How To Upcycle Damaged Cashmere Sweaters Into A Scarf

Sew Much 2 Wear
by Sew Much 2 Wear
3 Materials
2 Hours

The thing that breaks my heart most in thrift stores is finding beautiful luxurious cashmere sweaters, only to discover there's gapping holes in them.

Recently, I came across two that were marked down to 50% off as the color of the week in Goodwill because no one wanted them. It $2 a pop, I decided it was the perfect time to take a chance and see if I could rescue them.

The result was a beautiful (and WARM!) new scarf, plus I learned some crazy things about the cashmere industry!

I'll take you on this ride with me, let's start the project!

The two sweaters I found were both pink, and looked pretty nice together. Since they were both extra small, I thought I would combine them into one sweater. You could do this with one sweater as well, your scarf just won't be as long.

Here's the offending holes! Such a bummer.

I started by carefully cutting off the sleeves right along the seam line.

Continue to dissemble the sweaters by cutting up the side seams to separate the front and back.

Now you'll be able to see just how much material you really have to work with.

I lined up my two sleeves to measure differences and determine the width I would be able to get out of the sleeves. I planned to cut rectangle pieces from the sleeves, so I needed to cut off the slanted sides.

Once you have that figured out, use your first rectangle as a pattern for the other sleeve, and continue to cut rectangles out of the sleeve pieces.

I repeated the same process on the front and backs of the sweaters, using my first rectangle as a pattern to continue cutting identical pieces out.

In the end I was able to get 6 rectangles from each sweater. 12 pieces in total.

Your number may be different, which is totally fine! Just work with what you have.

Once I had my pieces cut out I picked two pieces of the same color (from the same sweater) and placed them on top of each other, right sides touching.

Pin along the bottom edge...

Sew along that edge.

Select another piece from that same sweater and pin and attach another rectangle along the bottom hem and sew along that line. This will create one long strip of cashmere rectangles.

Once you have one strip down, repeat the process with the remaining rectangles from the other side. You are working to create two separate LONG cashmere strips.

Once you have two strips, place right sides together and pin along the long sides.

Sew along both sides of the long strip to create one long tube.

Once your tube is created, reach inside the tube and grab the end and pull it all the way through. Essentially you're turning your tube inside out, which will hide the seams you just created.

To finish the whole thing, put one tube end inside the end of the other tube in. Flip the edges under, then sew a straight stitch where the two ends meet. You'll have one long donut, which you can style in many ways!

The special bonus is the two toned sides make this almost reversible! depending on how you style it one side will be more visible then the other, changing the color of your sweater.

NOW for the crazy part! While doing this project I learned that cashmere is actually controversial!

Fast fashion has created serious problems within the industry, leading major brands like Patagonia to change the way they do business. Patagonia has pledged to only use recycled Cashmere now.

Check out my video to see the full explanation.

Needless to say, it super important to recycle any cashmere you find. Please don't let it go to the dump!

Comment down below with ways you have found to recycle cashmere.

If you make your own project please tag me on instagram, I would love to see it! My handle is @Sew_Much2Wear.

Remember, there is Sew Much to Wear, you don't need to buy new to look good!

Suggested materials:
  • Thrifted cashmere sweaters
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors or rotary cutter

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Join the conversation
3 of 64 comments
  • Renee Guill Renee Guill on Oct 21, 2023

    That's a cute idea...but, the holes didn't seem offending to me... maybe, I'm weird.

  • Wendy Gillenson Wendy Gillenson on Jun 19, 2024

    Like this! never thought of it. I have had some holes in cashmere inexpensively fixed but have a favorite sweater with a very noticeable moth hole right in center. Instead of dumping in textile recycling may try this! only problem have not used a sewing machine in many years, don't have one. wonder if can be hand sewn.

    • Mx BERRY Mx BERRY on Jun 20, 2024

      I fixed moth holes in mine by adding some felted 'flat' flowers and butterfly patches friend also makes snowflake shapes from scrap lace and voile and uses those over holes or difficult marks.