Tag Archives: upcycling

Hat, Cowl, and Boot Cuffs From A Vintage Sweater!


I’d always planned this to mainly be a crochet blog–and crochet is my main craft–but I love variety, so I like to dabble in other crafts as well. As it turns out, the first project I’m going to share is a sewing project. It’s also an upcycling project, which is another favorite craft area of mine.

Some months ago, I found this tutorial on Pinterest, where you can make a cowl scarf from an old sweater. I loved the idea, and had just the sweater in mind for it. This kelly green cabled cardigan belonged to my great grandma, so it’s extra special. It also happens to be my absolute favorite color. Unfortunately, it had developed some holes and was becoming a little snug, so it was perfect for the project. I set about to make a cowl, but my sweater must have been a bit larger than the one in the tutorial, because the cowl was loose on my neck, and wouldn’t have been cozy at all. This is when the lightbulb turned on. Why not cut it down and make a matching hat with the extra fabric? Then, I couldn’t stand to see the sleeves go to waste, and they just happened to be the perfect size for boot cuffs. And thus, this project was born.

What you need:

  • Old cardigan sweater, about 42″ in diameter at the hem (or 21″ when measured across the front, laid flat). You can use a larger one and cut it down, but a smaller one won’t have enough fabric.
  • Sharp scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Printed hat pattern (PDF)
  • Faux fur pom pom (or make one from yarn if you prefer)

What to do:


It’s time to dissect your sweater. Lay the sweater out flat, and cut through the front and back (both thicknesses) from armpit to armpit. Put the top part aside. You’ll need the sleeves for the boot cuffs, but the rest is spare. Use it as you wish (and I’d love to see how)!


Cut along each of the side seams of the bottom part of the sweater. This will leave you with a front piece (with buttons down the middle) and a flat back piece.


For the cowl:

Use the front (button-up) portion of the cardigan. Fold it in half width wise, with the wrong side facing out. (This is where you really should pin it, but I didn’t. I like to live on the edge). Allowing a half-inch seam allowance, sew the two short edges together with a running stitch. You should have a round, short tube. Now, fold over the top (raw) edge of the tube twice, half an inch each time, and hem the edge.

I forgot to take pictures of this part, so I hope a crappy drawing will do. 😉


That’s it! At this point, you’ll want to try it on and adjust as you like. I like the way it looks with the bottom couple buttons undone. It gives it a triangular shape when worn. You can experiment and see how you like it best.

For the hat:

Print and cut out the hat pattern (PDF). Cut the back part of the sweater into a rectangle, about 9 inches (23 cm) by 21 inches (53 cm). Make the bottom edge of the rectangle Fold it in fourths. (If you want to do it correctly, and not like I did), pin the pattern to the folded fabric, and cut the point only through all four thicknesses. Don’t cut the edges. You want what looks like four cathedral windows attached together like paper dolls. Makes perfect sense, right? Perhaps another crappy drawing would help.


With the wrong side out, use a whip stitch to sew the straight edges together. Now, whip stitch the adjacent edges of each point (there should be four) seams altogether.  At this point, you should come up with something that looks like a stocking cap. Congratulations! Just sew the fur pom pom to the top of the hat and you’re done.

For the boot cuffs:


This part could not be easier! Just cut the sleeves, about 6 inches up from the cuff. fold over and hem, like you did the top of the cowl. Voila! Now, my boots are slightly taller than ankle length, so the cuffs fit right about at mid calf. If you want to wear them with knee-high boots, depending the width of your sleeves, they may not fit. You can always take a section from nearer the shoulder and hem both sides. I just think the ribbed edge gives a more finished look. You could even jazz them up with ribbons, lace, buttons, a couple of fabric yoyos … but I wanted to keep it simple this time.

There is still more of the sweater left, but I haven’t thought of anything else to make from it. What other ideas can you think of to upcycle an old sweater?