Tips for Sewing Sweater Knit

Tips for sewing knitIt's the perfect time of year for warm, fuzzy accessories! I love scarves, mittens and snow hats, but did you know you can make them yourself from an old sweater? Today I'll show you how to recycle a sweater into something brand new!

Tips for sewing knit 2
Tips for sewing knit 3Step 1: Use the hemline on your sweater as the hemline for your new piece. For example, since we are making a hat today I am using the bottom of this sweater, which already has a pretty finished hem! 
Tips for sewing knit 4Step 2: Mark off the area that you want to sew with chalk or a marker. Your sweater should be turned inside out. I used a hat I already have to measure the pattern for my new hat. Remember, it's better to make it a little bit too big, you can always size it down later!
Tips for sewing knit 5Step 3: Stitch your shape on your sewing machine. We used a 3.5 inch stitch length for this sweater, which is a medium weight sweater. Remember to sew before you cut the knit fabric. Step 4: Cut your hat out. Try it on. Stitch it smaller if it's too big (we did this a couple times!). Enjoy your new fuzzy hat and add a yarn pompom if you like! 
Tips for sewing knit 6Turn it inside out and it's done! 
Tips for sewing knit 7TIPS FOR SEWING KNIT: 
-Always use the existing hem, if you can! 
-Give yourself extra seam allowance, it's easier to size down than to size up. 
-Always sew before you cut the knit fabric! 
-Start with basic shapes like a hat or scarf before you try something more complicated! 
-Thinner knits are easier to sew with a machine. 
-If you need to cut your sweater before sewing, baste the edges of the garment before you cut. 
-Chunkier knits need a bigger stitch length. 
-Try adding hand stitched details with yarn. It's so much fun! 
Tips for sewing knit 8Have fun stitching somehting from a knit sweater! xo. elsie 

 This sewing basics series was created in collaboration with Missy Creed of Momentum Fashion. Missy is a talented seamstress who sews for Red Velvet!

  • When I was a kid, I had a hard time knitting a sweater but when I did it I feel good that I made a knitted sweater on my own.

  • 苫小牧海上保安署によると、釣り客4人はいずれも登別市桜木町に住む釣り仲間で、死亡したのは自営業の中原和彦さん(64)と会社員の門田富夫さん(64)。行方不明は無職の菊池久男さん(65)。船長の沢田さんと、アルバイトの渡辺博文さん(67)は低体温症の症状があるが、命に別条はないという。

  • LOVE the hat. And I’m dying to know how you did your hair! It’s flawless! That would be a great blog post…just saying!

  • Hey Elsie,this is such a cool idea for a hat.I must try it ASAP!thank’s for the inspiration.



    Tested the sweater hat! It’s cold at my attic so it’s very welcome!

  • Q: This is great! I’ve always wondered about sewing knits. Confused by 3.5 inch stitch length though… is that right?

    A: Technically, you could use a stitch length anywhere from 2.5-4. I chose 3.5 because this knit was chunky enough to not have to use a small stitch, but I felt a 4 would be too loose. It’s kind of a judgement call depending on your knit. Sorry for the confusion!


  • I’d probably use one of the stretch stitches rather than a plain straight stitch… in the unlikely event that the hat gets stretched, the stitches would stretch rather than snap.

  • Another great one, although I can’t really carry hats off. Gonna try though!

  • What a great idea for my sweaters that have shrunk in the wash!

  • that’s so easy it’s crazy! I love it. Thank you for the sweet idea, Elsie!

    love, polly 😀

  • AMAZING IDEA !!!! <3


  • This is a great idea. I once saw a segment on Martha Stewart Living when she had Molly Ringwald on to sew some mittens out of old cashmere sweaters they had lying around (!) and Molly couldn’t figure it out to save her life.

    *A good tip for this is to zigzag stitch the raw edges of the yarn when you’re done. You’ll want to cut the seam allowance 1/8 of an inch or so from the seam, and then zigzag so the needle grazes the seam on one side and the edge of the fabric on the other. This will prevent fraying, and will keep your hat or mittens wearable for longer!*

  • I recommend cutting four sort of rounded triangle shapes, rather than two half-moons. It will mimic the shape of a real hat much better!

  • Good gravy, I love all of these! Oh my Atlanta, super keen!

