How to Make a Patchwork Pillow from a Pillowcase

This is a great project for upcycling kids’ clothes, that hardly get worn before they’ve grown out of them, and combining them with your favourite fabrics to get a lovely cushion with a range of textures and happy memories.

The fabric sizes we’ve used are only a guide line so feel free to mix and match patterns and proportions and come up with a whole sofa full of ideas.

You will need

  • Sewing machine and cotton
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Cushion pad (ours is 45cm feather filled)
  • An old jumper or cardigan. Lambswool or cotton work well, anything too loosely knitted will be difficult to cut out and may unravel! (ours is an aged 2-3 cable knit cardy)
  • An old pillow case and any fabric scraps you’d like to patchwork together. The reverse of the pillow case is used to give a nice envelope back to your cushion without doing too much work.

Step 1

Iron your old jumper and cut it out to give the biggest whole piece of knitting you can get, we used the back section, which was approx. 24 x 28 cms.

Step 2

Next take your pillowcase and cut a section that covers just over half of your cushion with a seam allowance of approx. 5cm all round. Then using another pillowcase cut a section that fills the rest of the cushion, remembering the seam allowance... I find it helps to lay all your pieces on the cushion pad before cutting.

Our sections were: yellow jumper (24x28cms) / finished section 17x18cm pillowcase (50 x38cms) / finished section 28 x 44cm grey fabric (24 x34cms) / finished section 17 x 24cm

Step 3

Once you are happy with the proportions of your cushion you can start sewing it together, with the knitted and the smaller section of fabric to make a long strip. Pin them together and mark a straight line. Take care to line up any patterns in the knit and fabric so they are positioned centrally and straight to make your cushion look super smart. Sew together and cut any extra fabric leaving a seam of approx 1.5cm, iron flat on the reverse.

QUICK TIP! If the machine foot gets caught in the knit just reverse and hold the knit flat as you sew.

Step 4

Next join the strip to the larger section, to keep things neat, mark guide lines on both and then pin, sew, trim and iron. You will now have your front section, on the reverse mark out a 45cm square.

Step 5

To make the envelope back, cut round the pillow case to give you two pieces of hemmed fabric, place these face down on to the right side of your patch work with a good overlap, pin into place in line with the square you have marked out on the front. Turn over and pin round the square you have marked out and sew.

Step 6

Cut away any excess fabric leaving a small seam allowance.

Turn the right way out and you’re done. Pop in the pillow and check the fit you can always bring in the sides a little for a snugger fit, so if in doubt always make BIGGER than you think!

There you have it... your personal patchwork cushion, perfect for popping on the bed.