Recently I’ve been going through a tremendous amount of our children’s baby clothes. I mean, we had 3-4 boxes of old baby clothes in our attic. Some were stained, others were special clothes, but all had sweet memories associated with them. Instead of keeping them for our grandchildren (which is a LONG way from now), I went through the stacks and stacks of clothes and made a few piles – one for Lauren, one for James, and one for sweaters. I’ll make quilts for James and Lauren with their own baby clothes, which I’ll post later. But the sweaters, I wanted to use the sweaters but didn’t know what to do with them. A quilt? Gloves? Hats? What?!

I decided on a lap quilt – something for the couch and for covering up with while reading a book. I took the sweaters and cut them down to size. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of this step. Basically, I cut off all the bottom ribbing so that the sweaters would lay flat and then cut them to 5½” square. I needed them to be small enough so that I could use even the smallest of the sweaters. After all, these were from toddler size up to a small boy’s size.  I was even able to use Lauren’s little white sweater in the photo below.

upcycling old sweaters into a quilt

Once I cut the ribbing off, I cut sweaters up the side seam, all the way up to the sleeve and down the sleeve. I did this on both sides so that I could open the sweater up flat.

Once it was opened up flat, I cut each section off of the main sweater so that I ended up with four pieces – the back of the sweater, the front, and both sleeves.

Once all the sweaters were cut into pieces, I then cut them down to the 5½” squares. And, when all the squares were cut, I then figured out how many total pieces I had and how I could arrange them so that that I used all of them. I ended up with 45 squares, so I settled with a quilt that was 6 squares across and 7 squares down, using 42 of the squares.

I arranged and re-arranged them until I had them in the pattern I liked best. For this quilt, it worked out that all of Lauren’s sweaters are below the red line of sweaters and everything from the red sweaters to the right are James’ sweaters. It’s a perfect mix of both of my children.

Using my sewing machine, I then pieced the quilt top together.

upcycling old sweaters into a quilt
For the back, I had an old flannel sheet that had seen better days. I thought it would go perfect with this soft quilt. I didn’t use any batting for this quilt as I figured between the sweaters and the flannel, this quilt would be plenty warm….and soft.

I placed the right sides together and sewed around the edges using a 1/4″ seam. I left a gap about 6 inches long so that I could turn the quilt outside in so that the right sides would be on the outside. Before I flipped it outside in, I snipped the corners at an angle so that they wouldn’t be bunched in the corners (but I didn’t snip too close to the stitching). It helps them to lay nicely.

Once I flipped it out, I hand-stitched the six inch gap using a hidden seam stitch.

upcycling old sweaters into a quilt
Once the quilt was pieced and quilted together, I used a blanket stitch around the edges.
upcycling old sweaters into a quilt

I think the end result is simply beautiful. It’s homey. It’s quaint. It’s completely unique and it’s full of memories – sweet memories. It’s like I get a memory hug every time I use it.

Do you have a stash of children’s clothes that you don’t know what to do with? Try your hand at making your own memory quilt.