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11 Ways to Upcycle Old Sweaters

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Find simple sewing and craft projects made from old sweaters.


Decorative Flowers

These flowers are cut from felted wool sweaters and glued to pieces of wire hanger. The leaves are cut from cereal boxes and coated with acrylic paint. These sweater flowers bloom year round, make unique gifts for kids to give and are easy to put together.


iPod Cover

This smartphone/iPod cover is a slim 3”x 5” pocket sewn from a felted wool sweater — that is, a sweater washed in hot water and dried until the fabric tightens into felt. The fabric froggy is hand-appliqued to the front.


Plush Toy

This fellow, called “Battyfly,” is crafted from an old wool sweater stuffed with fiberfill; his expressive face and diminutive wings are made from cotton fabric and buttons.


Stockings

Continuing the holiday theme, pattern designer Betz White recycled a rainbow of candy-colored sweaters into adorable stockings and trimmed them with ribbons and other notions.


Cowl Scarf

This scarf mimics the look of a cowl sweater but is much less fussy. Linda Christian snipped up an outdated purple thrift-store sweater, doubled the fabric, and stitched together by hand into a soft, beautiful scarf. The rosette is made from remnants of the sweater — the petals are constructed in the style of traditional Japanese kanzashi (folded) flowers, and the center is simply twisted fabric.


Holiday Wreath

Wool sweaters go hand-in-hand with the holidays, so give them a second life as part of your seasonal decorations. This wreath consists of 200 old cuffs rolled up and pinned to a 12-inch straw wreath form. The edges of some cuffs are snipped to create loops or fringe for added effect.


Sweater Pillow

Machine-quilted panel cut from an old sweater to a piece of cotton batting and some fabric backing so that the pillow retains its shape.


Wine Cozy

Cut off the sleeve of an old sweater, slide a wine bottle inside, and gather at the top using whatever embellishments you have in your box of notions. Great as a wine cozy for gift-giving, or you can also cover an empty bottle and use it as a vase for flowers.


Mini Purse

To make this soft mini purse, Fiskars craft designer Kendra McCracken chose a thrift-store sweater with a generous rib that forms an interesting edge for the flap — far easier, she points out, than knitting a bag from scratch. The purse has a denim lining with a box bottom to create more room inside for must-have items, and the simple shoulder strap is made from braided yarn.


Cashmere Scarf

Betz White’s frilly take on an upcycled scarf is made of two layers cut from ultra-soft secondhand cashmere sweaters. The layers are shirred together, creating a ruffled effect and a gentle bounce when worn.


Wall Art

Christina Hibbs crafted a too-short sweater into a custom piece of textured wall art. She distressed some frames she bought at a yard sale, hot-glued pieces of her old sweater onto cardboard backing and added a stencil design in a metallic silver.


via diynetwork

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