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34 Projects Made From Old Sweaters

Get inspired for what to do with old sweaters when you browse this collection.

By: Caley Walsh, Editor,
Projects Made From Old Sweaters

Projects made from old sweaters mean you save money on craft materials and reduce household waste. You likely have some sweaters thrown in the back of your closet, damaged with a stain, moth hole or two. Instead of tossing old and unused sweaters, turn them into something new and completely loveable. You can also look for inexpensive sweaters at the thrift store. Crafting with old sweaters is a wonderful way to make something old new again!

Below we have several ideas for what to do with old sweaters. Turn old sweaters into blankets, toys, purses, pillows, and more! Projects range from very simple and decorative to a bit more intricate. You'll love browsing the ideas below and getting inspired for what to make with old sweaters!

Make Felt

Sweaters that are at least 20% wool can be felted in your washing machine. 100% wool sweaters will give a sturdier felt for different crafts. Make sure the sweater has not been treated to make it washable, such as “superwash, ” as these will not felt. Throw the sweater into a zippered delicates bag and wash on high heat. Dry on high heat, cleaning the lint trap frequently. Some sweaters require more than one wash and dry to fully felt. The sweater will eventually shrink dramatically and will be ready to cut apart!

  • Felting Wool Sweaters

    There are a number of ways you can make felt, but Felting Wool Sweaters is one of the easiest methods. Learn how to felt a wool sweater with this helpful tutorial.

    Get the Tutorial

Make Pillow Covers

Use a pillow form to help you measure and mark the size for your throw pillow on the old sweater. You need a sewing machine for this project or a bit of patience with hand sewing.

Plastic Bag Holder Pattern

Have a dog you need to clean up after on walks? Use the sleeve of an older sweater to create a handy plastic bag holder to hang from a door. The stretchy wrist end is perfect for the bottom and you don’t even need to stitch it closed. Just cut the shoulder seam and sew a neater edge. You can add embellishments such as ric-rac at the edges or cut out “Dog Walk” in fabric letters and appliqué to the sweater sleeve. Loop a piece of elastic and sew to the top to hang from a door.

DIY Brooches

A brooch adds instant style to any jacket, sweater or bag. Either felt the sweater first to prevent unraveling or double-stitch a flower shape with your sewing machine. Use a fabric pencil to mark a simple floral design and double stitch over this design. Cut out the shape at least 1 cm away from the stitch line. Stitch and cut out another floral shape slightly smaller than the first. Layer the two flowers and sew together with an interesting button.

Coffee Cup Sleeves or Water Bottle Cozies

Cut a band in your old sweater sleeve to make a coffee cup sleeve, or use a larger piece of the sleeve for a water bottle cozy. You can felt the sweater first to make a more solid material fit for embroidery and other embellishing.

Create a Patchwork Blanket or T-Shirt Quilt

If you have several old sweaters, turn them into lovely blanket or quilt. You can cut the sweaters into blocks or varying shapes, and even use the ribbing for the edges of the blanket. Check out this photo tutorial on quilt piece cutting for help. Some sweaters may be too thick for the sewing machine, so you will have to pin and hand-sew pieces together with right sides facing and ½ inch seam allowance. If seams do not lay flat after steam-ironing, hand-stitch seams to back of the blanket. Thinner sweaters can be sewn with the sewing machine and can be given a fabric backing.

Toys Made from Old Sweaters

Whether felted or not, old sweaters are a great material for making toys or stuffed animals. Create a puppet with the sleeve of a sweater. Hem the cut edge to prevent fraying. To make the head of the puppet, you can simply sew the cuff together straight across or trim a curved line and sew. For a puppet with hair, gather a few inches of the cuff and weave the thread back and forth. Pull tight and secure the thread. Cut off some of the gathered cuff to leave fuzzy hair.

Projects Made from Old Sweaters

There are so many more projects made from old sweaters out there, we didn't want you to miss one! Below are more of our favorites featured on the site.

  • From Sweaters Come Great Leg Warmers

    Leg warmers and faux boot tops are trendy, but can be expensive. Fear not, they can be crafted from a sweater found at home.

  • Recycled Sweater Mini Trees

    Save those old wool sweaters and transform them into this free Christmas craft! They look great and are perfect for the holidays.

  • Felt Flower Mini Tote

    Use felted wool sweaters to sew a mini felt tote adorned with felt flowers and other embellishments. Reinvent your old or damaged wool sweaters or pick some up from the thrift store for this clever sewing craft. Follow this sewing tutorial to make a pretty mini tote for spring.

  • Adorable Repurposed Sweater Mittens

    Create these Adorable Repurposed Sweater Mittens from thrift store sweaters.

  • Recycled Wool Sweater Beads

    Recycled Wool Sweater Beads from Rebecca Parsons look great as part of a necklace.

  • Recycled Wool Owl

    Using simple felting techniques and a few easy-to-find materials, you can make your Recycled Wool Owl.

  • Ugly Sweater Purse

    This Ugly Sweater Purse is a great way to get the look of a cute knit handbag with absolutely no knitting involved at all! 

  • Felt Sweater Christmas Trees

    These Felt Sweater Christmas  Trees are not only cute, cuddly, and easy DIY Christmas crafts, they're also made from recycled sweaters! 

  • Upcycled Sweater into Cozy Winter Wreath

    Got an old sweater that you no longer can wear? Repurpose it into a winter wreath! As a special bonus, you can upcycle an old scarf into flowers to embellish the wreath!

  • Upcycled Sweater Slipper Boots

    Upcycle a favorite sweater into cute slippers! With this simple tutorial you could make a pair of these adorable sweater slipper boots in just a few minutes!

