Tutorial: Make a Cowl from a Sweater Sleeve

repurposed sweater cowlI have been sweater obsessed lately! Ever since turning one of Dave’s shrunken sweaters into an infinity scarf, I’ve been thinking of fun ways to take sweaters apart and repurpose them. I made that sweater wrap not too long ago and a few other sweatery things, and in the end I was left with a pile of sleeves.

The thing about repurposing is that it can actually be quite wasteful. Take my sweater obsession, right? If I tossed those sleeves into the bin, could I really say that I upcycled a sweater? the whole idea is to divert waste from the landfill, right?

More upcycledgoodness: Asymmetrical Wrap from an Old Sweater, Fabric Scrap Pom Pom, Upcycled Planner Made from Trash

I ran across a really cute asymmetrical cowl on Pinterest not too long ago, but it required knitting, which isn’t my strong suit. It looked like the perfect project to use up some of those sweater sleeves!

How to Make a Cowl from a Sweater Sleeve


  • thrifted sweater
  • sewing machine, thread, pins, iron
  • vintage button

1. You need to get that sleeve off of your sweater. Trim the sleeve off right along the seam.

cut sleeve off of sweater along the seam2. Once the sleeve is detached, turn it inside-out, then sew along the edge that you just cut using your machine’s zig zag stitch.

3. Flip your sleeve so it’s right side out, then iron it well.

4. It’s time to try it on! Grab a straight pin, and head to the mirror. Put the cowl around your neck until it’s sitting just right. Put the straight pin into the bottom piece of sweater in the center of where the two ends overlap. This is where your button will go.

5. Sew on your button.

6. Sew the button hole. You might need to put the cowl on again to make sure you put the button hole in the right place. Use a pin again to mark the bottom of your button hole, then send it through your machine on the button hole setting (mine does one-step button holes, but some machines do 4-steps).

Voila! A cute cowl with no knitting required!

2 comments on “Tutorial: Make a Cowl from a Sweater Sleeve
  1. Your cowl is very creative looking. It would be a good cowl for me to make with a large sweater sleeve for bulk and added warmth. Thank you for your tutorial.

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