101 Things You Can Make With An Old Sweater! {OK…More Like 27 Things}

I think I need to make an appointment with my Doctor to have my head examined after putting this post together. What started out as a fairly routine post idea to repurpose something as ubiquitous as an old sweater, somehow took on a life of its’ own.

The problem?  I just kept finding more and more great things to do with sweaters!  I actually CONSIDERED trying out several MORE ideas for this post….but I had to finally cut myself off at some point. :-)

I just LOVE the idea of repurposing old sweaters into wonderful new things! There are soooooo many old sweaters to choose from. You know you probably have at least half a dozen sweaters in your closet right now that are good candidates for some “upcycling”.

If not, head on over to your local thrift store and you will find a virtual treasure trove of old sweaters to choose from…for CHEAP!

So here are what I think are some of the best and EASIEST ideas out there for repurposing old sweaters. (I fear I have only scratched the surface!)

First off….a nod to the season….a sweater PUMPKIN! :-)

Sweater Pumpkin

This particular sweater project couldn’t possibly be any easier!  All you need to do is cut off the body of an old sweater, turn it inside out, gather one end together with a rubber band, turn it right side out. Stuff with whatever you can get your hands on (I used the insides of an old pillow), gather TOP of the sweater body with another rubber band and and tie a piece of ribbon of your choosing around it. Voila!  Sweater pumpkin.


Sweater Baby Hats

I got the idea for the sweater baby hat from Make It and Love It.  She has a terrific tutorial for several hats but this one was my favorite. :-)  I’m going to give it to my newest grand niece, Baby Layla. Since this only takes a small portion of the bottom of the body of the sweater…that means plenty of sweater left to use in one of the OTHER crafts below. (See Bottle Covers)


Sweater Coasters

Another “couldn’t be easier” entry….Sweater Coasters. I found a 100% wool sweater at the thrift store awhile back that someone had apparently accidentally washed and dried without realizing the effect of doing so. The sweater was already halfway “felted”. I just completed the process. I washed it in HOT water and dried it in a HOT dryer and it came out looking like a doll’s sweater. :-)  That’s what “felting” will do.  But it was perfect for making these great coasters out of!  Makes that cup of hot chocolate look all nice and cozy doesn’t it?

Sweater Pillows

You might be sensing a theme right about now….all of the “sweater re-d0″ projects I chose are SO simple. That’s why I liked them so much. :-)  Do I really even have to explain how this is done? Well, if you’re like me…it ALWAYS helps to have instructions…and PICTURES!

Cut off the body of the sweater, turn inside out, sew along the bottom and the top openings (leaving an opening to STUFF it). Turn right side out and STUFF. Sew the opening closed by hand or top stitch along the entire length of the pillow. Depending on how big the sweater is, you might have to cut some of the width of the sweater off, sew back together and THEN proceed as outlined above.



Cardigan From Crew Neck Sweater

I found this sweater at the thrift store and fell in love with it. It’s actually a Ralph Lauren Polo sweater and I love the color…but I’m really not much of a crew neck sweater type of girl. I AM, however, a CARDIGAN sweater type girl. :-)  So I was excited to try this idea out.

I cut a straight line up the front of the sweater, turned each edge under once, and sewed them down. That’s it. And I LOVE it! It’s currently one of my favorite cardigans to just grab and go! I have since purchased a cute metallic button that I plan on sewing at the very top of the neck just for decoration. But I haven’t quite got around to it yet, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. :-)


Bottle Covers

This idea didn’t even require any extra picture-taking. I literally cut the sleeves off of a couple of different sweaters (the one on the right is from the baby hat sweater, and the one of the left is from the sweater pumpkin) and slid them over two bottles. Then I cut a couple of strips off another old sweater I had hanging around to use as the “ribbon”.

I didn’t have any “fancy” bottles in the house, so I just used two water bottles from my fridge. But this would be such a nice hostess gift paired with a nice bottle of wine, champagne or sparkling cider!


Sweater Sling Purse

And last, but not least, the project that took me the most time…but STILL was really very easy to make! The sweater sling purse! I spied this outdated animal print sweater at the thrift store and immediately thought about what a cute bag it would make!  Once again I turned to Make It and Love It for a simple-to-follow tutorial. (That woman knows how to SEW!!)

