40+ ways to upcycle sweaters! Whether you accidentally shrunk a sweater, found one riddled with moth holes, or can’t resists buying cashmere and merino when it’s $1 at the thrift shop, I have some project ideas for you! If you don’t have a wool sweater stash, check out these tips for thrift shopping to upcycle & refashion before you hit up the store, but beware it can be hard to stop buying soft sweaters once you’ve started. This post focuses only on sweater upcycles, as in cutting a sweater up and turning it into anything but a sweater; if you’re looking for ways to refashion a sweater and keep it a sweater, that will be coming soon!
Working with wool is great because it doesn’t fray, is so soft, and feels extra cozy. Many tutorials will call for you to “felt” the sweaters and make them super thick but remember you can just wash them on delicate and hang dry if you want a thinner or stretchier feel! I love keeping even the smallest scraps and shredding them to use as stuffing, wool is my favorite.
While you’re here, check out these other posts too!
- 25+ upcycle sewing tutorials that make great gifts
- 20+ upcycled purse tutorials
- What to do with old jeans – 45+ upcycle sewing tutorials
- 25+ ways to repurpose old t shirts
Pin this round-up of ways to upcycle sweaters with this link or collage image; please click through to the original tutorials to pin individual photos!
Ways to upcycle sweaters
Make something for your home
This adds such nice texture to something that is normally boring and bland, a sweater covered lampshade from Beth Bryan.
This would be cute in colors too, make an upcycled sweater garland with this tutorial from Danse Le Lakehouse.
I never get tired of tiny house projects and these upcycled lavender sachets from Sum of Our Stories are so sweet.
I love the hand embroidery she added to this upcycled sweater pillow, from Vicky Myers Creations.
This is so creative, cover an old pot with an upcycled sweater for some hygge decor, at A Cultivated Nest!
- Small scraps will work for this simple patchwork blanket version from BHG.
- With a super thick sweater, make a cozy felted basket to hold craft supplies or dog toys, over at Martha Stewart.
- I’ll be on the hunt for a ‘before’ stool because I love this idea; turning a sweater into an ottoman, from Upcycle That.
- This looks like it would be so nice to pet, a patchwork pillow tutorial from Craft Foxes.
- Another patchwork blanket idea with square pieces, from Fiberluscious.
- A different take on a wool pillow, with cool scale shapes and lots of texture, on Raumfee.
- An elegant, monochrome wreath from The Thrifted Nest has a classy aesthetic that doesn’t scream upcycled sweater.
- This scrappy-feeling wreath example from Dragon Fly Fun looks quick and easy to make.
Make an accessory
Handwarmers from wool sweaters are super cozy and quick to sew! I have two styles and a free pattern here on my site.
Oldie but a goodie, click through to see a second version too, with this no sew winter cowl upcycle here on Swoodson Says.
This looks really quick to make and classy, an upcycled tote tutorial from Its Always Autumn.
This looks so professional; sew an upcycled beret over at Ehow by Renegade Seamstress.
Upcycled wool sweater mittens are so fun and this pattern looks like a really nice fit, find it and the tutorial at Make and Do Crew.
A cozy winter project; turn an old sweater into a mug cozy with this tutorial at Vicky Myers Creations
We keep our house super cold in winter and I need to make myself a pair of these; simple wrist warmer tutorial from Purl Soho.
A fun way to make some slippers, with a sweater boot tutorial from Trash to Couture.
This looks so cozy; an upcycled hot water bottle cover from Vicky Myers Creations, perfect for winter!
- Here is a simple little sweater tote, wit scrappy applique decorations, from Hope and Joy Home.
- This looks so cozy and would be a great base to add hand embroidery to, a zipper pouch made from an old sweater on Truly Myrtle.
Make something for kiddos
Sew a cozy hat from an old sweater! I have a tutorial here, no pattern necessary, on my site.
Not a freebie, but check out the different animal options for these fun little slippers made from an old sweater, here on Swoodson Says.
I cannot believe how cute this is, I would’ve loved this on my kids when they were littler; see how to turn a sweater into a hooded scarf over at My Poppet Makes.
For your fur children, sew an upcycled dog coat! You could also just use sweaters and sew one of these dog clothes patterns or tutorials too.
No tutorial, but keep in mind that wool makes for a super snuggly add-on to any stuffed animal as applique or part of the pattern, like these inner ears!
- Who doesn’t want a wool chicken to pet; use this free template and tutorial from Martha Stewart.
- Obsessed with this sweater snake, it would be like the super mom to my t-shirt snakes! Tutorial at Cakies.
Make something for Christmas
I need to make some more of these, but with a simple template and fun trim you can make soft, upcycled ornaments, tutorial here on Swoodson Says.
Love this idea for upcycling sweater scraps into ornaments, from Homemade Heather.
Pretty upcycled stockings from Heather Handmade, I like the trim inspiration with these.
These are SO creative and fun, upcycled snowflakes from Cucicucicoo.
- Some darling upcycled Christmas stockings, I love the style and accessories of these over at Johanna Rundel.
- A fun wreath take that reminds me of the wool penny quilt concept, perfect for sweater scraps from Recover Girl.