How To Reuse An Old Sweater

An old, worn out sweater gains a new lease of life when transformed into something completely different. Here are a few ideas to inspire you to recycle your knitwear in original and useful ways. You don’t need much equipment: a pair of scissors, some pins, a tape measure and a needle and thread; a sewing machine is useful to save time on larger projects, but is not essential. A hot-glue gun is needed for some of the designs.

A Patchwork Blanket

Mix and match the different colours and patterns of old sweaters to create a stunning felted wool patchwork blanket. Cut open the seams of woolen knitwear and sort according to colour. Wash at 60 degrees and then tumble dry: the fabric will shrink and become firm and matted. Use templates to cut out squares of fabric and arrange them in a pleasing combination of colour and pattern. Pin together a row of squares and then sew using a long straight stitch. When you have completed all the rows, piece them together and attach to a suitable backing fabric. For a decorative finish, hand stitch the edges in blanket stitch.

A Cushion

You will need a large sweater and an 18” cushion pad. Cut two 19” squares from the sweater and sew them right side to right side, leaving one edge open. Turn inside out and insert the cushion pad, then hand stitch the closure. Finish the cushion by attaching large buttons to the front and back: use a large needle and work all the way through the cushion.

A Scarf

Make a unique scarf from old knits. You will need long lengths of fabric for this project, or you could sew shorter pieces together. A fine knit such as a long skirt or a poncho would be ideal. Cut long lengths of about 150cm x 20cm and neaten the ends. Braid them together and stitch the ends firmly, then attach lovely fluffy pompoms for a fashion-forward look.

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