Upcycled: Cowl Scarf from Old Sweater

by ilene on February 20, 2012 · 24 comments

in sewing, tutorial, upcycle

{This post is a part of Frugal February, a month-long series where I am challenging myself to not spend any money on projects. I will be using supplies I already have, upcycling old materials and finishing abandoned projects. The hubby is rejoicing. Note: this does not apply to recipes and food posts, since I have to eat anyways!}

One of my favorite wool sweaters has gotten a little tight on me over the years:

I used to wear this sweater all the time!  I have great memories of it so I didn’t want to get rid of it so I decided to upcycle it into a cowl scarf.  I’m really into cutting up sweaters and turning them into scarves, like this tutorial I did last winter on how I cut up Jeff’s cashmere sweater and turned it into an infinity scarf.  This was a pretty quick and easy transformation and can be done with any old sweater. This one is nice because it has the buttons down the front and a cable knit design so it makes the scarf a little more interesting but I have a couple plain sweaters that I plan to transform, too.

All I had to do was cut the sweater off beneath the armpits, fold over the raw edge, and then sew to secure the hem:

I ended up sewing twice over the hem to secure it and keep the knit from fraying, since the wool was a loose weave. Try not to stretch out the hem when you stitch it.  I was going to replace the ivory buttons with some wooden ones but ended up keeping the original ones. I kind of like how they blend in.  I love how warm and cozy this cowl neck scarf is!

Now I need to figure out what to do with the leftover arms. Leg warmers, maybe?

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1 jleann86 February 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

This is so fun and easy! I love it.

2 Natty February 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Love! Especially the buttons.

3 Lisa Johnson February 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Very creative idea to recycle. Might try it myself

4 Jen February 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Love it!

5 Mel February 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

super cute!! it has a preppy flair to it that i love.

6 Faith February 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm

http://www.instructables.com/id/Upcycled-Sweater-Boots/ — Make sweater boots with the sleeves!

7 ilene February 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

Great idea!! These boots remind me of the ugg sweater boots that i wanted! now I can make them myself! thanks for sharing!

8 Allison February 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm

So creative! And frugal!!

9 Papgena February 21, 2012 at 5:33 am

Saw you on Craft Gossip! Very cool! With the arms you also can do fingerless gloves!

10 Catherine Pooler February 21, 2012 at 8:24 am

Adorable! Love this idea!

11 lulu February 21, 2012 at 10:24 am

Great job! I, too, have been trying to use what is already in my studio and that can be a challenge with some interesting results.

12 Lisa Johnson February 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Oh, I don’t know where to put this so I will do it here. Ilene, you are the best and I mean the very best blogging friend in the entire world. I have kitkats! Yes I do everyone because Ilene but them in with the beautiful balloon fabric from the giveaway. Me, sitting in my house in WV eating a kitkat that came from Japan. Thank you, thank you. You are my friend for life. Lisa

13 ilene February 21, 2012 at 10:00 pm

yay, u got my surprise treats, too!! enjoy!!! 🙂

14 Kate February 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Something you might try . . . when cutting apart loose knits, I’ve found that it’s easier to sew the hem stitching BEFORE making the cut. You can then make the cut and stitch again if necessary to clean up the hem!

15 ilene February 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm

this is a great idea, kate! i wish i knew this tip beforehand!! thanks for sharing!

16 Jen of Quality Sewing Tutorials February 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Great tutorial! You’ve been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for the home sewist.

Grab a brag button!

17 Lusi May 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm

wow I was just about to throw out a bunch of old sweaters!

18 Jaimee @ Craft, Interrupted January 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Love this! I’m including your tutorial in a 5 for Friday roundup of DIY Scarves at my blog tomorrow, including one pic and a link back to this post. Thanks for sharing a great project!

19 Nicci February 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Omigosh! Love that scarf!

The arms would be perfect for those new wrist warmers or fingerless gloves! Just cut them the right length, hem, and open up a 1 1/2 inch section of the inner seam for the thumb to go through.

Love your blog!

20 patricia j January 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

wayyyyy 2 easy. I will have to get started on this. maybe do some shopping @ the goodwill and salvation army stores to shop for good buys on sweaters. this isn’t work. this is fun and and fast. please keep the products going. thank you

21 Refashion Your Clothes August 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm

What about using the sleeves to turn a denim vest into a jacket?

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