The lining I cut out of an old bed sheet and then I embellished the strap with a couple of old pins I found in my jewelry box. I must say, my sewing skills were kinda rusty, but with the help of a great tutorial, I was pleasantly surprised at how relatively easy it was and how well it turned out. :-)  (Trying not to dislocate my arm as I pat myself on the back for this one! lol)


Sadly, this is where my personal sweater crafting comes to an end.   Seven in one post is apparently my limit. ;-)  But I simply couldn’t help myself from posting at least a few (dozen?) more ideas I’ve run across for your entertainment and inspiration.

The next time you go to throw away an old sweater….I hope at least ONE of the ideas I’ve presented in this post will inspire you to give it a second chance. :-)


iPad Cover via My Poppet


Cutie Pie Pot Holders via BHG.com


Harvest Wool Kids Slippers via Etsy.com


Winter Sweater Wreath via Design Sponge


Sweater Into Skirt via Dana’s Fashion Blog


Cashmere Baby Blanket via This Mama Makes Stuff


Doggie Bed via WomansDay.com


Pendant Lamp Shade via CountryLiving.com


Bangles via CountryLiving.com


Little Girl Dress via Make It and Love It


Scarflette via I Am Momma Hear Me Roar


Mittens via ReSweater


Stuffed Animals via Martha Stewart


Coffee Cup Cozy via Etsy.com


Polar Bear Ornament via Fun In The Making


Box Bag via Truly Myrtle


Knitting Basket via Martha Stewart


Flower Pin via 320 Sycamore


Doggie Sweater via Craft Stylish


Cover Hangers via Etsy.com


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  1. Marian Gebele says

    I quilt, I knit, I sew….I love this ideas!!! I’ve saved old sweaters from as far back as the 1940′s that my great aunt wore and I just knew I’d find a way to use them eventually!! Her sweaters were made by Woolrich and I can’t wait to felt them. Thanks for the wonderful ideas! Christmas just became a whole lot more exciting.

  2. Susan B says

    I love the sweater pumpkin and plan to make some this weekend! I’m thinking you probably also could make a couple of cute smaller pumpkins from each sleeve of the sweater. I’m gonna try it. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  3. Heather says

    Wonderful ideas! I don’t sew and am not very “crafty”, but I am going to give some of these a try! I love the little pumpkin and the pillows! I enjoy your blog tremendously…..thanks for all of your hard work and great ideas!

  4. Cindy Cheatham says

    I have a question….I’m hoping you will respond to my email…otherwise, I won’t know if you answered me. On the sweater that you cut and made into a cardigan, do you have to have a sewing machine for this? I don’t sew so I wondered if it was possible?? LOVE your blog!! I have used SO many of your ideas and just love the one today for the valance!!

  5. michelle says

    you can also sew together the bottom of an old t-shirt/sweater as well as the sleeves. Then unbend 2 coat hangars onto a criss cross dome shape, holding them in place wioth ties or twist ties.. place inside the sewn shirt and place an old pillow at the bottom and you have a cute little pet bed! my Daschund loves to hide away inside!

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  7. KayakingKim says

    I saw a clock wrapped in cream colored cable knitting at a thrift store. I was very tempted to buy it as it was really cute but I thought $30 was too expensive. I keep thinking about it though. It was really cute and unique…

  8. Hayley Shaver says

    First, I can’t believe someone doesn’t sew. It’s so fun and relaxing, and useful too. But then, I’m a craftaholic. Yes, you are going to need a sewing machine if you don’t want to take all day altering a sweater into a cardigan. If you do, that’s fine too, but tiny stitches are no fun to handsew on sweaters like that. I’ve done everything but the baby hat. Might want to see what that’s all about.

  9. Marianne says

    The only thing I would change in making the sweater pumpkin is using an electrical tie to gather them together. Elastics dry out and break over time and then you’d have a pumpkin “blowout”! The plastic electrical ties don’t come apart and don’t deteriorate.

  10. Rachelle says

    You know, I wanted to use my sweaters that I no longer wear to make into something else or even shorten some sweaters, seeing the pullover made into a cardigan, gave me hope that I could really do it. Jillee you are awesome! I’m so glad my friend told me about your site. I tried lots of different home cleaning recipes of yours too. Thanks for the handy info!

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  14. luv2run851 says

    Great post – I’m going to be making the sweater pillow and the little booties for sure!

    Another item you can make from a 100% wool sweater is a wool diaper cover for cloth diapering. I’ve made 3 in the past month with old sweaters and they turn out wonderfully :)

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