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Pinwheel Crafts - Cozy DIY Sweater Up-Cycles

Pinwheel Crafts - Cozy DIY Sweater Up-Cycles

With cold weather taking hold across the country, many of us are bringing our stashed stock of sweaters out of storage. Of course, with every passing year, styles change, and clothes wear down. If this sounds like something you deal with annually, then you and your family might find yourselves with a large pile of old sweaters and sweatshirts. While we highly encourage you to donate items in good condition to your local shelters, some items will simply be too worn out to wear. For these items, we’ve brought you some amazing ways to repurpose your old garments into cozy items to get you through many more winters.

Throw Pillows

A great starter craft for anyone wanting to get into sewing is making a pillow. It’s simple, straight forward, and an adorable way to create a custom designed personal space. If you are pressed for time, or looking for a simpler option, make sure to check out the super cute Panda Pillow kit and the no sew Unicorn Pillow kit over at the Pinwheel Crafts store.

You will need

  • 1 Sweater
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

 

Directions

  1. Turn the sweater inside out and lay it on a flat surface.
  2. Cut a straight line across the body of the sweater from one armpit to the other. (Save the top portion with the sleeves as you can use it for additional up-cycle projects.)
  3. Keeping the sweater inside out, sew the cut edges of the sweater together to create a seam, then sew the bottom of the sweater, leaving a 3 inch gap.
  4. Pulling through the 3 inch gap, turn the sweater right side out.
  5. Using the material of your choice, stuff the pillow until you have reached the desired firmness.
  6. Use a ladder stitch to close the remaining open seam.
  7. Gift to family and friends, or decorate your cozy spaces with your new sweater pillow.

 

Infinity Scarf

Making an infinity scarf from old sweaters can be as simple or complex as the maker desires. For the purposes of this up-cycle, we will be sticking to a simple no sew process for beginners.

You will need

  • 1 Sweater (either somewhat oversized, or stretchy)
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Glue or Seam Sealant
  • Sewing machine (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Lay the sweater on a flat surface.
  2. Cut a straight line across the body of the sweater from one armpit to the other. (Save the top portion with the sleeves as you can use it for additional up-cycle projects.)
  3. You can cut off more of the sweater length, depending on the desired thickness for your sweater.
  4. Sling the sweater loop over both forearms, and stretch it out as much as possible without tearing or damaging the fabric section.
  5. Using either the fabric glue, or sewing machine, seal up the cut edge of the sweater and any sections with fraying stitches or unraveling seams. Following packaging instructions, allow any glue to fully dry before wearing.
  6. Place the sweater section over your head, and wear the infinity scarf in your preferred style.

 

Fingerless Gloves and Boot Toppers

Remember how we told you to hold onto those sleeves from the last sweater upcycle? Well, now you’re about to find out why. When it comes to winter accessories, who doesn’t love to coordinate? If you’re among the majority that does, now it’s time to put those left over sleeves to good use by making a pair of adorable hand warmers.

You will need

  • 1 set of sweater sleeves
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Glue or Seam Sealant
  • Sewing machine (optional)

 

Directions

  1. Measure the sleeves from the cuffs to the desired length, and cut across the entire sleeve.
  2. For sweaters with a seam, turn the sleeve inside out and, 2” from the cuff, pop the stitches for a length of 2” to open the seam for your thumb. For knitted sleeves with no seam, simply cut a 2” slot 2” from the cuff.
  3. Using either the fabric glue, or sewing machine, seal up the cut edge of the sweater, the edges of the thumb openings. Following packaging instructions, allow any glue to fully dry before wearing.
  4. For boot toppers, simply cut the sleeves longer and skip the steps involving cutting thumbholes.

 

Patchwork Blanket

For the more initiated crafters, a patchwork blanket, or quilt can be a great option for large stacks of old, unwearable sweaters. 

You will need

  • Large pile of sweaters
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Fabric for backing

Directions

  1. Cut the sweaters into the desired size. For a uniform design, put them into squares of equal length. For a more organic patchwork, the rectangles only need to have an equal width.
  2. Use paper to plan the patchwork design.
  3. Lay out the pieces of sweaters in the preferred pattern.
  4. Begin sewing rows of pieces together end to end to create a strip of fabric. Be sure to keep the seam on the same side. Repeat this step for each row of the blanket.
  5. Use an iron to flatten the seams of each row.
  6. Now, sew the rows together, again, keeping the sewn seam on the same side of the blanket. Repeat this step until all rows have been sewn together, creating a completed patchwork.
  7. Once again, use an iron to sew the seams flat.
  8. Lay out the fabric for your blanket back on a flat surface with the print side facing down and cut it so that it is 4” larger than the sweater patchwork around all edges.
  9. Lay your patchwork flat and centered on top of the fabric backing with the seams facing down.
  10. Use safety pins across the entirety of the blanket to secure the layers together.
  11. You can now secure the layers by one of two methods. You can either use the sewing machine to stitch across the layers using the patchwork seams as a wguid. You can also use yarn sew through the layers at places wherever 2 seams meet, then back up through the top, then knotted to hold them together.
  12. Fold the backing fabric in twice so that it creates a thick layer overlapping the corners of the patchwork.
  13. Sew the backing border into the blanket.


Quilts can be tough, so we highly recommend checking out this great tutorial series from Melanie Ham. She offers great insight into how to get started into quilting and provides a great walkthrough in beginners quilting.

Final Thoughts

We hope this list of up-cycle ideas has left you sufficiently inspired to spruce up you space and reimagine your wardrobe. And remember, if you're pressed for time or supplies, you can always find great indoor craft projects for your family at the Pinwheel Crafts store. With everything you need in one box to make adorable creations, and fun memories, you're certain to find something for everyone.

Until next time, happy crafting!

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