Sweater Craft Tutorials & Fun Ideas
Sweaters (or jumpers if you're here in the UK!) are a staple of every wardrobe and just like other clothes we outgrow them or go off them....so then what do you do? Well you upcycle them of course!
On this page you will find plenty of how-to's to show you everything from re-using the sweater yarn for knitting, to making all kinds of goodies like slippers, blankets and coasters! Some don't require any sewing whilst some need a sewing machine, and some are quick and easy, whilst others require more advanced skills - there is bound to be the perfect DIY project here for you.
I hope you find this lens fun and useful :-)
This Is What You'll Need:
Best Sweater Recycling Books
Books make excellent resources for inspiration as they contain a huge choice of projects and full color craft displays.
Introduction To Sweater Recycling
Ideas For What To Make
Sweaters are a wardrobe staple in most countries, but once they are outgrown, are accidentally shrunk, go out of fashion or get a hole in, they are often thrown out. This is particularly a problem with today's disposable fashion culture, but there are soooo many ways you can re-use a sweater that after you've read this page, you'll never throw one out again!
I am a knitter but my favorite thing about sweaters is that they provide a great piece of knitted fabric without me putting in the hours to knit it - after all, you can't just go out and buy a yard of knitted material at a fabric store. And also you will find some sweaters that just have really fantastic patterns like fair isle or Christmas designs, as well as interesting textures like bobbles, cables and ribbing that you can't find ready-made elsewhere. So I like to make good use of these attributes by making them a feature when the sweater is revamped.
Other advantages of repurposing sweaters include: it is eco-friendly because you are recycling something that would have otherwise perhaps been thrown out, you get something brand new and updated out of something that was unused by you before, and also it's lots of fun! Some of the best examples of what can be made with sweaters are hats, slippers, padded gadget cases, bags, mittens and pillows. Usually the choice is whether to transform the sweater into something else that is wearable, or to turn it into something completely different like a home decor item.
Usually the projects require a basic level of sewing skills, but I would say that nearly all of the ideas below can be completed by a crafting newbie. If you are a beginner sewer and want to attempt the easiest tutorials first, I would recommend arm and leg warmers as these make use of the existing sweater sleeve shapes (so most of the sewing has already been done for you!) Also, if you don't want to deal with stitches coming undone and unravelling at the edges, felting is a popular technique where you basically shrink a 100% wool sweater in the washing machine (on-purpose) to make felt. Felt is a versatile and simple fabric to use because it doesn't fray at the edges so you don't have to hem it before making it into a product. For more information on felting, click here and here.
One more thing to keep in mind is the option to make much bigger projects like blankets by using the patchwork technique where you sew together squares of the sweater fabric to make a large piece. I love the look of patchwork sweater blankets and throws, so this is a fab project to attempt when you're feeling more confident.
If you don't have any sweaters at home already, thrift stores and any second hand sales are the best places to find cheap used items. Of course you don't have to buy sweaters that are only in your size if you're doing it this way (because you're not going to be wearing them), so I would suggest you look for men's XXL sizes so you get much more sweater fabric for your money!
Felted Sweater Hearts
Techniques for Revamping Sweaters
How to felt wool jumpers and how to unravel sweaters yourself.
- How to Felt a Sweater
Your sweaters must have a high wool content.
- Felting Sweaters
You can also felt wool blankets.
- Unravelling Sweaters
To re-use the yarn.
- Adding Embroidery
To your sweaters.
- From Sweater to Yarn
Learn to unravel a sweater.
- More Sweater Unravelling
Another tutorial for retrieving and recycling yarn.
Into other styles and types of clothing.
- Cosy Sweater Socks
Extra long socks made from sweater sleeves.
- Quick Mittens
Recycled mittens with a charming blanket stitch border.
- Cute Wool Hats
With ears and pom-poms!
- Slouchy Hat
Cute beanie style.
- Snowy Day Hat
Free pattern for a lined hat with cute braids.
- Sweater to Skirt
In 30 minutes.
Lovely photo tutorial.
- Open Cardigan
Transform a thin sweater into a cute cardi.
- Lightning Knit Dresses
Funky sweater revamp.
- Legwarmers and a Cowl Scarf
2 tutorials in 1!
- Bubble Skirt
Cute stretchy skirt.
- Sweater Dress
Such a cute girl's dress.
- Sweater Revamp