The shrunken jumper is an all too common problem. HLH greats creative with a favourite cashmere jumper that needs a touch of upcycling. 

With the changing of the clocks last week, the brown and gold leaves and evening dark have all felt as though they are rushing in at once and winter has truly arrived. Now that the temperature is dropping I have finally unpacked my winter wardrobe and folded away any sign of a floral dress or summer skirt.

In rediscovering old favourite jumpers, there are always a few that look more thread bear than I recall from the previous winter, their sleeves more pilled, colours faded or they feel a bit tighter than remembered; that little sweater that snuck into a hot water wash at the end of last winter only to be rediscovered a few sizes smaller!

I am always loathed to throw away anything and everything that could be turned into something else. And so this week I gathered up the few sweaters that were no longer going to work in their original form and will be giving them a second life.

There are so many things that can be made from a tired sweater. And with Christmas just around the corner (terrifying, I know) projects made from recycled sweaters will make great (and easy!) homemade gifts and accessories during Christmas time. In this first project, I’ll be turning a favourite Brora cashmere sweater into a small cushion – a great addition to a wintery sofa!

This sweater accidentally found its way into a hot cycle in the washing machine. And ended up being half its original size. Crop tops might be in this year, but not so much when it comes to cropped versions of big, comfy sweaters!

Instantly, I knew it would make a great little cushion cover!

With this jumper, I love the style of the button closure, and have decided to keep it intact for the final cushion. This closure will provide an opening for the cushion but also retains the character of the original sweater.

Firstly, with any sewing project, particularly an upcycling project that doesn’t necessarily have a pattern to go along with it, it’s always important to mark out the rows of stitching and pin before sewing. As the saying goes, ‘measure twice, cut once.’

With this project I have decided to dive straight in and lop off the arms first to instantly make the jumper appear more cushion shaped. Because the sweater has shrunk from its original size, it’s quite a bit smaller than standard cushion measurements.

The trick here is to get all seams as straight as possible in order to make perfect 90 degree angles and sharp corners.

So far, so good! I have trimmed away the arms, added seams down both sides and made sure the shape will be as square as possible. The general shape is coming along well and it’s on its way to becoming a fine little cushion!

Turning the sweater inside out again, pin the neck closed with what will be a single row of stitches. Be sure to measure from both shoulders down to ensure this row of stitches will be completely straight. Once finished, the bottom of the sweater can be sewn together and – voila! you have yourself a charming little cushion to add festival appeal to your sofa.

Be sure to keep the sweater sleeves! Our next project will make full use of the remaining jumper scraps.

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