  • I am looking for parts for Berina sewing machines, old style. Can anyone point me in the right direction? This site has Berina Sewing machine accessories, but it’s the only one I came across so far- . I’m also taking cost into consideration. Thanks! Happy sewing!

  • What a great tutorial! I’ll definitely be giving this a go once I’ve had some more practice with my sewing machine!!

    Katie x

  • Cute idea! But I currently own very few jumpers and it’s so cold I need to keep them as jumpers! Perhaps I shall recycle them next year 🙂 Hx

  • knitting your own hats must be all the rage. my auntie is knitting one for me 🙂 can’t wait to see the finished product

    check out my new post on my london trip and purchases

  • Ótima idéia heim!! Parabéns pelo blog, cada dia mais lindo! Beijos Lola

  • So simple! your DIY posts make everything seem easy, i feel stupid now for ever buying a wooly hat from a shop! Hope your having a good week x

  • i have lots of too small too daggy knits just waiting to be crafted into something fab!

    thanks for the red hot tip!



  • Just tried this out with a lush material and it looks amazing! Such a good tutorial! x

  • This is great! I’ve always wondered about sewing knits. Confused by 3.5 inch stitch length though… is that right?

  • Thanks so much for this – especially the tips. There are lots of fun projects on the net for re-using woolies but I’m always nervous about how the sewing part will actually work (great tip about stitch length btw!)

  • I never knew how to work with knit wear. But maybe I’ll give this DIY a try with all awesome tips!

    Fang Ting

  • What a fantastic idea! I have an old sweater that somehow ended up in the dryer & now is baby-sized, def should give this a shot w/ it : ) Thanks!

  • you look crazy beautiful!! <3 love love!


    p.s. i love you lol! i have been reading my blog love e-course over and over!!

    i just redid my header and you’ve been so much inspiration for me overall in the past 7 months since i’ve had my blog!! THANKS SO MUCH!

  • This is awesome! Im still getting a hang of knitting and crocheting so this tip is awesome for a quick hat!!

  • What a cute idea!
    I am always so sad when I have to retire a knit, now I am going to be waiting to see which one will be first to become a hat. Yay!

  • aww this hat is so cute! all your sewing tips lately have been really helpful, thank you!

  • What a perfect way to re-use an old sweater! 🙂 cool makeover!!!


  • love this! such an awesome idea for all of the random knitted sweaters in my closet that no longer fit/aren’t my style anymore.

  • Great way to use a sweater. Although I suggest using a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch as it will “give” with the sweater as it stretches (a zigzag switch, marrow, or chain stitch should be used on all knits, sweaters, or stretchy fabrics). I would hate to do such a tutorial and hear the pop of stitches as I put it over my head.

  • cool tutorial. but i would wear any of those sweaters in a heartbeat so i kind of wish you hadn’t cut them up. such a gorgeous colour

  • That looks so cute! I am always way to scared to sew knits but this makes it look super easy!

  • Hey, first of all, I want to say you’ve got a lovely blog, I’m a blogger based in México who’s just starting in this whole blogging world, so I wanted to invite you to check out my blog and maybe follow it if you like it! Thanks and greetings from México!


  • I made a batman hat and a scarf with an old cashmere sweater for a friend’s son last year… now I want to make one for me!

  • i sent a link to your site to my mom…with a WINK WINK “what a perfect mother/daughter activity” type phrase. she is the recycling/sewing maven.


  • so cute! my mummy is doing that work :)))

  • Too cute! I’m doing this for sure. Unfortunately, I have 2 holey sweaters waiting for me.

  • Knitting has always been my wife’s passion. I will recommend this post to her to get some more ideas.

  • Cutie! Easy for kids to do too – thanks!

    Stephanie May*

  • This is such a great idea. I really love the pink color of the hat. Have been wanting a pink cowl…

  • hey girl! i love your work!

    follow my new blog, if you wish of course….


  • Well… that’s just adorable! I love it…and so shall me cold little head. 🙂 Hearts, janna lynn

  • this is brilliant! SO going to do this with my sweaters that got holes in them. Great re-purposing.

  • I am so excited that you are sharing such helpful and easy sewing tips! Although i have been doing great lately with my sewing, it is great to see these tips pop up to remind me 🙂

    a cup of subtle tea

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