Upcycled Sweater Easter Gift Bags

2 gift bags made from old sweater sleeves with rabbit crochet embellishments, surrounded by mini eggs

Upcycle the sleeves of an old sweater and add a little crochet motif to make them into sweet gift bags.

Today I’m bringing you a simple upcycle that uses the sleeves of an old jumper or sweater to make Easter gift bags as part of the Sustainable Craft Challenge. The Sustainable Craft Challenge is a monthly get together of creative bloggers who share a craft project, idea or tutorial which has a sustainable and eco friendly twist. It might be an upcycle like this one, a “use what you have” stash buster or it might showcase a sustainable or recycled craft material. It all about finding ways to make our crafting more planet friendly, less wasteful and more sustainable.

the sustainable craft challenge logo

Each month we have a theme for the challenge and this month it’s SOFT so making these soft gift bags from a old soft jumper and decorating them with crochet bunnies made in soft pastel colours from a super soft yarn with their soft mini pom pom tails should fit the brief nicely!

This is yet another craft idea that shows up the US/UK language divide that plagues me so often! (lolly/popsicle, serviette/napkin, cushion/pillow, overlocker/serger etc) I would call this garment a jumper but I am familiar with the word sweater too. I’m going to try to remember to say sweater throughout but if I slip up and mention a jumper you’ll all know what I mean!

This old sweater is one I picked up from a charity shop for another project that uses the main part, the front and back, but doesn’t require the sleeves. Incidentally that project has run into difficulties, it’s currently on the naughty step (a bag at the bottom of the wardrobe) whilst I try to figure out how to make it work. In the meantime however the sleeves have come in just right for this upcycled gift bag tutorial.

It was obviously owned by an elderly person in a care home previously as it had a name tape sewn in. Things like this make me pause for just a moment and feel a little sad/happy. Sad that Ida is clearly no longer with us and her clothes have ended up in the charity shop and happy that I am going to do something with this jumper, give it a new purpose, and I hope Ida would approve.

Supplies needed to make upcycled sweater gift bags

  • Sleeves from an old sweater

  • Scraps of yarn - I used pink, yellow and white (not photographed)

  • A crochet hook - I used a 3.5mm

  • A needle

  • A sewing machine - optional, you can sew these bags by hand

How to make the soft upcycled sweater gift bags

Start by turning the sleeve inside out and cutting it straight across about 20cm (8”) from the cuff.

Sew across the cut edge. I used my sewing machine but you could do this by hand with a matching yarn. I stitched a straight seam leaving a generous seam allowance and then stitched a zig zag along the cut edge of the knitting too to stop it unravelling. If you have a serger/overlocker you could use that to neaten the edge.

The nice thing about upcycling an old sweater is that it has been washed many times before and so isn’t quick to unravel. This one is cotton so it hasn’t felted at all like a wool sweater might have but it is still pretty stable for a knit.

Decorating the gift bag

Next prepare a crochet motif to decorate your bag.

This is a lovely way to use up small lengths of leftover yarn.

I crocheted 2 little bunny motifs from a simple pattern from Sew Historically


Lina from Sew Historically has written the pattern in US terms. I did tweak it just a little and worked the circle body for my bunnies in trebles instead of half trebles. (In the UK terms they are double trebles) I just found my bunny bodies were a little on the small size otherwise. They take a few seconds to make each one so maybe just try both ways and see which you prefer.

Leave a long end of yarn so you can use it to sew the motif centrally on to the bag.

A simple running stitch around the edge is all it needs.

a crocheted bunny motif with a pom pom tail

Next make a tiny pom pom from a little bit of white yarn. I share how to make a tiny pom pom using a fork here. Sew the pom pom in place as a tail.

To finish the gift bag take a length of yarn and sew a line around the top of the bag, about an inch or so from the top using a large running stitch. Exactly where you position this drawstring will depend on the cuff of your sweater sleeve of course, I was lucky that mine had this nice border pattern.

A bead threaded on the yarn makes it easy to close the drawstring. Tie the ends of the yarn together with a large knot to stop the bead falling off the end.

If you don’t crochet you could use a shop bought patch to decorate your bag, or maybe sew or glue on a fabric flower. One of these scrap fabric flowers might work nicely. Or you could leave the bag plain, if the sweater you upcycle is patterned extra embellishment might be unnecessary.

easter gift bags made from the sleeves of an old white sweater with crochet bunny embellishments

With this crocheted bunny motif these bags are ready to be filled with Easter treats. A different motif would make this idea work for any time of the year.


Now check out at the other “soft” ideas shared in the Sustainable Craft Challenge this month.

A collage of 10 craft ideas that are all soft themed

Upcycled Sweater Easter Gift Bags - that’s this project

Purple Hues and Me | Loopy Yarn Lamb Treat Jar

Christine’s Crafts | DIY Hair Towel Wrap

Mimi - A Great Name for Grandma | DIY Sock Bunnies

Stone Cottage Adventures | DIY Cozy Weighted Warmer

Southern Sunflowers | No Sew Drop Cloth Bunny Pillow

Sew Crafty Crochet | Crochet Tabby Cat

Treasures Made from Yarn | Stash Buster Blanket

Decor Craft Design | Upcycled Bottle Vases With Soft Spring Colors

Life as a LEO Wife | Spring Chunky Yarn Wreath