DIY Recycled Sweater Pants

What a cute project to make an old winter sweater into cozy toddler pants. When gina from The Daily B sent it over, I begged her to share it with us, and she agreed. Make sure to check out her site The Daily B for more great projects and inspiration. Take it away Gina…

I’m sure you have a few sweaters in your closet that are destined for the donation pile. Did you know you can turn them into pants for your little one? This is one of my favorite projects. It’s free, and it only takes about 30 minutes to complete. I thought I’d provide a full-fledged tutorial so you can try it at home. Of course, I’m all about winging it, and don’t bother with sewing patterns and pinning, so not every pair of pants I make is perfect (in fact, none of them are). But if you’re willing to accept my tutorial and all its flaws, let’s get started!
Get the full Recycled Sweater Pants Tutorial after the jump…

Leave a comment for Ms. Gina, because she was kind enough to share, and also because this week’s favorite comment wins that skulleriffic fat quarter!

DIY Recycled Sweater Pants by The Daily B

1) Grab an adult sweater that you don’t wear anymore. I personally like natural fibers like lambswool and cashmere, because they wick moisture and can double as diaper covers (if you do the cloth diaper thing, like we do). But any kind will do…fleece, cotton, or synthetic knits are all fine. 

Lop off the sleeves like this:

2) Next, lay the sleeves out seam-to-seam and make sure the lengths are even:

3) Now, you’ll want to cut along the inner seams about 7 or 8 inches. This will be the rise of the pants, so consider how big your baby is, or measure a pair of pants that he’s currently wearing. The rise will need to be longer if you cloth diaper to account for the extra bulk.

4) Next draw the sleeves close together and you’ll see where the seam should be:

Sew along the seam back-to-front (it may help to turn the sleeves inside out and then sew).

Note: I don’t bother with finding matching thread. But if you’re particular about that, you’ll want to match the thread to the dominant sweater color. If you have a serger, you may prefer using that too. I just sew a tight, straight stitch on my oh-so-basic sewing machine. Be sure to back-stitch at the ends to prevent unraveling.

5) Once you have the pant legs sewn together, fold over the waistband about an inch and sew that down, leaving a small opening at the end:

6) Next, grab some elastic (half inch or larger works well). Attach a safety pin to one end and thread the elastic into the waistband like so:

7) Once threaded, pull the elastic tight. I usually just eyeball it, but you could measure your kid’s waist and tailor the elastic to fit. (Or, if you want them to be adjustable, use a ribbon, shoelace, or piece of yarn as a drawstring instead of elastic.)

Once it looks tight enough, sew the elastic in place and trim the ends. Turn the pants right side out, and you’re done!

Here’s a shot of some old sweater pants I made for B. They held up well to rugged wear and tear. ūüôā

If you’re not crafty and still want sweater pants for your kids, there are some mamas out there who make and sell them. One of my favorite sources is

As for what to do with the rest of the sweater? If it’s wool, you could felt it and make a little stuffed toy or piece together a patchwork quilt with the scraps. Maybe sew a cozy hat or slippers? Get inspired at Gina’s site: The Daily B. Thanks Gina!




I had just set aside several sweaters for this very purpose but couldn't find a pattern I liked – I have now found one – thanks so much for sharing!


Awesome! I can appreciate a "non-pattern" since I also tend to rebel against patterns and pinning (and sometimes measuring). I'm heading downstairs now to raid my Goodwill bag full of sweaters…thanks!!


I've made a ton of "baby butt sweaters" for cloth diapering this way. This last winter I upped the anty and did a full pair of wool pants for my 2 yr old- she was the only one of my kiddos who would play outside without complaining – even when they were wearing snow pants she was the warm & toasty one. I think I'll try some non-wool ones now too.


Brilliant! We do a lot of classes where she is crawling around and can't wear socks so this is perfect…they will be cozy and warm (like tights!) but without the feet! Thank you!!!


Fantastic. Now if I can just figure out how to wind the bobbin for my very vintage Singer sewing machine! Precious photos too!


It looks too easy! Is it a good idea to trace a shape for the cut from a pair of existing pants? Of knit is forgiving enough for the straight cut?


These are awesome!
I don't even have kids, but I kind of want to make some of these and find a toddler in the neighborhood to wear them and look rugged!


GREAT tutorial! I just made a pair out of an old long sleeve top of mine – and then I used the body of the shirt to make a sleevless toddler dress! If I could attach a pic here I would – turned out cute – great play clothes.


These were a favorite for me, but my boy won't wear them ANYMORE . . . even the cashmere ones I made from ratty thrift store scores. Fool! I dislike that they grow-up and get their own opinions.

Sanja Dumo

I love these but all your projects using old sweaters and such are dangerous! I am about to run to my closet and cut up all my own clothes to make cute new garb for my baby girl.

Jacob Mani

Hello, Great post. There exists a problem with your websites in ie, would test this… IE ‘s still the market leader and a large part of people will miss your terrific writing due to this problem.


Brilliant! I love this especially since my dog chewed a hole in the collar od one my husbands sweaters and I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away! Thank-you for posting this!


I am really loving the theme/design of your blog.
Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues?
A number of my blog readers have complained about my site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.
Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

luxe vakantiehuisje frankrijk

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in
it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but
instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read.

I will certainly be back.

mary s.

Oh my word! Thanks for sharing Gina! I couldnt get rid of a maternity sweater (last baby blues?) now I know exactly what to do with it…love, love, love! Xo

Jenny Vater

I just got a hit from your site because I see I am on your list of “track backs” Thank you! I love this pattern, it is so easy and want to make pants out of all the cool sweaters I see! The knit pants I did as a test run seem really comfy and wish I could made a pair for me. I love your website!

Kristine Teets

Thanks so much! I can’t wait until fall for my little one to wear them. For the rest of the sweater, maybe a pair of mittens and hat to match?

Awesome DIY Winter Hacks

[…] Recycled Sweater Pants: What a cute project to make an old winter sweater into cozy toddler pants. When Gina from The Daily B sent it over, I begged her to share it with us, and she agreed. Make sure to check out her site (via Pretty Prudent) […]


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