How to Convert an Old Sweater Into a Beanie

Thao Huynh from 7th Bone Tailoring demonstrates a fast & easy way to make a custom beanie hat from your favorite old sweaters. You can substitute a sweater for any knit fabric or garment with generous stretch and soft hand feel. This is a great way to upcycle any knits in your closet that may be damaged beyond repair.

How to up-cycle an old sweater into a beanie

Materials to create a DIY Beanie

  • Old sweater or knit shirt
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • BERNINA Knit or universal needles
  • Mettler polyester thread
  • BERNINA sewing machine, we sew on a BERNINA 350 PE
  • Iron

How to up-cycle a sweater into a beanie hat, video tutorial

This video is for beginning sewists and up looking to gain some speed. This quick project can be made in ten minutes or less! Please leave comments for which types of sweaters work best.

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Do you up-cycle when sewing?

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74 thoughts on “How to Convert an Old Sweater Into a Beanie

  1. Yes, like many of us who sew, I do up-cycle! I have a stash of previously used trims, ribbons and buttons, as well as some garments to up-cycle in various projects. One of my favorite up cycled Christmas gifts came from my daughter who is also a “sewist”. She used a velvet skirt to make Christmas stockings for my husband and I!

  2. Upcycling helps me keep cherished items in use after they have served their original purpose. For example, a red and white satin quilt my great grandmother made for me is now a lovely Christmas tree skirt.

  3. Great little video! I really haven’t up-cycled any clothes yet but I need to give this a try the next time one of the sweaters in our house has seen it’s better day. I think I have some kids who would just love a beanie like this! Thanks for the chance to play : )

  4. I’ve discovered that two of my husband’s old dress shirts yields enough fabric to make myself one top. When I’m trying a new top pattern, I use his old shirts as muslins to test the fit. This works great…most of the time! I learned the hard way to avoid permanent press shirts when I quickly discovered that it was impossible to press a crease or iron a seam, lol!

  5. I felt wool from old clothes and make purses. I save ALL my fabric scraps and cut them into confetti to use in my landscape quilts. The beanie looks like a great idea!! Thanks for sharing the idea.

  6. I have done a little up-cycle. I have taken some old denim jeans to make an apron for my niece and I also made a wine bag with the legs of the jeans. I love the beanie idea from an old sweater. I think I might just have to give it a try.

    1. I upcycle ALL of the time: quilts from denim or clothing fabric, certain types of placemats make great bags for Days for Girls hygiene bags, old blankets make great quilt batting for my humaniarian quilts, crafts for myself or for my grandchildren. I once tried making socks for my kids from my husbands old socks. That didn’t work so well!!

  7. Definately. If something is still good like sweaters, jeans, ribbons and other misc. items I have a recycle box and it is a go to box for various items. I think my most used item is buttons. Sometimes a funky button is all you need on a project. I keep holiday colors just in case I make placements with a pocket for a napkin. Thanks for letting me join in on the conversation.

  8. Yes, I up cycle. I remember making our first grand daughter a romper using fabric from a favorite knit shirt of mine. I have a son-in-law’s plaid shirts to make a quilt for his son in the future. Usually it is a sentimental thing rather than a necessity. Linens have been recycled into tea towels.

  9. Yes! I took a jelly roll race pieced top (which I didn’t like) and treated it as yardage. So far, I’ve made a Sugar Plum Table Runner from WeAllSew, and a bag for holding plastic store bags neatly, and am just finishing up the Let I Snow Holiday Pillow, also from WeAllSew. Much happier with this quilt top all chopped up and made into different things. Also, my husband’s warn out jeans are now a gardening apron for me. Whenever I can create something nifty out of what I already have, I feel victorious. Cheers!

  10. I love to shop at garage sales and second hand stores for old textiles of all kinds (lace, handkerchiefs, silk scarfs and ties, wool skirts) to incorporate into quilted projects.

  11. I save my husband and son’s discarded oxford dress shirts…..especially the stripped ones or the infamous blue. I cut them up and use them for lining fabric when I make cosmetic bags.

  12. I have made a memory teddy bear for my nieces and nephew from the dress my mother wore for my sister’s wedding. Since my mother is now deceased the bears have been appreciated.

  13. I enjoy upcycling with velvet. I can find beautiful regular and unusual velvet colors/prints at Goodwill and save them throughout the year. This “stash” is great for linings-whether for garments or accessories.
    Merry Christmas!

  14. I like to collect colorful scraps of silks from my own clothing and from thrift store items. I also collect pieces of linen fabric from similar sources. I incorporate these into projects, often with my hand embroidery.

  15. I do. Mostly used denim into comforters or jackets and vests. I have also taken sleeves from sweaters and put them onto vests or incorporated them into jacket sleeves.

  16. I cut up my maternity clothes and made dresses for my daughter when she was little. Now I have those same clothes saved in a bag to make a baby quilt when/if she becomes pregnant.

  17. YES!! I hit second hand stores and grab deals on clothes. Then I bring them home and re-do them to my liking. They don’t “always” turn out the way that I picture them but I have more hits than misses. It sure is a lot less expensive than buying at the mall!!

  18. I use old buttons and lace. Also old wool clothing instead of going out to buy wool for a project. Men’s ties have beautiful silk or other fabrics that I have used in a crazy quilt block. We even used scrap satin from a bridal shop.

  19. I always try to use what I already have before buying something new. I have made many sweaters, and coats for cats and dogs as well as mittens from old leather gloves. Now, by accident, I am making felted wool for appliqué in my quilting.

  20. I have made some rugs, zippered bags, wool banner classes, and scarves from recycled wool pieces. I love shopping for wool at estate sales, thrift stores and yard sales.

  21. I just finished making a market tote and used a darling zipper for the inside pocket enclosure. Zipper had a leather tab with a metal snowflake on it; previously had been on a vest pocket. I’m planning to make another tote and line it with some fabric from a skirt I made a million years ago. I love to upcycle, it makes creations so interesting and unique.

  22. I searched the thrift store for plush fleece and velour clothing to repurpose into zippered bags to hold and protect my hoops for my embroidery sewing machine.

  23. I save all my husbands denim work shirts and any jeans that are unwanted. I have used them make really cute cosmetic bags, currently I’m saving them to do a quilt.

  24. I search the Goodwill and Savers for silk and linen garments. I have lined purses with the silk and converted shirts into vests. I also made a quilt entirely of used men’s shirts with an old sheet as the backing.

  25. I use my husband’s old paint cloths for different project. Because of their stiffness and paint splotches they make great journal covers, quilt labels, shopping tote bags and many other project that come into my head.

  26. I definitely do up cycling – I love to turn old clothes into Memory Bears; I’ve made bears for family members and friends who’ve lost loved ones. A hug from a Memory Bear helps ….

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