They take up space in your closets and drawers. Some of them have issues — they pill, they pull, they snag, they shrink. Some are beautiful — and some are not. But we all have them. Sweaters come with the season, and appear on ski slopes, at holiday parties (and there are parties to celebrate the ugliest of sweaters!), on sidewalks and nature trails.
But what do we do with the sweaters we no longer want? It seems a shame that such a cozy piece of clothing should be tossed into the “giveaway” bin. And admit it, you still kind of like that reindeer sweater. So we rounded up some of the best ideas to reuse old sweaters.
1. Leggings for little ones. This easy tutorial shows you how to make toddler leggings so cute you’ll want to cut up your new sweaters to make more.
2. Leggings for bigger ones. OK, OK. Here’s how to make your own boot leggings. No, they aren’t tights like the toddler version above. But they are still cute. And the bonus is that the author shows you how to make a pillow out of the remainder of the sweater.
3. Pulling the wool over your coffee. We usually grab a cardboard sleeve for our take-away coffee cups to keep our fingers safe from the hot cup. And we throw them away when we have finished the beverage. Here is a way to cut down on the waste and show a little flash at the same time. These sweet little cozies are made from wool sweaters that have been felted, or simply washed in hot water with plenty of detergent. Once your local coffee shop sees your coffee cozies, they may want to offer them to other customers.
4. Three little mittens. You can make a pair and a spare from one old sweater. Felt the sweater or keep it in its original form. If that old favorite sweater kept your heart warm all these years, it can do the same for your hands.
5. Keep calm, and carry on. This tote bag made from a sweater is cute enough to serve as a purse. You could take it one step further and add appliques, or simply attach some thrift store costume jewelry to the sides as embellishment. Since the arms aren’t being used in this pattern, you could make some boot leggings to match the tote.
6. Wool warmer. Feeling a little under the weather? You’ll feel better snuggling with this hot water bottle cover. In fact, you don’t have to be sick to enjoy it: Tuck it under your covers before bedtime.
7. To infinity and beyond. Forget paying a high price for those trendy infinity scarves. This easy to make project will have you runway ready in a jiffy.
8. Pull the wool over your ears. Don’t forget to cover your head. Turn a not-so-adorable sweater into a way cool hat. A special lining makes it itch-free.
9. Skirt the issue. Take the ugliest sweater you can find and make it into a rock star skirt. You’ll be the hit of the office party.
10. You’ll have an arm to stand on. This video has been making the rounds on Facebook, and the sweaters turned into pants are quickly becoming an item on campuses in the northeastern United States. They are called “swants.” The pattern is tricky but very doable. Make sure you choose the largest sweaters available — check your husband’s closet. Don’t tell him I told you.
11. Unravel the mystery. If you don’t want to make anything yet, but still have the urge to put that old sweater to good use, then deconstruct it and save the yarn. Sweaters can be difficult to unravel for yarn, but this great tutorial can help you get the yarn ball rolling.