Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sweater Weather

For those of us in the south, I'm really hoping the season for sweaters is coming to an end. However, I believe that's just wishful thinking on my part. Officially, the first day of spring is only a few weeks away, but I know we'll still have sweater days to come over the next couple months. 

In the meantime, as you prepare and/or hope for warmer weather, do you have any old sweaters you're ready to part ways with? Wool or cashmere sweaters of at least 80% to be precise. Maybe you've picked some up from Goodwill or your local thrift store? 

That's what I did a few years ago after seeing a project in this issue of Make it Yourself by Better Homes and Gardens. 

The project was a felted sweater quilt. 

Should you decide to make your own, there are plenty of tutorials to find online. Just type "sweater quilt DIY" into your Pinterest search. You will have no want for instructions there. Or you can also buy the 2012 back issue of Make it Yourself and have your own set of instructions to look at.

This is my sweater quilting adventure with a few tips along the way.

After gathering your sweaters, be sure to wash them in hot water and dry them. This will cause the fabric to felt, which is why you want a high percentage of wool or cashmere. Read more in depth about it here. Once this is done you can now cut your sweaters into squares. The size is your choice. I chose to do 10" squares. Also remember to get creative with your sweaters. Patterned sweaters are always a fun idea! 

Now comes the fun part. Lay out your squares into the arrangement you want for your quilt. Then start sewing those squares together in rows. You can do this part several different ways. The instructions I used called for a seam stabilizer to be used. I've seen others line two squares up and use a zig-zag stitch to connect the two. Maybe check out other instructions and see what method you prefer to use. The stabilizer worked for me, but was somewhat tedious trying to pull off later. If you choose this, be careful not to rip your stitches in the process when tearing it off. 
Once your first set of rows are sewn together, sew up the rest to connect it all together!

Next, I got ready for the backing by safety pinning the sweaters front to the backing. The instructions I used didn't call for a backing but I chose to put one on, just so it would look more finished on the back. Use your own creativity with that. You might like the more rustic or undone look, depending on the color and fabric patterns you chose. Also, I chose a flannel fabric for the back. Just so it would be soft and cozy when you're curled up with your quilt.

If you choose to do a backing, be sure to cut it a few inches bigger all around than the front of the quilt. This way you'll have room in case there are in mishaps in measuring or cutting. Once the backing is sewn all around, it's time for the final step. The binding. I chose to use a cotton fabric with a pattern to match my squares. If you have any questions about the binding or a how to try this place for instructions. If you do better with a video, check this out.

And finally done!!

Here you can see the binding fabric I chose from Hobby Lobby. I love the pattern.

Not a quilt person? There are many craft ideas out there involving sweaters.
 If you're a Pinterest kind of gal--who isn't?--check out other fun uses for sweaters. 
Even if you chose to do the quilt, you'll still want to check it out because there's going to be lots of leftovers! 
My favorite idea? 
Using the sleeves as leg warmers or boot socks. Fun! 
Maybe sweater weather isn't so bad...

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I thought I might try this and save any jumpers I've ruined in the washing machine. Luckily I've only wreaked one so far, but one day I'd love to have a go at this. Maybe I'd better start checking out our local charity shops instead! I love how this looks.

    1. Julia, the charity stores are a great place to find these sweaters! Maybe you can hold on to your jumpers a little longer. :-)

  2. I love the one you made for me! :)