How to Upcycle a Sweater for a No Sew Winter Cowl DIY

There is an easy way to upcycle a soft wool or cashmere sweater into a simple cowl/hood! I realize it’s still summer in most of the United States, but the end of the season is when I start pulling out the next season’s clothes and sorting out what to donate and what to keep. I actually wrote this post and took the pictures way back in February during a cold snap but by the time I had them edited I was already in a t-shirt and it seemed silly to post. So, enjoy the retrospective of my point & shoot camera, long hair, and fake white trim.

That is a whole lotta orange in the original sweater. Yikes! The steps are easy – you can glance at the collage below and I’ll spell it out underneath.


  1. Find a wool/cashmere blend sweater sized Small or Medium. Wash cold & hang dry! I don’t do dry-cleaning.
  2. Cut with sharp scissors or a rotary cutter in a straight line under the armpits.
  3. Fold, and wear! The knit fabric shouldn’t fray or unravel unless you really pick at it – the washing machine helps to felt it a bit. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could do a blanket stitch or serge around the edge.

This is another version I made a long time ago and have worn often. I like being able to pull it up in the snow!

So, pretty easy DIY am I right? I’d love to hear if you make one – maybe if we all start sewing for fall, fall temperatures will hit faster.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Amy Mayen

    Great idea Stephanie! I think I have a few sweaters that are just taking up space. And I LOVE scarves!!

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      There is no such thing as too many scarves, right!

  2. Mae

    I love how you can pull it up over your head in the second photo, so clever! I really dislike that many of my coats don’t have hoods, problem solved!

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      I love hoods!

  3. Deanna {sewmccool}

    LOL – I think I have the same sweater. Great idea …. I need to purge some of my older sweaters and make them more useful. :)

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      Ha!! I bet orange looks much better on you with your blonde hair. That color family tends to make me look ill, so I can only wear it sparingly.. like in a scarf!

  4. Ajaire

    Such a great idea Stephanie! I have a few old sweaters this would be perfect for.

  5. Donna

    I love this idea! I have a couple of sweaters that just don’t fit correctly through the shoulder and bust area. They would be perfect for upcycling. Thanks for the tip!

  6. JessiBerry

    I wish we had snow!

    I like this idea, something to do to my old sweaters that don’t fit anymore! :)

  7. Amy

    Your faces always crack me up :)

  8. Kristin

    I love this idea! And, since I can’t sew, it’s finally something I can do!!

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      Anyone can do this, I promise :) All you need are scissors!

  9. Chelsea

    Really great idea. Loving that orange sweater look. Glad it became a cowl instead.

  10. Melissa

    You are too cute! I love the ease and pop of color. Orange is such a hard color to embrace. I LOVE it on my daughter, but not so much on me.

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      I LOVE orange but I have to use it sparingly in clothes – otherwise it makes me look ill, haha!

  11. Robin

    That’s a great upcycle for a sweater. I’ll have to try it out.

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      Thanks Robin! Hope you do :)

  12. Terri

    Great idea for a quick and easy way to upcycle and accessorize! BTW-I love your expressions!

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      haha – have to keep it interesting, right! Thanks Terri!

  13. Pingback: How to make a recycled sweater cowl – Recycled Crafts

  14. acw


    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      Thanks so much! It would be a great gift, and inexpensive too :)

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  18. Lynn H.

    Great upcycle project!

    1. Stephanie - Swoodson Says

      Thanks Lynn!

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