sweater. I love skulls.
    To make your cross-stitches look neater, make the top strands of the X’s all go in the same direction (e.g., top left to bottom right).

  • Skulls, sweaters, and pillows. This DIY just combined my three favorite things. <3

  • a sweater pillow would look perfect on my couch! i’m going to sew some buttons on mine to make it look like a cardigan or coat 🙂

    xo

    alysadaily.blogspot.com

  • I love how polished this pillow looks! You would never know it was from an old sweater. All these Halloween projects are making me pretty excited as well!

    Tara
    themountaincreative.com

  • I’m not really into skulls, but I love this project nonetheless! Happy Tuesday 🙂
    http://youtu.be/5Ln06yXGyTk

  • Thanks so much Stacey! Here it is- https://abeautifulmess.com/2014/05/geometric-wool-felt-pillows.html

  • I think pillows can totally bring a room together, but they are often absurdly expensive to buy! I love the idea of making my own – that skull pattern is adorbs 🙂

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

  • Not a fan of skulls, but this would make a great “sweater” to wear this time around…

    xo
    Hems
    agoldentulip.blogspot.com

  • This is so sweet! I love the stencil.

    Warm Regards,
    Alexandra
    www.littlewildheart.com

  • What a neat idea! I also love the colorful pillow behind it—is that DIY too?

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