Things You'll Need
- Old sweaters
- Cotton sheets
- Fabric pen
- Cotton batting
- Sewing needle or sewing machine
Old sweaters that are destined for the garbage can find a second life in a homemade quilted blanket. The project is easy and can create a memorable keepsake from souvenir sweaters, holiday presents and that amazing sale you could not resist. Even when the blanket is complete, additional squares can be added later for a family heirloom to pass down through generations.
Lay a sweater on a flat surface and smooth it out. With a pencil or fabric pen and a straight ruler, trace the square you would like to use. A good size square is 12 inches by 12 inches, but this measurement can be modified if the measurement runs through the middle of a picture or emblem on the sweater.
Cut out the square and then use the square as a template to trace a square on the remainder of the sweaters. Cut each square out as you go and put it on top of the original template to be sure you are cutting the proper size from the template. You can use just six squares to make a baby blanket or use 24 or more to make a full-size blanket.
Lay out a large new or old lightweight cotton or muslin bed sheet on a flat surface. Trace the square sweater template onto the corner of the bed sheet and cut out the new square. Repeat this process for as many squares as you made with the sweaters. For a warmer blanket, you can use a fleece material in place of the lightweight cotton.
Unwind a roll of cotton batting and lay it out on a flat surface. Trace and cut out squares the same size as the sweater and bed sheet squares from the cotton batting.
Place the sweater square on a flat surface with the picture side facing upwards. Cover it with the bed sheet square and then the cotton batting square. Sew the seams on three of the sides together using a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch for a flat finished edge.
Turn the sewn-together square inside out, which will present the finished faces of the square. Sew the remaining side of the square closed using the zigzag stitch on a sewing machine or a whip stitch by hand. Repeat this process for each of the sweater squares.
Connect the finished squares using a chain piecing technique. To do this, arrange the squares how you would like them in the blanket and lay them in rows and columns to form the blanket. Begin with the top left two blanket squares and sew them together using a zigzag stitch. Without breaking the thread, sew on the next square and continue in this fashion until all of the pieces have been attached. It is all right to repeat stitches between squares to prevent breaking the thread.
Eric Jonas has been writing in small-business advertising and local community newsletters since 1998. Prior to his writing career, he became a licensed level II gas technician and continues to work in the field, also authoring educational newsletters for others in the business. Jonas is currently a graduate student with a Bachelor of Arts in English and rhetoric from McMaster University.