Upcycling Sweaters

Winter is upon us, which means sweater season!  Do you find that you have a few old sweaters that you are not wearing?  Pull those sweaters off of the bottom of the shelf, and upcycle them into something useful and fun.  Here are some ideas for upcycling old sweaters to get you started:

  • Sweater pillow:  This is a fairly simple project that creates warmth and textures anywhere you place the finished product in the room.  Take the sweater, and lay it flat.  Measure the side seam to the length that you would like the pillow.  Do the same to the other side seam.  Cut in between the top points and bottom points of the measurements (this leaves only two sides to sew).  Turn the ‘sweater’ inside out and sew one side completely shut.  You may hand sew or use a sewing machine, just be sure to go at least ½ inch high to avoid fraying of the fibers.  Sew the other side partially shut, leaving enough room to stuff with batting.  Turn the ‘sweater’ right side out, and stuff with the filling of your choice.  You can use foam, cotton, or poly-fill.  Sew the hole shut.  You can stop now, or add decorative buttons for additional visual interest.
  • Boot socks:  Boot socks are currently in high fashion, but a new pair can cost well over $25.  Make your own simple boot socks and upcycle that old sweater with this quick, simple process.  Using an old sweater simply cut the sleeves off at the same length, depending on how long you would like your boot socks to be.  Make sure that the cuff will fit up to your knee.  If you are worried about fraying, you can fold over and sew the edge that was cut, but generally fraying is not an issue.  For added interest, you can attach a couple of small buttons or some lace at the cuffed end of the sock.
  • Fingerless gloves:  This is another simple and quick project to upcycle old sweaters.  Start by measuring the sleeve of the sweater to the length that you would like your gloves.  Add one inch for the hem, and cut off the sleeve at that point.  Turn the sleeves inside out and fold over the non-cuff end one inch and sew.  Turn the sleeve right side out and put on your arm so that the cuff is even with the tops of your knuckles.  On the inside of the sleeve, sew a ‘V’ between thumb and forefinger.  You may want to double stitch to ensure that it will be durable.  Carefully cut out the ‘V’.  Repeat with the second sleeve, and you are left with a cozy pair of fingerless gloves, upcycled from your old sweater!

Upcycling sweaters is a fun way to hang onto that favorite cozy piece of clothing that you just don’t want to toss into the trash.  If you don’t have any old sweaters that you want to upcycle, you can often find great thrift store bargains for only a couple of dollars, and create several cute, fun, and useful winter accessories.