Monday 10 August 2015

9 Great Ways To Recycle Old Sweaters

So besides the obvious that re-cycling sweaters and any other textile product is good instead of trowing them away, another thing to think about: 1 kilogram of cotton can take up to 20.000 liters of water to produce (2 lb 2.3 oz cotton = 5283 gallons of water)! You can read more about the impact of cotton on the WWF website. This is about the amount needed for a pair of jeans and a t-shirt!
So not only our food takes a lot of water to produce but also our clothes. Thus another good reason to recycle clothes, and if you are not handy you can always find people in need or places to donate the clothes you want to toss away, and make someone else very happy with the things you do not use anymore.

Our clothing shop and bag shop are both 95% made of recycled materials, which feels good and the pieces become unique. This bag has an upcycled sweater top, we had more but they all sold as they all turned out very cool :)
  • Make pet clothing and bedding out of old sweaters. We made a whole bunch of doggy sweaters as they are so expensive to buy, a win-win, great for our budget, warm doggies and recycled sweaters :) We made ours by cutting it according to Toffee's body but not all doggies will sit still like him so I found a few tutorials for you, here is one with good explanation and pictures, here is one made out of a sweater sleeve good for small doggies. I even found a tutorial on how to make a easy to make doggy (or kitty) bed out of a sweater.

Here some more ideas to recycle your sweaters:

  • Keep your hands warm and toasty with mittens or fingerless gloves, find instructions here for the fingerless ones and here for the mittens. And here is another cool mitten pattern.

  • Keep your feet warm with leg warmers (made of the arms), socks and slippers. If your sweater is 100% wool you can wash it warm in the machine first to get a nice thick felt for slippers. Here is one of many sock tutorials, and I love these slippers with a step by step explanation and these slippers are very cute :)

  • I'm sure you have seen them before, knitted pillows. Often very expensive in shops and can be made free from upcycled sweaters. How adorable is that monster pillow? If you have a kid you could even make it of their favorite but now too small sweater so that s/he can still keep it! And here a tutorial on how to make a simple one for a cozy couch look.

  • Cover some pencil holders and plant pots to cover up some ugly things or make baskets to hold your craft supplies and other things.

  • Cover your old chairs with a beautiful old sweater or make poufs with a sweater and filling (you could fill them with old rags for an entirely eco friendly project).

  • If you think that these are all cute and useful but you have a whole bunch of sweaters, how about a patchwork blanket, and they look super beautiful too! You can find a step by step tutorial here in case you have no idea where to begin with :)

  • And if you still think that upcycling is too shabby or so, check this post on Country Living with beautiful decorative projects looking very chic! You can cover vases, lamp caps, anything you want!
  • Once you have done your project(s) you will have a bunch of leftovers which are fun too, maybe these two will inspire you, adorable balls and mug cozies, and I'm sure your creative juices have started to flow, have fun and if you want to share your upcycling sweater project please share in the comments!

I limited my post with 9 ideas but there are many more like ear warmers, hats, bags, teapot cozies, you can get lots of ideas on Pinterest, you'll never throw away a sweater ever again!

See more recycle posts here, and more are coming up so stay tuned :)
And if you like this post, please share it on Pinterest!


  1. Surprising recycle topic, but so cool (or so warm really).
    And even though I am a disaster with needle & thread I'm very much inclined to try the poof or pillows.
    Filled with old torn-up t-shirts I think I have enough material for a few...

  2. Woooow So many ideas!!!!!!! Estella thanks a lot for sharing!

  3. Great ideas! Love them all! Toffee is so sweet!

  4. Amazing post! Love those ideas and especially the doggie sweater!!!

  5. Beautiful ideas! I loveee that monster (plush toy)! It's on my to do list for a long time now, with another 2000 projects I want to do :P

  6. I LOVE when people use old sweaters and recycle them. I actually just want to go in a second hand shop and get tons of sweaters just so I can make these ideas :D

  7. Up-cycling can make the best products, really!