Sweaters are essential to any wardrobe to survive the cold chill of Winter. Sometimes though, they can turn into a problem. For example, in being so vital for staying warm, we often develop a rather extensive collection of cable knits, turtlenecks, and cardigan sweaters. This may not be an issue for everyone. For those who have limited space in their closets or have a difficult time deciding on outfits when presented with too many options, it may be time to clear out some old sweaters or even sweaters that don’t completely align with your style.
Shipping your sweater off to the nearest donation center may sound like the way to go in this scenario. Though this is an option, keep in mind that most clothing donated to big thrift shops (think Goodwill and Salvation Army) eventually end up being sent to landfill anyway. An estimated 84% of donated clothing is carted away to the dump or an incinerator.
Some excellent ways to combat this is to keep your donations a little more local. That is, try gifting it to a friend or relative who might get some use out of it. You can also find local charity drives and shelters so that those truly in need can be gifted the sweaters/clothing directly and for free. Lastly, try to find other ways that an otherwise discarded sweater could be put to use in your home or wardrobe. This could mean turning it into mittens, socks, or a sweater vest or repurposing it completely into a pillow or gnome figure.
Whatever you decide to do with your old or unwanted sweater, keep these 7 ideas for repurposing a sweater in mind! Many of these projects can be put together with some creativity and glue, however top online tailors are on standby to help you with any of these sewing projects!
First Idea for Repurposing a Sweater: Mittens
Mittens can be an easy or fun craft if you’re hand with a sewing machine. Simply trace your hand at the bottom of your sweater, so that the hem of the sweater becomes the hem of your mittens. Trace both hands on the front of the sweater then cut out both layers of the sweater. Sew the layers together or contact a top online tailor for some help!
Second Idea for Repurposing a Sweater: Winter and Autumn Decorations
Make your home cozier during the cooler months by adorning it with a warm sweater! It’s easy enough to wrap cut up sweater parts around a metal or foam wreath form; add a sweater bow for a holiday wreath to keep the outside or your home looking cozy. Other simple Winter crafts include sweater trees or gnome figures as shown below. For some Autumn coziness, sweater pumpkins are the way to go- a larger pumpkin could be weighted down to help decorate your porch or mini sweater pumpkins could elevate your Autumn table from Halloween to Thanksgiving!
Third Idea for Repurposing a Sweater: Dye It
A lighter colored sweater is the perfect candidate to dye a deeper hue. Black tea is a great natural dye that will deepen the color of pastels, beiges, and whites. For some natural, non-toxic color, try using fruits, flower petals, or leaves boiled in water. Box dyes can also easily be purchased from a craft or fabric store, but be aware that these are not always the safest ingredient to be wearing or to introduce into the environment.
Fourth Idea for Repurposing a Sweater: Pillow Case
With a little bit of glue and some knotting skills, covering an old throw pillow with a sweater is an easy way to create an inviting couch, ready for a movie marathon or a couple chapters of that book you just can’t put down. Simply insert your pillow into your sweater and fold down the top and bottom, securing with some hot glue. Just tie the sweater sleeves into a neat bow to complete your new throw pillow.
Fifth Idea for Repurposing a Sweater: Sweater Vest or Cardigan
If you like the sweater but just feel like it needs a little updating, try remaking it! That is, if it a regular sweater, you could easily cut the sleeves off to make a sweater vest or make a cut down the middle of the front to make it into a cardigan. A top online tailor for sweaters is a valuable asset if you want to finish the edges to keep them from fraying! Pro-tip: for button-up cardigans, try wearing it backwards for a new take on the sweater (inspired by Vetta’s multiwear capsule wardrobes)!
Sixth Idea for Repurposing a Sweater: Dryer Balls
An unwanted wool sweater can be repurposed into dryer balls. A dry ball is an eco-friendly and non-toxic alternative to overly-scented dryer sheets and fabric softener. Not only do they reduce static and help your clothes dry faster, you can also add essential oils to the wool balls to give your clothes your own scent. Check out this super simple tutorial on how to make your own dryer balls from an old wool sweater.
Seventh way to repurpose a sweater: baby or dog sweater
Handing your sweater down is a great way to recycle or repurpose any garment. If you don’t have anyone your size but have children or pets that could use some warmth, try down-sizing your sweater. This upcycling project may be a little more difficult to tackle by yourself. Enlist a top online tailor for sweaters to ensure that your little ones stay warm. You’ll want to fill out a “Custom Alteration” form and give as much detail as possible, then simply be available to answer questions so you and the tailor can collaborate on the project.
Stay warm everyone!