This Week I Love …

Use sweater sleeves to create sock toppers


So, as you all know I’m a pretty lousy DIYer. But know what I’m fully capable of doing? Lopping the sleeves off of a done-for, moth-eaten sweater and using those sleeves as fake boot socks!

This trick has been roaming around Pinterest for at least a year, probably longer, so there’s no way I can take credit for it. There are a million tutorials, but here’s one that’s pretty close to my hack-and-wear process. Those of you with actual DIY follow-through might want to consider stitching, knitting, or crocheting the unfinished edge to avoid unraveling. In my experience, so long as you stick the unfinished edge inside the boot and leave the sweater cuff exposed, no one is the wiser and unraveling is barely noticeable. I’ve been using the same pairs for more than a year an hardly a thread is a’danglin’.

What’s the point, you ask? Well, certain pairs of boots cause just about every pair of boot socks to gradually slide down until they’ve settled into an uncomfortable wad at the heel. Certain pairs of boots fit oddly or tightly if a full boot sock is shoved inside. Utilizing a cuff instead of a full sock allows you to fine-tune how much sock is showing above the boot opening. And boot socks can be weirdly expensive, while recycling already-ruined sweaters is satisfyingly FREE.

It’s been so warm this season that I haven’t had much of a chance to don my little collection of fake socks, but I will. Oh friends, once winter truly settles upon the land, I will be fake-socking it up for months.

Have you ever tried this winter styling trick? Would you?

Image via Try it On Me.

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  • I have knitted a pair of boot cuffs for myself, but I haven’t worn them yet because they need to be soaked and blocked (firstly to get all the excess dye out so they don’t discolor my pants and/or skin, and secondly so it’s in the correct shape I want haha). Funnily enough, when I knit them up I was so nervous they would slide down, but when I tried them on they were totally fine 😛 The pattern I used has ribbing on the top and bottom so they don’t slide up and down, so if your cuffs have ribbing it’s a major plus!

  • I´m going to do one of these project right now. I bought a pair of legwarmers, to warm my knees while wearing skirts&boots, but I couldn´t get them past my calfs (all that muscle, haha). I´m using them on my arms instead, but will look at Pinterest for ideas – thank you for the tip!

  • Fun idea, Sal – I will try this when (if) the temps here drop below 70! : >

  • Anamarie

    You just reminded me that I intended to make some of these boot cuffs for Christmas gifts!

  • What is this winter of which you speak? I wear most of my boots over bare legs with little athletic footie socks these days, but I wouldn’t be above trying this if North Carolina ever has winter again.

    • I so get this … it has been 68-78 degrees here for the last week ( I’m in Bumfuzzle, Arkansas.) I’ve had to dig out summer blouses that I’m fed up with. Harumph. I’d like my winter back, please.

  • These are very cute, but I guess I have never gotten the point of the fake boot tops. I mean, intellectually, I understand that they are decorative, I’m not that out of touch, but…why? I guess I just feel like the sock-poking-out-of-boot look is a bit silly rather than decorative – to me, socks are meant to fit under your boots, and poking out means you’re doing it wrong.

    oh god i just realized that this might sound mean and i definitely don’t mean it to!! it’s a cute look on you, Sal, I just don’t really get it.

    • Anneesha

      I had the same initial feeling about this look, but now have learned to embrace because it does a great job of filling the gap if your calves are smaller than the boot circumference (which for me makes me feel like I’m wearing firefighter or seafaring boots, not necessarily fashion boots!)

      I’ve also started wearing legwarmers on the outside of older short boots to tie in the pant leg and boot and make the legging/skinny trend more current. Works best if pant/boot/legwarmer are very similar in color/tone.

      • ah! that makes sense. I have huge calves and have trouble finding boots that will contain them (that I can afford, obviously if I could pay $100 for boots I’d have my pick).

        hmmm. legwarmers. I’ll have to see if I can find where I put mine.

    • kittie

      I like boot toppers – these “fake socks” – if I am also wearing tights, because it keeps the tops of my boots from wearing out my tights where they rub against them. In that sense, they’re practical

      • SKP

        Another practical point for me is warmth. It’s like wearing an extra sweater. Plus they don’t need to be washed as often as socks. But yes I do have some calf space to fill inside my boots.

      • Rachel

        That’s so smart!

  • Francesca

    ahahhaah so funny the discussion, I am in viña del mar almost summer time but on winter im trying so cool, I dont have old sweaters but ill find the way maybe a thrifted in the same color of the boot, hugs

  • Heidi L.

    This is funny because these end up being what amount to the kind of socks worn with tradiational German folk wear(ie lederhosen) by men.It’s basically a band of sock that’s around,roughlly,your calf.


  • Judy

    Love this idea! Sounds like a great use for ugly or wrong size thrift store sweaters too!

    Thanks Sal, you’re a genious!


  • Olivia

    I want to try taking a pair of sweater arms and turning them into socks because I want warm, woolly socks, but they are so stinking expensive. I think you linked to it a while back.

  • Please, heed my warning and listen to Sal before it’s too late for you, just like it was for me. I ruined a pair of lovely suede boots by wearing a thick sock with them. They stretched out and now fit like a bad pair of Wellies. They’ve never been the same, and neither have I.
    All kidding aside, beware thick socks with suede.

  • Rachel

    But here’s what I can’t quite figure out – what do you do when you have to take your boots off, for instance if you go over to someone’s house? Do you take off the fake socks too? Does that not feel a bit odd?