The Art of Upcycling Knit Fabrics

Posted by Wicked Fabrics - Vivi Richards on 31st Jan 2024

The Art of Upcycling Knit Fabrics

Welcome to my in-depth look at upcycling knit fabrics. If you're passionate about both sewing and sustainability, you've come to the right place. Today, we'll look at how to turn those comfy, cosy knits in your wardrobe into fabulous, fresh fashion pieces. So, settle in with your favourite beverage and let's get started!

Why Knit Fabrics?

Knit fabrics are the textile industry's darlings, as they are versatile, forgiving, and incredibly comfortable. They can be made into a variety of styles, including form-fitting tops and flowing dresses. Knits, on the other hand, present a unique challenge in terms of upcycling due to their flexibility and structure. However, with the right techniques and project ideas, these challenges can be transformed into creative opportunities.

The Benefits of Upcycling

Before we jump into the how-to, let's chat about why upcycling is the bee's knees:

  1. Environmental Impact: Upcycling helps reduce waste by giving new life to pre-loved fabrics. In an age where fast fashion dominates, choosing to upcycle is a stand against the tide of disposable clothing.
  2. Cost-Effective: Breathe new life into what you already have instead of splashing cash on new materials.
  3. Unleash Creativity: Upcycling is like a playground for your creativity. Each project is a chance to experiment and innovate.
  4. Personalisation: When you upcycle, you create one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect your unique style.

Choosing Your Project

Consider the fabric's weight, stretch, and texture when deciding on a project. Lightweight knits are perfect for accessories like scarves, while heavier knits can be transformed into cosy cardigans or chic skirts.

Prepping Your Fabric

Here's a critical step: prepare your knit fabric. If the garment is still new, wash and dry it to avoid any unexpected shrinkage before you begin your project. Lay the fabric flat and smooth out any wrinkles or twists. This step ensures that your cuts are accurate and that your finished product looks great.

Cutting and Sewing Tips

  • Cutting: Use a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and a ruler for precision. If you're using scissors, make sure they're sharp!
  • Sewing: Opt for a ballpoint needle and stretch stitch to maintain the integrity of the fabric. If you're using a overlocker, even better – it'll give you clean, professional edges.
  • Stabilising: Use stabilisers for areas that need extra support, like necklines or hems.

10 Upcycling Ideas!

  1. Infinity Scarf: Transform an old knit sweater or jersey into a chic infinity scarf. It's simple, stylish, and perfect for cooler weather.
  2. Leg Warmers: Cut the sleeves off a chunky knit sweater and hem the edges to create trendy leg warmers.
  3. Knit Tote Bag: Use larger knit fabric pieces to create a soft, stretchy tote bag. Reinforce the handles with extra fabric layers or stabliser for durability.
  4. Beanie Hats: Old knit jumpers or cardigans can be repurposed into cosy beanies. You can even add a pompom on top for extra flair.
  5. Knit Coasters: Small scraps of knit fabric can be transformed into absorbent, decorative coasters for your home.
  6. Cup Cosies: Use a pair-less sock (yes, the one that has lost his mate) to create a cup cosie.
  7. Baby Blanket: Sew together different pieces of soft knit fabric to make a comfy baby blanket, perfect for a snug cuddle.
  8. Throw Pillows: Create cosy throw pillows by stuffing old knit shirts or sweaters, adding a warm touch to your living space.
  9. Knit Fabric Necklace: Braid long strips of knit fabric to create a statement necklace. Mix colours or textures for a bold look. A great project to do with kids!
  10. Yarn for Knitting/Crocheting: Unravel old knitwear and roll it into yarn balls for a new knitting or crocheting project, giving the material a completely new life.

Each of these projects is a fantastic way to give old knit fabrics a second chance, turning them into something both beautiful and useful.

Finishing Touches

Invest time in the finishing touches. A twin needle can give your hems a professional look, and pressing your seams will elevate the overall appearance of your garment.

Upcycling knit fabrics is not only a fantastic way to be kinder to our planet, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to unleash your creativity and make something truly unique. I can't wait to see what you come up with! Share your upcycled creations with us (and project ideas) and inspire others to start their sustainable sewing journey.


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