DIY Hooded Scarf from an Old Sweater

Making a cosy scarf with hood attached couldn’t be simpler. With a little bit of clever upcycling, any old sweater, cardigan or sweatshirt can be made into a hooded scarf that will be the envy of all your friends.

The practical fastening loop keeps it secure in any weather.

How to make a scarf with hood

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I made this hooded scarf for Emma many years ago, when she was just a wee babe. That was almost 10 years ago!

Hidden in the depths of my archives this post was almost forgotten so I thought was time high time I revisited and re-shared this project with updated photos and clearer instructions.

How did I get the idea to make a Hooded Scarf from an Old Sweater?

It had been a very cold Melbourne winter and being a very active toddler, it was quite hard to keep a hat or scarf on Emma without it going astray.

I’d found a lambswool jumper (sweater) at an Op-shop (thrift store) that had accidentally been washed in hot water, causing it to felt. I was using a lot of felted wool sweaters for toy making at the time, so this one ended up in my stash for an upcoming sewing projects.

Emma had been super obsessed with scarves. I thought I’d refashion this little unwanted sweater and make use of its hood, to make a cosy little hooded scarf that kept her head and neck warm at the same time. 

How to make a hooded scarf

To keep it in place a little keyhole in once of the sleeves holds the scarf securely without knots.

This would look cute on a boy or girl. I tied Pom Poms onto the slits to make Emma’s scarf even prettier.

The beauty of this style is that it keeps her neck warm and you can just flip the hood back if it’s not required.

How to make a scarf with hood

It’s a pretty simple project which only requires basic sewing skills and can be made in any size. Kids, Teens and Adults would all find this hooded scarf practical and comfortable to wear.

Doesn’t Emma look so adorable in her little hood (she was just 2yo at the time – so cute!)

How to make a scarf with hood

How to make a Hooded Scarf from an Old Sweater

This upcycling project is perfect for woolen jumpers (sweaters) that were accidentally shrunk in the wash, and are too felted to wear.

If your jumper isn’t felted already, just run it through a warm wash cycle to mat the wool fibers together, and stop the knit from unraveling.

Felted or un-felted, these instructions will work with any sized sweater in any fiber.

A hoodie style sweater works best, because the hood is ready made and all the hard work is done for you. If you cant get hold of a sweater with a hood, I’ve include instructions for making a hood from scratch too.

A note on Hooded scarf sizing

To make a smaller toddler/kids sized hooded scarf, use a child or small ladies sized sweater.

For adult sized scarf with hood, use an adult ladies or mens sized sweater.

You will need:

  • Old Sweater with hood (read on for instructions for using a sweater without a hood)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • General Sewing supplies – pins, measuring tape etc…
  • Pom pom maker and yarn (optional)

How to:

Cutting

1. Cut off hood at base of neckline and the sleeves where they join the body. See picture below for guidance.

how to make a hooded scarf cutting instructions

2. Lay out your 3 pieces (2 sleeves and hood) and cut a slit in the top edge of the sleeves about the size of the hood as indicated.

how to make a hooded scarf cutting instructions

Sewing

Note: Use a narrow zig zag stitch setting on your sewing machine. Zig zag stitches are flexible and allow for fabric stretching.

3. With right (outside) sides facing together, sew seam 1, this will sew the top ends of the sleeves together.

how to make a hooded scarf sewinginstructions

how to make a scarf with hood sewinginstructions
4. To attach hood. With right (outside) sides facing together sew seam 2.

how to make a scarf with hood sewinginstructions
5. Lastly enclose all your seams by hand stitching the opening closed.

Adding a keyhole loop to your scarf

A keyhole (slit) helps keep the scarf in place around your neck without the need for a knot.

6. Mark 2 parallel lines where you wish your holes to go on the scarf. As a guide the lines should be around 5-7cm (2-3″) long and 3cm (1″) apart.

making a scarf from an old jumper
7. With small zig zag stitches sew around where you will cut your two slits. Sew through all layers.

how to make a hooded scarf cutting instructions

8. Carefully cut 2 slits in the center of the stitching.

how to make a hooded scarf cutting instructions

All done! To secure the scarf, just slide one sleeve thought he keyhole to fasten and tie on some pom poms if you want to make it even cuter!

How to make a hooded scarf from an old sweater

How to make your own hood

If your sweater doesn’t have a hood, you can cut and sew your own from the body of the sweater.

Make a rough pattern by working out the height from neck to crown of head, and the depth by measuring from your cheek to back of head. Or alternatively, trace the pattern from an existing hoodie.

Trace hood pattern onto the sweater body, use the bottom edge of the sweater as the hood opening.

Cut (blue line) and sew the top curved seam (dotted line). Continue with the scarf from step 2.

how to make a hood cut from an old sweater

Below are some measurements to use as a guide for cutting out a toddler/child sized hood.

child size hoode scarf measurements

I hope you found this easy upcycling project useful.

You may enjoy these other clothing refashion projects:

How to make a scarf with hood

This post was originally published in July 2011 – Updated Sept 2020

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