Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DIY Upcycled Socks from sweater sleeves


I'm so excited to share this tutorial with you! The creation of these socks was like an "ahaa" moment. I have been trying to think of ways to upcycle sweater sleeves (I already know how to upcycled the body part) that I have left over from previous projects. And then, on a whim I put one of the sleeves on my foot and a light bulb went on in my mind. Sweater sleeve socks!!

They are super easy and fun to make, and they are so cute! Be sure to click "read more" below to see the how-to process.





You will need:

  • a pair of sweater sleeves. I had already used the body of the sweater for another project, but if you have a whole sweater, just cut the sleeves off.
  • sewing machine or needle and yarn
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • marking tool (a pen or soap chip)
  • elastic band (3 cm wide)



So, after you've cut off your sleeves you need to put them on your feet. First turn them inside out, then pull them up so that the shoulder will be where you knee is and the ribbed cuff will be covering your toes (as shown in the picture above). Note: I placed the sleeve seam at the side of my foot, because this way it was the least visible and the most comfortable.
Mark the toe curve on the sleeve and sew the end of the sleeve shut (pink markings on the picture above). You can do this by hand using a needle and some matching yarn, or with a sewing machine using a wide zig-zag stitch, or with your serger/overlocker.


This is how my toe area looked after sewing. My serger cuts the excess material as I'm sewing, but if you're using your regular machine or doing this by hand, you'll need to cut the excess and trim the edges.


Now to the top of the socks. First, you'll need to decide how long you want you socks to be. I decided to make them knee high. Mark the length, add about 6 cm for the elastic tunnel and seam allowance and cut (pink markings on the photo above).


Measure two strips of elastic making sure they are just tight enough at the hight where your sock ends. So, for instance, I measured the length of the elastic just below my knee. Sew the ends of the elastic together, forming two elastic circles.


Put the elastic circles around each sock (it being still inside out). Turn the end of the sock over the elastic, making sure you have enough seam allowance to make the final seam just below the elastic (pink markings on the photo above).


Sew the tunnel shut by hand or using the wide zig-zag stitch on you sewing machine. I actually used my new cover stitch machine just because I really need the practice. There you have it! New super warm, fuzzy and cute socks!

As always, let me know in the comments what you think, if you have any questions, or just want to say Hi!

49 comments:

  1. This is such a good idea! Thanks for the tips! I'm going to try this out! :)

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    1. You're welcome! I hope yours turn out as cute as mine did :)

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  2. Nii mõnusad! Mu katsed on alati sääriste juures vaid pidama jäänud. Aga kuidas sa eespool (kanna vastas, kus jalg murdub) sellist kobrutust väldid? Loogika järgi peaks sinna rohkem kangast kokku jooksma..

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    1. Mulle tundus, et ma vastasin sulle juba, aga tundub, et siiski mitte... igatahes, loe siis minu vastust Lydiale allpool :)

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  3. U R a genius! Those socks are way cool - totally wacky & warm - LOVE 'em!

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    1. Thanks, Martha! I don't know about genius, but I can admit to having a good idea occasionally :)

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  4. Those are so cute!! I love when I see the first picture and my brain immediately goes "oh! Those are cute! How do I make them?" Thanks for the tutorial :) -Meg

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    1. You're welcome, Meg! If you ever do make them, send me a picture!

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    2. Absolutely will do! I'm on the look out for the right sweater... and I might have to try a tow sock version.... I'm odd :)

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  5. Love these!

    I also cut off sweater sleeves. I like to use them as leg warmers, or in my case leg thickeners!;^P My calves are really skinny so they sort of 'float' in my boots. I cut off sweater sleeves and sort of scrunch them at the top and leave an inch or two sticking out of the boot. I hadn't thought to sock them!

    Your pair is particularly cute!

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    1. The leg warmer version is the more common use, and I thought about that option as well, but I new I wouldn't get much wear out of them, because winters here are really harsh, and my feet are just as cold as my legs. So, socks are a better alternative for me.

      I bet your leg warmers are also super cute! :)

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  6. What do you think about putting a heel in the sock somehow? That way they would fit around your foot a bit better, and there wouldn't be the bump around your ankle. Do you think that would work? I love these! I'll be on the lookout for a great thrift store sweater!!

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    1. I thought about the heel thing, and Laura asked about it as well, but with this sweater it was not necessary, because the pattern gave them enough structure, so they fit very nicely, no bump. But, if you have the problem with the bump, I think it would be wise to add a little seam on the foot (opposite the heel) where the material gathers. Basically you would be adding a dart there. I think I'm going to try and make a pair or 2 from different sweaters and do and update on the heel issue.

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    2. And did you use a wool sweater and felt it at all? That might also give it a bit more support and warmth!! And do you have any recommendations if the sleeve is too big for your legs? Thanks for the heel input!!

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    3. The sweater I used did have a high wool content, but it was not felted. But you're right, that will definitely give it more structure and warmth. Actually, felting could be one way to make a big sleeve smaller if it has at least 80% wool. But, machine felting can be very unpredictable, so it can go either way (you might get very small socks). You'll have more control doing it by hand, but that's somewhat time consuming.
      Another way to reduce the size of the sleeve is to take it in from the long sleeve seam. Just put it on your foot, then pin it to fit and sew the seam with either a zig-zag stitch or a serger/overlocker.

