DIY Christmas Sweater Pillow

heather handmade sewing

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Turn an ugly Christmas sweater into a DIY Christmas sweater pillow for fun holiday decor! This upcycle is a great beginner sewing project!

A couple of years ago I found a fantastic ugly sweater skirt that I bought thinking I would wear it to holiday parties. Well, it sat in my closet and it never got worn. I loved the cute knitted design, so I finally turned it into a DIY Christmas sweater pillow.

I love it because the yarn is so soft and squishy! It adds just the right amount of cute holiday decor without being over the top. There are so many fun characters knitted across the front.

diy christmas sweater pillow

I made this Christmas sweater pillow as a pillow cover so that I could remove it and wash it if needed. It also makes it easier to store throughout the year.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is to reuse material to create something better than the original. I usually use this to describe when I’m sewing adult clothing into clothing for children or I’m sewing clothing into an accessory or house item.

I love upcycling because it saves time, money, memories, and the environment. It saves times since you can reuse details. It saves money since you are using what you already have. It saves memories because you can do something with a loved ones clothing. It saves the environment by keeping fabric out of landfills.

DIY Christmas Sweater Pillow

Do you love to sew? Try some of these sewing projects:

DIY Christmas Sweater Pillow

DIY Christmas Sweater Pillow


  • 1 adult Christmas sweater
  • Lightweight interfacing
  • 18 inch of Velcro or another closure like buttons or snaps
  • Pillow form (size depends on the size of the sweater you are using)
  • Sewing tools
  • Sewing machine

In this example I did use a Christmas sweater skirt that I thrifted at a thrift store, but you can use the exact technique that I used to make a DIY Christmas sweater pillow. Your measurements will be different because your sweater will be a different size, but I’ll give you a general idea of how to make one.

ugly christmas sweater

First, cut the top and bottom of the sweater. You will be cutting the ribbing off the bottom and the neckline/shoulders off of the top. The key is to have a straight line at the top and a straight line at the bottom.

cut off top and bottom to make straight lines

Cut one side seam open and the cut the side seams off of both sides. You will have one front and one back. Cut the sides so that they are straight edges.

Measure the rectangle you have left to decide what size your pillow is going to be. My rectangle was taller than it was wide so I chose to cut the back horizontally in the middle to add my closure. If your rectangle is wider than it is tall you can cut the back vertically in the middle to add the closure.

When you cut the back you will lose 3 inches in either width or height so trim your front rectangle 3 inches either skinnier or shorter.

cut side seams off and make straight edges

Cut a piece of lightweight interfacing to the size of each of the three rectangles.

cut three pieces

Apply the interfacing to the back of all the sweater pieces. Be very careful when pressing so that you don’t stretch out the knitted fabric.

interface back of sweater pieces

Take your back pieces and where they will be meeting, fold the edge over 1 inch and press.

fold back edges over 1 inch

Zigzag the hem in place with matching thread.

zigzag fold in place

Attach the Velcro (or snaps or buttons and buttonholes) to the hem. One Velcro side will face the inside of the sweater and one Velcro side with face the outside of the sweater.

Velcro the back pieces together so that everything will be in the right place when the pillow is finished.

sew on velcro

With right sides together pin the front of the pillow to the back of the pillow. It’s okay if there’s any small size discrepancies since it will be trimmed later. You can see that my front piece is wider than my back piece. The sweater knit tends to grow and shrink as you work with it.

Sew around the edges with a 3/8 inch seam allowance and a straight stitch. Pivot at the corners.

pin right sides together and sew

Trim the excess seam allowance and trim the corners.

trim edges

Turn the pillow cover right side out and poke out the corners. Be careful not to poke through the interfacing.

turn right sides out and poke out corners

Insert a pillow form and close the back of the pillow. You finished!

insert pillow form

If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

DIY Christmas Sweater Pillow
heather sewing

I believe small sewing moments can create great joy. Find your own “right” way to sew. -Heather

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This is the exact same project that I wanted to sew last year, but I didn’t have an ugly sweater to use!