Upcycling Sweaters

31 Oct

At the beginning of every fall/winter season, when you pull out your warm clothing, you’re likely to run across a sweater or two that either has holes, no longer fits or works for your style, or you look at and say, “What was I thinking when I bought this??”.   So we’re going to talk about what options you’ve got for re-using these items of clothing.

First, there’s the option of giving it away.  This is the one I often exercise when I run across those sweaters that are still wearable but just don’t work for me anymore, for whatever reason that may be.

There’s also consignment.  If that sweater is still in great shape, and it’s a brand for which other people would willingly overlook a few previous wearings, then by all means… consign away! It’s certainly a good way to recycle, and to alleviate some of that guilt you feel when you look at that sweater and realize it’s just no longer going to work for you. A little cash back always helps, too.

If that sweater has a hole, so donation or consignment aren’t realistic – or you’ve got the urge to do something creative – you’ve still got lots of options. So check out the possibilities, be inspired, and have fun with your upcycling!

Decorative candle covers – no sewing required!  Who knew that fabric and flame could mix so well?

Photo from dailydanny blog: http://www.dailydanny.com/?p=2503

Another nice idea: a cuff for your coffee.  WAY cuter & more environmentally-friendly than cardboard.  Personally, I think you can cut off a reasonable chunk of arm, slip it over your cup, and it’s still cute as heck.  If you want to get really creative, sew (or just hot-glue) on something decorative, like a button or other token.  But if you’d like to create something that’s more likely to last, here’s a nice, simple tutorial.  It will even tell you how to felt wool to make it more durable.

http://www.newgreenmama.com/2010/10/felted-wool-sweater-coffee-cozy.html

Photo from http://www.newgreenmama.com

A really lovely idea I’m seeing all over the place is to use the sweater to cover a throw pillow.  Very cozy, and perfect for cold weather.  Here’s a post from another blog on the process.  Minimal sewing skills are required for this one, too.   No machine is even necessary if you use a simple whip-stitch.  http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2011/11/sweater-pillows/.

Photo from http://www.centsationalgirl.com

(For those that aren’t familiar with whip-stitch, take heart – it’s super-simple, and looks like this):

Photo from http://www.holiday-crafts-and-creations.com

There are literally thousands more sources of inspiration online, so just do a Google search for “upcycled sweater” and prepare to be delightfully overwhelmed by the possible projects!  And for those of you who can’t sew a stitch – or have no interest in getting crafty – you can do that same search, and just purchase some beautiful items from someone else who’s already done the upcycling for you.

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