Upcycle Sweater and Clothing Ideas

My family has been putting a lot of energy into becoming a zero-waste home these days.  It is a slow but steady project, but we are all invested.

Right now our goal is to recycle, reuse, repurpose all that we can.  This is not an easy feat, even though it is so environmentally friendly and, well…simple.

What I have found simple and easy to do is upcycle old clothes.  It seems we are always going through our closets to weed out the items we thrifted from fantastic thrift stores and are now ready to pass on.  

I’m fanatical about thrifting, and we do end up with many items that may not last long, but they can be put to good use in some other way.

My favorite thing is to upcycle sweaters.  Cozy, warm, textured sweaters can be made into so many new-to-me items.

This page is full of amazing things to make with upcycled clothes, especially upcycled sweaters.

One caveat here: To really have a zero-waste home, purchasing items from thrift stores to use as upcycled clothing doesn’t exactly count, in my opinion.  But I will admit that I have found some great projects that I want to make but don’t have anything to use in my own closet. 

Like I said, I love thrift stores.  One person’s junk is another person’s treasure, as they say.  So don’t be afraid to purchase clothing, including sweaters to upcycle for these wonderful projects. I have been known to do it!

The cost is minimal, and the projects are beautiful.

Take a look at some of the many wonderful projects on this page.  You’ll be surprised at how many upcycled projects there are here.

  • Clothing: Take old clothing to make new clothing!  Upcycle sweaters and upcycle other clothing to make things such as infinity scarves, embellished sweaters, aprons, doll dresses and so much more.
  • Accessories: Upcycle denim and sweaters to make messenger bags, purses, totes, headbands, cell phone and tablet cases…the list goes on.
  • Home decor: Use lovely textures and upcycle sweaters, especially cabled ones, to make pillows, blankets, lampshade covers, reupholstered chairs, holiday decorations and more.
  • Miscellaneous: Sweaters, denim, and cotton can all be used to make unique items like cute little sachets, hand warmers, cup cozies, and sweater flowers.

It will be difficult to look over the upcycled projects on this page and not find something that just has to be made!  Keep an eye out for the perfect upcycled project for gift giving, too.

Looking for other upcycled clothing ideas?  Check out our page full of projects for upcycled neckties!

Upcycle Sweater and Clothing Ideas

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7 Ways to Make Rag Rugs

7 Ways to Make Rag Rugs

Upcyle old clothes into something useful, rag rugs. My Poppet Makes


Turned a men's dress shirt into an apron with this tutorial. Gabriel's Good Tidings


How to make a blanket out of sweaters! See how to turn a stack of old wool sweaters into a useful, patchwork blanket. Swoodson Says

Braided Sweater Scarf

A fashionable scarf tutorial repurposing an old sweater. Larissa Another Day

Cell Phone Case - Sock Cell Phone Case

Cell Phone Case - Sock Cell Phone Case

Do you want to one-of-a-kind cell phone case for your cell phone? Do you need a cell phone case to protect your phone?

Watch this tutorial to learn a quick, inexpensive and fun way to protect your phone from getting scratched by making a sock cell phone cozy.

This is a good beginner sewing project.
Needlepointers Staff

Christmas Sweater Pillow

Christmas Sweater Pillow

Turn an ugly Christmas sweater into a fun holiday decorative pillow. Heather Handmade

Cozy Leggings from Old Sweater

Turn an old sweater into cozy leggings for a child. Make It and Love It

Cup Sleeve

Cup Sleeve

Protect hand from a hot beverage by upcycling a sweater into cup sleeve by reading this tutorial. Organized 31

Cushion Cover

Update your home with this gorgeous embroidered cushion cover using an old sweater and a little hand embroidery. Vicky Myers Creations

Denim Checkered Picnic Blanket

Here are do-it-yourself instructions to turn a bunch of unwanted jeans into a stunning and useful picnic blanket. Sustain My Craft Habit

DIY Sweater Box

DIY Sweater Box

Have you ever seen a sweater box in the stores, and wanted to get one? Try this tutorial. Reuse Grow Enjoy

DIY Sweater Wreath

Make this DIY sweater wreath from an old or a thrift store sweater, and a Dollar Tree Wreath. Thrifted Nest

Doll Holiday Party Dress

Doll Holiday Party Dress

This video shows and explains how to make an adorable holiday party dress for an 18" doll.

