Fabrics sewing sweater. cc photo by flickr user astralpup

Published on August 10th, 2010 | by Becky Striepe

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Fab Fabrics: Repurposed Sweaters

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sewing sweater

So we know that you can recycled old sweaters into yarn, but repurposed sweaters can be valuable for seamstresses, too!


Wenona talked just last week about 10 crafty ways to repurpose old sweaters, and it got me thinking about what a useful material this is! Whether you take the garment apart and make it into something completely new or use your crafty skills to reshape and rework something old and frumpy into a cute, recycled garment, you’re helping to keep all of that fiber out of the landfill!

Choosing the Right Sweater

You’ll want to look for different things depending on what sort of project you’re working on. If your plan is to rework the fabric by cutting, sewing, adding appliques, or other general refashioning, you’ve got more of a selection to work from at the local thrift store.

Looser weaves are going to be trickier to work with, so choose carefully! Julie has some really helpful tips on sewing with knitted and crocheted fabrics. It’s a great resource if you’ve never sewn with sweaters before!

If you’re planning to felt the sweaters before you use them, you’ll need to look for garments with a high wool content. You can transform knitted or crocheted wool into felt pretty easily, but it can’t have too much acrylic content.

Felted wool is great for making toys, appliques, pins, or any other project that calls for felt.

Have you guys done any recycled sweater crafting? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Do you design your own Fab Fabrics? Are you vintage fabric seller? I’d love to hear from you! Hit me up at becky [at] importantmedia [dot] org!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by astralpup



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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • Get Stitchy with Sarah
    • eatdrinkbetter

      So cute!!

  • TeresaDavies

    I've made quite a lot of use of old sweaters (woollen and non-woollen).
    I've made a pin cushion, scarf and pillow out of felted wool and am currently knitting a shrug out of yarn from a frogged sweater I didn't wear any more.
    My brain is also ticking over with ideas for soft toys and bags.

    • eatdrinkbetter

      Oh cool! It sounds like you're a repurposed sweater maven. :)

  • Liz

    I did a tutorial on how to make Christmas Stockings out of a felted wool sweater a couple Christmases ago.
    http://lizzcorner.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/upcycl

    • eatdrinkbetter

      How fun! Thanks for sharing your tute, Liz!

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