Monday, December 8, 2008

Sweater to Skirt






So when I had my sweater buying orgy at the thrift store last month my main criteria were (1) 100% wool and (2) not ugly. I didn't stick to them entirely, but this sweater fit both the requirements. The quality of the wool was high and I loved the subtle tweed print. When I got home it went into a hot washer and the dryer to felt. When it came out it had shrunk by about 1/3 and was a nice thick fabric. The Second Time Cool book referenced in this post had recommended turning a sweater into a skirt by turning it upside down and using the lower ribbing as the waist. I liked the look of the lower ribbing way too much to hide it at the waist so I used it as the hem.

The skirt was so easy that I didn't think to take any pictures in process. I cut off the sleeves and neckline and then cut across the shoulders under the neckline so it was straight. Most of the side seams are just the original, and at the armscye slit I shaped the seams to fit my hips, as seen here. I further shaped the waist by making darts in the back, as seen at left. Because the felted wool is so thick you absolutely must cut them open and press them down. Luckily, felted wool will not ravel so there's no danger of your skirt falling apart.

I had to do something to stabilize the waist so I found a coordinating fabric in my stash, cut a strip 5 inches wide, folded in half wrong side together, and serged it on to the waist. I pressed the seam as flat as I could upward, then folded the strip down over the seam allowance and hand-stitched in place. The thick felted wool doesn't show the stitching so it was really easy. The waist is way more bulky than I would like but I'm not sure what a better solution is (except to use the ribbing, which doesn't felt the way the rest of it does). I could use a wide jersey waistband, but that would just transfer the sweater bulk line to my hip, which wouldn't do me any good either. I hand-stitched the zipper in, butting the raw edges of the former armscye seam together. Again, no need to finish felted wool! It would have been too bulky to turn the edges under.

And voila! This was an incredibly easy project that could be done by someone without a sewing machine and the skirt is both warm and cute. My cost was probably around $5 for the sweater and the zipper.

19 comments:

Meghan said...

What a fantastic idea--and a completely cute and wearable finished product. I would love to try this as well. I'll be keeping an eye out for oversized wool sweaters. thanks!

Elaray said...

Amazing transformation! The skirt looks great!

Lindsay T said...

Quelle clever girl you are. I see a book deal about refashioning clothes in your future...

Isabelle said...

This skirt is adorable! The before and after pics are so fun - what a a difference in style.

Carol said...

I love this idea! The skirt looks fantastic and I never would have thought to do this. I'm going to view things in the op shop with a different eye now!

Sherril said...

Your skirt looks nothing like the sweater. What a great find. Now you've given me ideas.

Vicki said...

Very clever and a very cute skirt on you.

-E said...

I am totally copying this ;)

Claire S. said...

What an awesome idea! I love that skirt !

Little Hunting Creek said...

I love the skirt - what a genius idea

Sue said...

Looks great - I will need to keep this in mind for next winter.

Dana said...

Great idea to felt the wool! This is a recycling project that I might actually try!

Elbee said...

Oh so crafty! Love this idea.

Gorgeous Things said...

What a fantastic skirt! I really love the before/after pictures.

Alexandra said...

I love it! What a great idea, and the finished skirt looks cool!

Lisette M said...

How creative of you, it looks fantastic.

Katharine said...

Congratulations--from blah to bang!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous and Flattering on you!! How creative!! What a great source of quality fabric at a low cost! My Aunt felts; I am going to send her a pointer to your site! Linda

Betty said...

I am loving your sweater projects! Especially since I seem to have such a hard time finding wearable sweaters. I will have to remember to check the sweater racks next time I'm in the thrift shop.