Handmade Giving: Thrifted Sweater Gifts

This post is an example of every reason why I asked Mary to guest post for me. She is sweet inside and out, she has a heart of gold, she’s a goofball, and she creates beautiful things on the cheap out of not so beautiful things.  She’s pretty awesome like that.  This post is going to make you hop in your car and high-tail it to Goodwill….you’ve been warned.  You can find Mary blogging at Finding Healthy Hope OR on Instagram @mary_krause

hello, friends!
i am so humbled and grateful to be here today, sharing a little bit of my love for creating and giving.
thank you so much, alicia, for inviting me!
first, let me tell you a little bit about me.  
i am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four, with a passion for Jesus, 
my family, giving, and creating.  
would it be weird to say that creating is life giving to me? 
well, it really, truly is, and i believe that the Lord has given me this desire so that I can use it to honor Him.
when i get busy with life, kids, school, etc…and i feel drained, sitting down and making something 
is a wonderful remedy for me.  it just fills me right back up!
i love rescuing old cast offs and making something new from them.  
i am the girl with the basement and garage full of ‘could be’s’.  ๐Ÿ™‚
i love, love, LOVE giving and handmade.
is there anything better than receiving a gift that has been made especially for you 
with attention to detail and lots of love in every part?
i think not.
well, now that you know a little bit about me, let’s get onto the project.
my daughter and i are cut from the same cloth, we LOVE to create!
we have had so much fun, in past years, upcycling sweaters like i’m going to show you below.
there are SO many things you can do!
i’m no pro here, so i’m just going to be sort of an inspiration board for you.
the possibilities are endless!
first, you will need to gather some sweaters that you think have great potential.
we happen to have wonderful thrift stores around our parts 
and i think we paid $1 for most of these sweaters.
 after you’ve found some you like you’ll want to wash them, 
paying close attention to what fibers the sweater is made of.
if you’re working with wool, you will have to wash accordingly because of shrinkage.
keep that in mind, ok?  
i like to ‘felt’ my wool before i use it, which usually involves a light wash(delicates) and line dry.  there are different degrees of felting(the shrinking of the wool fibers that makes them bind tightly together, thus producing, felt!), so you just have to use your best judgement.
how many of you have washed and dried your favorite wool sweater…
…and then it fit your child’s cabbage patch kid doll.
we probably don’t want to do that here. ๐Ÿ™‚
as you can see below, i’m using the red cotton sweater and we are going to be making legwarmers 
or boot socks out of them.
i’m not a professional seamstress, i basically make it up as i go, but i have a few pictures here that will help you all to see the simplicity and imperfection of these steps.
raise your hand if you’re a visual learner like me.
ok.  good. ๐Ÿ™‚
1.  cut your sweater apart.  i cut the arms off of mine(and the body).  you’ll see more on the body later.

2.  use a large zig zag stitch on the very end of the cut edge of the arms of the sweater.
this will finish off the edge so that it won’t fray.

3-4.  pick a fun pom pom or ribbon trim to embellish your leg warmers for a touch of detail and creativity.
pin it on the very edge, and using a straight stitch, carefully stitch the trim on the edge of your cut off sleeve.  make SURE that you are sewing this on in the right direction so that when the sock folds down, the trim is facing the way you want it to.  don’t ask me how i know that….

…..moving on!

5.  gather some buttons to further embellish(if you want).
 you could really stop right here if you were happy with the look of your leg warmers/boot socks.
my handy honey made me some wood buttons from trees on our property.  i LOVE them!
any buttons will work, though.

6.  hand sew buttons on with embroidery thread.  i used a mustard color because it’s my favorite.
now, let’s check out another quick way that we can use other parts of sweaters.
here’s a simple explanation(i hope) for ya!
this time, i used the collar to this beautiful cabled sweater


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i realize that not everyone has a daughter that they can convince to crochet leaves for them, BUT! 
you can totally use felt for this, too!  or even old green shirt material.  the options are limitless.
last but not least, here is what we did with the body of the sweaters.
this, (assuming that your sewing machine doesn’t give you FITS and make you want to pull your hair out, curl up in the fetal position, etc….etc…) is the absolute easiest way to use an old sweater!
i just turned the body of the sweater inside out and sewed a straight line across the cut edge and sewed on the wood buttons!
SO easy!  
i had pillow forms laying around, so i shoved them in there and didn’t even sew the edges shut or anything.
the bottom of the sweater sort of naturally ‘hugs’ the end of the pillow, so i just went with it.
i was SO.DONE.SEWING. ๐Ÿ™‚
i hope that you gained some inspiration from these frugal, simple projects.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year, and i hope that amid the hustle and bustle of to-do lists, holiday baking and ‘perfect present’ finding, we can stop and reflect upon the True Gift that is ours for the taking.
God WITH us.

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  1. Adorable! So I totally convinced my hubby to make me some wood buttons. He wants to know what type of wood you used, though. Was it birch? I saw that note on your IG feed but it doesn't look like the birch we have around here…


  2. I love finding ways to repurpose; and yours are gorgeous!! I adore the sweater pillows; definitely doing that soon!
    Susan @SugarBeans.org

  3. I can't get over how cute this is! I'm definitely going to have to try repurposing sweaters! Super creative idea! Love your blog, friend!

  4. So fantastic Mary! I love these! I'm (hopefully) going to attempt the boot cuffs today. You know I'll let you know how that goes ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Yeah Mary!!
    I have been wanting to attempt the boot socks! Yours turned out perfect! I ADORE the wood buttons. What a sweetie of a husband!

    That headband is adorable! Your model is pretty sweet too!

    And since I am no longer afraid of my sewing machine, I have been on a pillow cover kick! Can't wait to attempt the sweater versions!

    You are so talented Miss Mary (and Co.)!!!!

  6. I love these ideas. I Love how you used all parts of the sweater. Those buttons are amazing. And yes, I've messed up and dried a favorite wool sweater (or 2!) and am still sad about it to this day!

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