  • Upcycled Sweater Wine Gift Bag

    Use a sweater you have on hand or grab an inexpensive one from the thrift store and make a wine cozy perfect for beginning sewists!

  • Repurposed Sweater Felt Succulent Garden

    !!!!!! This is one succulent garden you can't kill. All the gorgeous fake succulents are made from felt scraps from old wool sweater projects!

  • Gorgeous Recycled Sweater Valentine's Decoration

    This lovely Valentine's wall decoration costs almost nothing to make as you make it with an old wool sweater and a wire coat hanger!

  • Upcycled Sweater Felt Tassels

    Use sweater felt scraps to make these gorgeous tassels. They are so easy to make that they would be a great craft for kids.

  • Repurposed Sweater Christmas Trees

    Felt old wool sweaters by putting them on a hot wash and then use them for your crafts! These gorgeous trees were made from felted wool scraps and the cardboard tubes from toilet rolls. 

  • Gorgeous Felt Garland from Sweater Scraps

    These felt garlands are so easy to make that they are a great Christmas craft for both kids and adults. They are made with the felted scraps of upcycled sweaters.

  • Upcycled Sweater Mountain Pillows

     I love the mountains so I thought it would be fun to make mountain shaped pillows out of some old grey and green woolen sweaters. 

  • Pillows from Felted Sweaters

    Create these lovely zipped pillow covers from your old and unused sweaters! Felt them in the washing machine with hot water, cut them up and applique the leaf design with the free downloadable template.

  • Creative Gift Wrap Idea

    Use sweaters for any of your gift wrap! If the gift fits inside, use this creative gift wrap idea.

  • Kitty Fingerless Mittens Pattern

    Turn your old, ratty sweaters into new accessories with these easy sewing projects. This Kitty Fingerless Mittens Pattern is perfect for anyone with cold hands and a warm heart for felines. 

More Ideas for Old Sweaters

Make Yarn from Frogging Old Sweaters: If you knit, crochet or even weave, salvage the yarn from an old sweater to use in a new project. Find a seam in the sweater and carefully snip one of the seam stitches with a pair of very sharp scissors. Use a blunt needle to lift out the seam stitches, snipping the seam yarn for each. For a knit sweater, you want to unravel the yarn from the cast off edge, generally at the top of the sweater since sweaters are made from the bottom up. Start ripping from the last cast off stitch and carefully wind the yarn into a ball as you go. You should end up with four or more balls of yarn from the different sweater pieces. Here’s how to wind an easy center-pull ball of yarn.

Potholders: Stitch several layers of the old sweater together and add binding or trim around the edges to create potholders. You can also use thick quilt batting to fill the inside of your upcycled sweater potholder.

Paper Craft Embellishments: Cut out small pieces of wool for embellishing scrapbook pages or handmade cards. Cut out letters or even tiny sweater or scarf shapes for autumn. Make a wonderfully textured tree with an old fuzzy angora sweater.

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If you want to buy sweaters second hand to recycle the yarn, make sure they are hand made sweaters or at least quality, not cut and sew, mass produced sweaters. Mass produced sweaters are cut from a pattern then sewn together just like fabric garments. If you unravel the yarn, you will come up with only short pieces not worth the effort. A hand made sweater will have been knit in entire pieces, then sewn together at the seams so you can get a lot of yarn from each piece.

I go to local thrift stores to buy wool sweaters to use for felting and making totes and mittens. If you buy men's larger sizes you get more for your money.

I make mittens with recycled sweaters, i have a pattern and I put polar fleese lining in them. I have prabably made 500 pair the last 3 years.

could i get pattern

Could I have your pattern? Or where did you find it?

The wool ones can be felted, thus making them able to be cut into pieces and sewn to make other things, hats, mittens, etc. I know someone who does this. She combines them with felt she has purchased, and makes darling hats, scarves and fingerless gloves to match.

could u tell me how need to make!!!!

I made a bed for my small dog from an old pull-over sweater. I stuffed the body and long sleeves with batting and stitched the openings closed. Then I sewed the sleeves together a the cuffs and stitched them in place around the sweater body, making her a cozy bed. Perfect for a cat bed too!

What a neat yet simple idea.

I use old cardigans to make laptop computer cases. All you do is cut off the middle section and rearrange the fabric so the buttons are about 1/4 of the way over and sew its that easy. The kids love them because they are so unique.

I cut the back from a thin sweater and crocheted a wide border around the sides. I makes a wonderful doll blanket

Hey I love your ideas, I will add one if want another idea! Trace your hand for mittens or gloves, I bet those sweaters will keep you warm!

I love these ideas! Wonderful, Thanks.

Thanks for your interesting ideas, especially for part-wool sweaters. I've wondered if they could be felted. The comments give me guidelines to make that choice.

Great ideas! Will someone come up with a use for the large plastic Coffee cans?! Surely there is some way to reuse them! Thanks -

I LOVE the ideas, thanks! Sadly, since I live in Florida I do not have any old sweaters "sigh". letscreate2gether- great idea! I have a Toy Yorkie that doesn't fit store made clothes well either. She actually inspired me to start a new business venture! I design and sell custom doggie clothes (doggie tutus 2, eek so cute)!

I loved the recycled sweater ideas. I have (a toy and a minature) poodles. Finding sweaters to fit the minature and toy are sometimes a little bit hard to find. Just not long enough especially for the toy. So beings I don't like long sleeves I use the arms for coats for them. I have been using long sleeve T-shirts and sweaters for them. They love to be warm and dry. Though I would pass the idea along to you.

I like the 'reuse' ideas all around the site. I just wish I had not just gotten rid of all those sweaters. XD


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