      Hope this helps!

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    4. You could easily put a heel in these. One way to knit socks is to basically make a tube and insert the heel afterward. It's called an afterthought heel.

      If you take the sweater apart by unzipping the seams, rather than cutting it, you can unravel the shoulder part of the sleeve. That would get you more than enough of the matching yarn to make the heels.
      If you unravel back to where you want the socks to stop, you can pick up the stitches and knit a ribbed cuff as well.

      I kinda want to unravel and reknit the toe area too. I don't think I'd like the feel of the ribbed cuff under my toes. However, most sweaters are knit from the cuff up. To unravel that part you'd either have to cut it, or pull out one slow stitch at a time from the wrong direction. Not worth it!

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    5. That's a great idea! I'll definitely need to try this on a pair. Actually the unraveling of the toe is not that difficult, if you just cut carefully along the row of stitches a couple of rows down from where you'd like to start. Then you only have to pull out the cut yarn and start knitting.

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  7. Hi! I love this tutorial!

    I featured it on my blog this week:

    http://lanared.blogspot.nl/2012/10/diy-love.html

    xx Lana

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    1. Hi, Lana! I love your blog! Thanks for featuring my project! I'll sure be looking forward to your next project :).

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  8. I am gonna be making a trip to my local resale shop.....I can't find the nice heavy knee socks like I wore in the 70's. I don't like the short calf high nylon/acrylic that the stores have. THANX SOoo Much for this GREAT DIY :)

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  9. Great idea. Need to find a sweater I can use. Thanks for sharing!!!

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  10. what a great idea! I've got a sweater that felted when I washed it and was wondering what to do with it!

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    1. I think a felted sweater will work especially great and it's extra warm as well. Happy crafting!

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  11. I just found your blog and I love love love all your tutorials (especially this one!) Super cute, thank you for posting!

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    1. Hi Cerrine! Thank you for the kind words! So glad you found me :).

      xo Hanna

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  12. Is there any problems like the sweater unraveling after you cut it?

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  13. Is there any problems like the sweater unraveling after you cut it?

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    1. I haven't encountered any problems so far, and I've worked a lot with sweaters. If it's a loose knit you might have problems with unraveling, but then again, a loose knit isn't really suitable for this project. You could always sew a straight stitch close to the cut edge to secure it.
      I'd say the main problem with working with knitted materials is that they are stretchy and you could end up with a curly stretched out seam. I'm working on getting a post together to share my tips for working with knits.

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  14. Muchas gracias from Spain!! love your blog and I featured this tuto with photos mentioning your blog name at my new blog (I am a starter..) www.casabelenvejer.blogspot.com.es, hope you like it. A pleasure to follow you. Kind regards.

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    1. You're welcome, Casabelen! You have a lovely blog full of great ideas. And it looks so cute! Nice to be featured :).

      Good luck with your blog!

      xo Hanna

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  15. Brilliant! I was just about to add wool socks to my Christmas wish list, but now I'm going to go make myself a few pairs! Thanks.

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  16. i absolutly love this idea! i just found your blog and im allready obsessed! i cant belivev i threw away my odl sweaters. i should have know i could have diyed them!

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    1. Hi and welcome to Pearls & Scissors! I'm so happy you're feeling inspired!

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  17. I am having trouble pinning this to Pinterest. It says no image can be found. Can you add it to your Pinterest?

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    1. That's odd, since it's the most pinned project on my blog. I pinned it to my DIY inspiration board.

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  18. Thank you for warming my tootsies! I had an old angora sweater I could not bring myself to throw out. This sweater worked perfectly for this project. I now have some white angora booties. I used this project for my blog too. reducereuseredesign.blogpsot.com

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    1. Hi, Sandi! You're wlcome! It sounds like you got yourself some really cute socks. I used to sell reworked clothing as well, so keep up the good work!

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  19. thanks for posting the craft i luv the socks they are really cute too
    thx

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  20. I really loved this post, what a great idea! I have just made wristwarmers and a hat from an old woolswetter.Got to try this out! Thankyou!/ Lotta in Sweden

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  21. i think this is awesome im going to make some for my sister for xmas

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  22. I did the same last winter,but the result was not as beautiful as yours! Thanks for sharing,
    Irma from Italy.

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    1. Irma, I'm sure yours are just as cute :) I've noticed that it all comes down to the knit of the sweater. The tighter and more structured the knit, the tighter the socks will be as well. Logical, right! :)

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    2. These are fabulous !!! I've been wanting to do something to do with the sweaters that were my Dad's. My sisters and I will love these. Thanks so much, Laura

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    3. Sounds like a good plan! Hope you'll enjoy making them as much as you'll enjoy wearing them. :)

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  23. My guy has cold feet all winter. This is the perfect idea for a gift for him. Thanks!

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I appreciate every comment, question, thought and kind word. Thank you!