Monday, December 8, 2008
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.