Thursday, January 25, 2024

Upcycle Cashmere Sweater

This January I am in a mood to upcycle or at least repurpose a lot of the fabric and garments that I have held onto but not used. I've had an idea to use old cashmere sweaters as fabric and recombine them into new items. Over the the last few years I've put a few of my old sweaters in this category as well as some new to me ones found at thrift shops. However for my first project of this type I actually purchased something and remade it - also using remnants from the stash. 

sweater collar

I was in my local Savers thrift store before Christmas, looking for puzzles and happened to walk by the rack of men's sweater where this blue beauty was hanging on the very end of the rack. That color! how could I resist. So I bought it for $9 and figured I could use it for something. Also being a men's size L it was quite roomy and great for cutting out me-sized pattern pieces.

blue sweater original

The sleeves, sides, shoulder seams and neckband were stitched on so I unpicked all that and was left with a good amount of sweater to work with.  I decided to make it a polo neck sweater and use a Burda pattern which I have successfully used on a summer stripe cotton t-shirt. Burda Feb 2023 # 108.  You can see the pattern and original shirt in that linked blog post. 


I wasn't quite sure what I was going to use for the collar, at first I thought about a contrasting color harvested from another sweater but rummaging around in my stash I found a small piece of silk charmeuse and the color match was incredible, so it had to be that. 

test sleeve1

I put both lightweight fusible interfacing as well as some silk organza in the collar and collar stand to give them structure. Otherwise I just sewed it as I would with any knit fabric. The sweater held together well when cut so it was easy to sew. 

Blue sweater2

blue sweater back

The sleeve were a bit tricky and I decide to just sew them back on as it, with some minor adjustment at the seam allowance of the armhole. So they are a bit long perhaps but I generally turn back the cuff on all sweaters so they are fine. 

test sleeve2

I hand basted them on first just to make sure they fit the armhole.  All in all I am really satisfied with my first cashmere sweater remake and there will definitely be more in my future. I've collected a few sweaters in plum, lavender, and purple shades so perhaps some kind of color-block combo.

blue sweater front

blue sweater4

Worn with my favorite pair of Ash jeans. That pattern certainly has provided value as I think I have made 10 pairs at least and another corduroy pair is on the to-do list. 

I'm really happy with my slouchy, soft and very blue sweater remake. If you have been following me on Instagram you will know that I am doing another project that is in the reuse-recycle category. I'm making a coat only using remnants of wool from other projects. It started out just a personal challenge but is turning out to be one of my favorites and I will do a blog post soon on that. 

This weekend I'm teaching an in-person 2-day Chore Jacket class for Hello Stitch Studio. After that we are working on what to offer in the spring, any suggestions?

Happy January Sewing,

As you can see in the image above, the garden is pretty blah this time of year and involves a lot of weeding and raking of the never ending leaves. So here is an image of a summer dahlia to remind me of what's to come. Also I moved all my dahlia tubers to a planter box and I hope to have a nice concentration of blooms there in the summer.

red dahlia 2023


  1. Wonderful idea. Great outcome. Takes it to a whole other level and looks so good on you.

  2. Luscious sweater!

    How to follow you on Instagram?

  3. Your regular readers know that color match was no accident. That is your color! Your remake is so successful. I have the same plan for as weather I made for my spouse from super soft navy interlock and the polo came out too big for him, so it will become a polo for me.

    How about a casual spring dress for your class?

  4. Wow, very impressive upcycling! Lovely end result

  5. C'est ingénieux et tellement bien réalisé. Félicitations !
    Et merci pour le partage inspirant.

  6. I love this re-fashion – especially the contrasting texture for the placket. Could I ask how you finished the seams? I'd be scared that the whole thing might unravel before I got to that part! Thank you

  7. How did you sew the seams? Did you use a zigzag stitch? Could the seams be sewn with a serger? I have some sweaters I would like to take in and am not sure how to sew the seams. Your sweater remake turned out great!

  8. Great colour match! Love the change of fabric - really lifts the garment.