DIY Sweater Pouf Ottoman

When I shared my fall home tour earlier this month, I revealed one of my latest diy projects for our home: a pouf ottoman that I created from a thrift store sweater. As promised, here is the tutorial for how I made it. This post is a bit premature, since I haven't quite "finished" it yet, but maybe you will be able to figure out the best way and then help me! And I didn't want to make you guys wait any longer for it, since who knows when I will ever really finish it.
To begin this tutorial we have to go all the way back to last spring, when I was shopping at the Salvation Army, and found this mustard yellow sweater.

It is one of my favorite colors, and I liked the cable knit. It wasn't a sweater that I was thinking of wearing...but one that I wanted to turn into something. My thought at the time was a pillow. It was only $3.99 so I decided to go for it. Then when I came home, it sat in my craft room for months, just waiting to be transformed. Until a few weeks ago...

When I decided it would make the perfect pouf ottoman!

I have wanted one for such a long time for our living room and knew my kids would love it. So, I decided to just wing it and see what happened. I don't consider myself an expert with the sewing machine by any means. I know my way around it and have made several things in the past, but I am not well versed in all of the technical info, so I hope you can bear with me during this tutorial. It may just inspire you to come up with an easier and better way! (I would love to know if you do...wink, wink).

I decided the best thing to do was to make the bottom of the sweater the top, since I would need to cut the sleeves off and didn't want seams on top of the finished piece.
I started by turning it inside out and cutting close to the original seam. But because I wanted this to be round, of course, I cut at a rounded angle starting near the collar.
I just so happen to have a huge collection of vintage thread, and when I was looking through the bin, I happened upon this one and was so happy!
Seriously folks...this kind of little stuff thrills me. Love these old wooden thread spools. Works of art if you asked me.
So, I decided to use this to sew up the arm holes. I sewed a straight stitch a couple of times and did a zig zag stitch twice as well because I knew my kids would be playing on this. I wanted to make sure it stayed together!
I did this on both sides and then, when I turned it inside out, it looked like this...
Remember this is the it really doesn't have to be perfect. I flipped it inside out again, and sewed it a little more rounded when I saw the sharp ends to the seams on the sides.

The next step, is just like my fabric pumpkin tutorial, but with more precision. I did make the mistake of using that same thread I showed you earlier for sewing up the neck, but it was too weak and since that time, my kids already broke the thread while playing with it. I did the top with crochet thread(*affiliate link) and highly recommend that or something similar instead.

I tied a very secure, tight knot and then weaved in and out in small increments all the way around. Then, gently but firmly, pulled it as closed as I could. 
Then finished it with another very secure knot after going in and out a few more times at the finished spot with the needle and thread).
I trimmed the thread and flipped it around, at which point it should look something like this...
Now the bottom was done! 

Next, I moved on to the insert. I decided to create a separate insert using polyester fiberfill, that would be put inside of the sweater. To do this, I cut two large circles in a matching color cotton fabric. This part is tricky, because the size you need depends on the size of the sweater you are using and how big you want it to be. I ended up having a diameter of about 28" to give you a rough estimate. 
I put the two pieces together and sewed all the way around, with a generous seam allowance, leaving about 8" open to put the stuffing inside.

Someone was getting excited about it already...
I really had no idea how much stuffing the pouf would take, so I bought a large 5lb. box of Soft n' Crafty fiberfill at Jo-Ann's. I think I probably only used about 1/4 of it (if that) you could get away with buying a smaller amount.
I let my kids help out with this part because I knew they would have a blast, and I like them to feel like they are part of the things that I create. So, later we can say..."the pouf we made." :)
We just stuffed and stuffed and stuffed until it was completely full and then stuffed a little more. To keep it from being lumpy, I was reaching in and adjusting it until it seemed fairly round and smooth.

It wasn't perfect, but the best part about this pouf is that it can be readjusted easily just by shaping it on the outside. Once it starts to get a little flatter (as ours has) I just fluff it up by pushing it in on the sides.

