Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sweater Refashion: A Hole New Look

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday! I was in Texas last week visiting my family. I missed DC's big snow (boo) but experienced the biggest snow"storm" that I've seen in Texas, which was fun. My nephews thought it was a blizzard. It was nice to see family, but I am very happy to be home!!!!


Worn Through Elbow I bought this sweater last year when I was gathering materials for sweater refashioning. I debated about it because it is an XS, so there was not enough fabric there to cut down into anything else. However, it was so nice I couldn't leave it there and just wore it as is. It is a really soft lambswool, and the sleeve and sides are straight rather than having a dated cuffed look at the bottom.

It wasn't until the second time I'd worn it that I got home from work and realized one of the elbows was worn through! I am guessing that's why the previous owner donated it to the thrift store, because it was a well cared for sweater. On the one hand, I thought it was kind of rude to donate a holey sweater to the thrift store. On the other hand, I was so I glad I happened to be the one who picked it up! Because there is no need to throw away a sweater that is otherwise in good shape just because of one little hole and now the sweater has a new life.

Gray Sweater Recon Tutorial

The first step was to cut off both sleeves at the hole. The other side wasn't worn all the way through, but it was definitely thinner at the elbow.

Next, I went in my stash and found some gray wool jersey (Nikki so kindly gave it to me ages ago and it has come in handy many times!). I cut out rectangles for the sleeve puffs, each at 22 inches by 12 inches. Then stitch the short edges together. If you don't have wool jersey, you can use cotton or rayon.

I put strips of tulle inside the sleeve puffs before folding them in half to keep them poofy. For additional poofiness I also followed the technique in BWOF's balloon skirt dress 10-2008-117 of twisting the balloon when folding it in half, so that the side seam is offset rather than matched up.

Next you put in your double row of gathering thread, pin the gathered puffs to the sleeve edge, and stitch in place.

Flower and Ruffle DetailThis was all well and good, but because my sleeve puffs were a lighter gray than the rest of the sweater I needed to bring the jersey in another way so it didn't look like a non-sequitor. Also, the fancy sleeves needed a little added fanciness. I have been enjoying the crazy feminine ruffles that Ruffles and Stuff and My Mama Made It are into lately, so I decided to go with that. I can't find the exact tutorial I used, but here is one for a rose made of strips of jersey fabric. My fabric strips are one inch wide, and rather than machine stitching I hand-stitched (I thought I could do it on a long car ride at Thanksgiving, but it made me carsick). I didn't gather the ruffles, but made them "ruffley" by twisting and looping them.

Eighties or Aughties?I finished it off with a layer of gathered tulle on top of the rose to emphasize it, and a few sew on jewels I had purchased in Hong Kong. Despite my best efforts that the jewels be random, they are in fact quite evenly distributed. *sigh* I am completely incapable of asymmetry.

After I'd sewn on the jewels, I wasn't sure if I loved them. I can't tell if they are Eighties or Aughties. The 80s sweater is from Leslie Hall's Gallery of Glamore gem sweaters project; it is awesome and if you've never seen it you must go check it out. The current embellished top is from J. Crew.

Refashioned Sweater Back

All photos of this project are here.


I love sweater refashion, as you may be able to tell, so I check out the web for project ideas. Here are the most recent ones I've found.

This is such a clever way to get a drapey front cardigan. The result is almost like an overdress and would be great to winterize a sleeveless LBD.

I like this cardigan idea with the inset fabric at the waist.

There are tons of refashion ideas on the Craft blog (although not limited to clothing). There are *hours* of entertainment to be found at the Wardrobe Refashion blog, which is mostly clothes and a fair number of sweaters (although unfortunately the posters don't generally use tags so you have to wade through some introductory and other miscellaneous non-project posts).

PatternReview just announced a quick challenge for the first two weeks of January and it's...refashion! I have another sweater project in the hopper, so I just have to wait a few more days to start!


KID, MD said...

Awesome save!! The sleeves are super fun. It looks FABULOUS with that skirt.

amber said...

How cute is that?! Adore!

elise said...

You look adorable. I love the whole outfit. Thank you for posting the how to I've wanted to do something similar and changed my mind now to do this instead. Like my kids used to say, "I want one too"!

okie2thfairy said...

I wish I could think of refashioning the way you do- totally out of the box! It looks so cute.

Birgitte said...

That is so kool! The whole outfit is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I love it! The sleeves are so original. Great save! I need to file this one. Happy New Year.

ELMO said...

Great job! My efforts at embellishing are never quite as successful, you really do need an eye, which I lack. I may tackle my sweater redo, in the new year.

Vicki said...

Nice work. I have a nice coral sweater (or jumper as we call them) that has a couple of moth holes. I have been reluctant to throw it out, so maybe I need to look at the challenge :)

tcarole said...

I love it. And I love the shout out to my girl Leslie and her sweater gallery. She's an absolutely brilliant performer.

If you want to give yourself a good laugh/smile, search for "Craft Talk" on Youtube and watch her video for the song. I can watch that over and over again. :-)

Barbara at Cat Fur Studio said...

So awesomely cute! Love how you not only re-fashioned the sleeves, but integrated that fabric into the sweater as a whole, and the embellishment makes it really sing.

Faye Lewis said...

Oh wow! A great look.

Trudy Callan said...

Love the refashion.

mochimo said...

It's lovely!
I'm currently refashioning 2 old sweatshirts I've kept unused in my drawers for ages, but all I did was trying to squeeze smaller ones out of big ones :-( I really like how you changed the whole look of the sweater.

Lisette M said...

Love it!

Michelle said...

What a fantastic idea! I have two cashmere sweaters that have holes in the elbows that I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of. Now I am going to refashion them instead!