Turn One Old Sweater Into Three New Accessories

All in just a couple hours. posted on

Don’t toss that old sweater. You might be sick of wearing it as a pullover, but all it takes is some simple sewing skills to turn one sweater into a pair of boot cuffs, a cowl, and a headband.

I actually used a men’s sweater that I bought on sale at H&M for $10 — you could buy one at a secondhand store or use an old one you already have. Otherwise, all you’ll need is: thread that matches your fabric, a needle or sewing machine, and pins.

3. Boot Cuffs

Cut off the sweater sleeves. First cut the sleeves off along the seam, then cut straight across the top of each sleeve.

Hem the cut edge. This is just your most basic hemming. Fold the cut sleeve in toward the center about 1/4” or as closely as you can, then fold it again. Stitch along the folded edge. You can do this by hand, but a sewing machine will go much more quickly.

Repeat for the second sleeve. And you’re done! These cuffs are great for wearing with leggings and high boots since they’ll cover your knees and aren’t bunchy over your calves.

Hint: The sweater I used was a men’s small and the sleeves happened to be the right size to fit snuggly. But if they’re too loose, before you hem cut off a strip of fabric along the length of the sleeve and resew so the leg warmer is narrower.

7. Cowl

Cut off the torso of the sweater. Simply cut straight across from armpit to armpit.

Size it. I wanted my cowl to fit a bit more closely so I turned inside out and pinned a few inches in from the fold. I then stitched along the pinned line, cutting off the excess fabric to make for a narrower cowl.

Hem the cut end. This is exactly what you did for the leg warmers. Fold in the edges twice, then stitch along the fold.

And you’re done! If your sweater is a bright hue like this one, this will last you through the cool beginnings of spring.

12. Headband

Cut a strip from the remaining sweater. It should measure about 4” x 18”.

Fold and pin the strip in half with the right sides facing. Sew closely along the long edge, creating a tube. Turn the tube right-side out through the end openings.

Sew together the open ends. This part is a bit tricky. Line up the open edges with right sides facing and stitch around as much as you can, leaving about 1” unsewn. This is a little finicky but stick with it! Then, slip stitch the opening closed. Don’t be too fussy here; this part of the headband won’t be visible.

Finis! A cute winter accessory. The knitted material makes this super comfortable, not one of those headbands that pinches at your temple.

So there you have it: one sweater transformed into three new accessories in an afternoon. I even had a bit of sweater left over.

And I put it to good use.

Pippa Armbrester is a quilt maker and designer. Follow her adventures in quilting and in life on her website.

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