Flannel Shirt Tote

Turn a men’s shirt into an attractive bag with this easy project. Quilting Digest

Girls Spring Mini Tote

This felted tote is make by recycling an old sweater. Betz White


This instructable is a quick and easy way to make a headband from old belts. By mksabrina at Instructables

Heart Handwarmers

It is so easy to make homemade hand warmers by upcycling a wool sweater. Swoodson Says

Hot Water Bottle Cozy

Make cozy from old sweater. Etsy New York Team

Infinity Sweater Scarf

Infinity Sweater Scarf

Learn how to make an infinity sweater scarf by upcycling a sweater! Heather Handmade

Laptop Tote

Made yourself a laptop tote out of an old or thrift store sweater and belt. It's Alway Autumn

Laundry Stained Clothes

Laundry Stained Clothes

How to fix clothes that have been dyed in the wash by mistake … Dye them on purpose!

Did you ever take clothes out of the washer to find that it is color stained. Don't throw it away. Tie Dye it!

Learn how to fix it with this tutorial. Staff

Lavender Sachets

Lavender Sachets

Use an old sweater and a little embroidery to make pretty little lavender bags. Sum of Their Stories

Messenger Bag

Learn how to turn a pair of cargo pants into a messenger bag. Craftaholics Anonymous

Mug Cozy

Dress up your favorite teacup or coffee mug by recycling a sweater. eHow

Patchwork Lap Quilt

Here is a great idea for using old sweaters and turning into useful home decor that adds warmth on those chilly evenings. Fiber Luscious

Patchwork Pillow

Upcycle your sweaters into fun patchwork pillows with these instructions. Craft Foxes

Pillow - Felted Pillow

An article on a way to turn an old sweater into a pillow. Sewing Green

Pocket Handbag

Pocket Handbag

How to make a small, cute handbag using an old jeans or shorts pocket. This project only requires simple sewing skills so beginners and kids can sew this project.

Reupholster A Chair

Reupholster A Chair

Reupholster a chair and give it a bright and fun new seat with denim jeans. DIY Candy


Turn an old, unwanted sweater into awesome DIY Sweater Slippers with this easy tutorial! Busy Being Jennifer


Create your own pair of slippers from an old sweater. eHow

Sweater Box

Sweater Box

Upcycle that sweater by covering a box. Organized 31

Sweater Covered Lampshade

Transform a plain lampshade into something special. Beth Bryan Designs

Sweater Covered Pot

With this quick and easy tutorial, made a little pot cozy for indoor plants from an old sweater. A Cultivated Nest

Sweater Flowers

Turn old or thrift store sweaters into flowers. Whipper Berry

Sweater Handbag

With this easy sewing tutorial, turn a sweater into a handbag. A Crafty Mix

Sweater Lamp Shade

This lampshade makeover uses a sweater. A Cultivated Nest

Sweater Mittens

Transform an old sweater into a cozy pair of sweater mittens. Live About

Sweater Pillow

Sweater Pillow

Upcycle an old sweater that you no longer wear or no longer fits? Here is a DIY Sweater pillow tutorial. Reuse Grow Enjoy

Sweater Stockings

Learn how to upcycle old sweaters into Christmas stockings to adore the mantle. The Homeless Finch

Sweater Stool DIY

Upcycle an unwanted sweater into a cozy new bench or stool! Upcycle That

Sweater to Christmas Stocking

Sweater to Christmas Stocking

You can turn just about any sweater into a Christmas stocking. Check out this tutorial to learn how. Scratch and Stitch

Sweater Wreath

This wreath upcycles no longer used sweaters and doesn't require sewing, so it’s super easy craft for kids to help put together. Dragonfly Fun

T-Shirt Embellishments

Ideas on re-purposing old sweaters scraps into embellishments on t-shirts. Make It & Love It

Wine Bottle Bags

Recycle old sweaters into cool wine bottle bags with these instructions. The Homeless Finch

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Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

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Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

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