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Turn One Old Sweater Into Three New Accessories

All in just a couple hours.

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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.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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