Once there is enough stuffing inside to your liking, you have to hand stitch the opening shut.
It really doesn't have to be pretty because you won't see it...just make sure it is very secure. I took a picture of the finished insert, but I am sorry it is so blurry!
Next, I put the insert inside of the sweater. Here is what the bottom looked was a perfect fit! Phew.
To finish it (well at least as much as I have), I flipped it over, and used the crochet thread and a large needle to sew up the top in the same manner as the bottom. I had my husband help me with pulling it tight and tying it up since it was a bit harder with the insert inside. And voila! Done. Well...sort of.
The hole on the top is bigger than I would like to really consider it a "finished" project, but I can't figure out how to finish it off. My kids want to sit on it (and jump on it), so I don't want to use anything that is hard or that will snag on their clothes (like a large button or something like that). If you have any suggestions for what you would do I would love to hear them! Or would you just call it done? She does...
The pouf had gotten a ton of use since we made it and I am so glad it worked out. I honestly had no idea when I started where it would end up! I definitely think I will be making more like this in the future. We can't stop at just one! :)

I hope that you enjoyed this and will consider sharing it for me! Since all of the recent changes to Pinterest, it is getting harder to get stuff out there...sadness. But if you found your way to this tutorial that makes me happy!

Have a great day and be blessed!

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Till next time...
~Alice W.

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Linking up with: Fridays Unfolded


  1. LOVE this! I think it is Fab just the way it is, but if you want an idea on adding to the top I have 2 ideas. Both use contrasting fabric just cause it would probably be easier then trying to match shades, and fabric won't hurt the kiddos. 1. a big floppy fabric bow, sewed in shape of the bow and to the sides of the pouf so it can't be untied, or slide off. (no choking hazards here people) I am thinking about 3-4" wide for the bow/ribbon, perhaps in a woodsy brown satin. 2. idea take a 2-3 inch wide by super long strip of fabric, (perhaps a heavy felt or drop cloth) and sew to the top of the pouf in a circular pattern giving the look of a floret design on the top.

    Like this
    Or take it one step further and do something like this.

    Not sure these are good ideas but it's something! :)

    1. You are awesome Kimberly! Thank you for taking the time to offer some ideas! Love them!

  2. I just love your poof so much! Have you seen the ones where there is a different patterned fabric on the ends? Cut into a hexagon shape? I think you could do something like that if you wanted!

  3. You are a creative genius! I love it! This post makes me want to learn how to sew. :)

  4. It turned out so great, love it.

  5. Alice, I love it! It's darn cute just like it is, but I had a couple of thoughts. One was to make a large yo-yo to cover the top. Only problem is that it might come undone with all the loving little one gives it. lol! the other thought was to cut a separate circle, iron the edges under 1/4 inch and hand stitch it to the top. Anyway it's darn cute! Thanks for the tutorial. Pinned.

  6. Love this! It looks so warm and cozy just like a sweater! Pinning.

  7. Hi Alice, Your poof turned out great and it's wonderful that you involve your kids in your projects. To close the top hole, you could cut out a circle of one of the sleeves. If you use a cardboard circle that's a bit smaller to iron the seam under, you get a crisp seam. Remove the cardboard and then attach the sweater circle by hand stitiching or with a hot glue gun.

  8. Love the pouf and that it is made from a recycled sweater! I was thinking of a circle along the same lines as Julia above. I will be on the hunt for a sweater : )

  9. Love this idea, I was going to crochet one, but this looks so much easier, think I will crochet a starfish and sew on the top, you could also find a pretty doily and stitch to the top.

  10. This is so neat, my daughter has been begging for a beanbag chair but we don't really have room for one at the moment. I think I will try this and make a PomPom for the center circle.
    Oh and I found your blog via this being featured on BuzzFeed


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Thank you for your comments! I love to hear from you! ~Alice W.

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