In truth, I’ve had this blue velour since before I was married. Has it been in my stash that long? No, it’s been in my schlump about the house wardrobe in the form of really ghastly lounge pants. I didn’t bother to take a before picture on this one. Basically, the pants were too long (and permanently dirty on the bottom because of it), too wide, with a lowered back and no elastic in the drawstring waist, so they were continually falling off me.
I’m always looking for new ways to make a pair of jeans special. Since my first pair, I’ve been utterly ruined by the process, and I’m sure that I’ve boldly declared Scarlett O’Hara style that I’d never buy plain jeans again. High on my list of must try techniques has been applique.
I’ve sewn cotton on denim, never really liking how the cotton would dominate and the denim disappear in the patch area. I’ve messed around with reverse applique on denim, but I hadn’t found anything that I really liked until I threw a random piece of silk on top of denim and started sewing. The silk blended into the denim, but its sheerness allowed the denim to be unchanged by the applique. I knew I wanted to try this on a larger scale.
Recently, in a perhaps vain attempt to cull my husband’s side of the closet, I came across this old sweater that I’m sure he’s never worn. As a sweater, it’s maybe a little dated and shapeless, but I love the texture of it and it’s really soft and cozy. I set it aside with my fabric with the intention of making it into a sweater dress.
Drop Waist Sweater Dress
The trick is, I needed something that would balance the thick chunkiness of this particular sweater. I found that at one of my usual haunts in the form of a sleeveless turtleneck sweater.
The smoothness of this sweater seemed like it would be a perfect match for my husband’s sweater. I had a polyester light brown sweater knit that would not only work well for the sleeves, but also push this into the clothes that looks like ice cream category.
When it’s cold outside, the sweaters, they just fly into my basket at the thrift store if they happen to be the right color. I run cold and my sewing room is in a chilly basement where my space heater is on (when the iron is not) 365 days of the year. Usually that nebulous “small” “medium” “large” sizing works for me in sweaters. I alter them to fit if they’re too big, but this time I didn’t pay attention and bought a size way too small.
I really must not have been paying attention because belted sweaters really need to have enormous fronts to cross over enough so that that dreaded gappity gap doesn’t happen at center front. Normally, I’d chalk it up to experience and let the $3 go, but I really liked the hood on this sweater. With just a 2 way separating zipper, Steam a Seam, a couple fabric scraps and the existing belt, I changed it into a much more wearable sweater. Have a belted cardigan that gapes at CF? You can fix yours too.
Refashion a belted cardigan into a zippered jacket
I think most who sew would agree that whenever good fabric presents itself in whatever form it might currently be in, it’s hard to turn away.
Such was the case with this funky vintage oblong tablecloth I picked up at the thrift store for $2.50 a couple of weeks ago. As a collector of vintage tablecloths, I’m always looking for new and unusual ones. But something about this one made me want to do something different to it besides just put it on my table. Maybe it was the big bold floral print or the wild colors, or maybe the nice weight and feel of this heavy cotton with a distinctly tablecloth sort of weave.
I’m sure you have a felted sweater tucked away in shame somewhere. A victim of the washer and dryer, you loved that now tiny matted sweater, and you can’t bring yourself to toss it even though it’s too small for even your mythical chihuahua, Popcorn.
Ah, but then the winter settles in and you’re freezing and find yourself in need of warm accessories to fight against the bitter wind, and what do you do?
You pull out that felted sweater and you cut it up into a beret and use the sleeves to make fingerless gloves.
I’m back! I can’t say that I intended to take a full 6 months away from writing here, but it happened. My family and I have been through a lot of changes in that time that’s taken time away from creative ventures. Everyone is okay now and now that I’ve been able to find some time consistently to work and my creativity is returning to me, I should be able to catalog my projects here. How could I not? I have some giraffe print textured stretch twill SCREAMING to become jeans. You all know how much I love making jeans and writing about it. And perhaps blogging will give me the accountability I need to do like fire up the Singer and hem my sweet husband’s jeans.
But for now. A jacket out of an old sweatshirt. Months ago, I picked up this pale green sweatshirt from the thrift store for $3. It’s just the shade of green I like, but it made my skin itch when I put it on and it wasn’t terribly warm…in other words, it was not a useful sweatshirt even though it was a perfect color. I washed it and stashed it away, figuring I’d remake it somehow on one of those days when you find a pattern to match what’s in your head.
I’m sure I start every refashion post saying that I don’t refashion much. The hunt for good candidates can be taxing. If I go with the mindset that I’m treasure hunting, than pouring over racks of old clothes looking for good natural fibers in good condition feels worth it. Especially when new quality, natural fiber sweaters are crazy expensive.
Make a cardigan from an old sweater
On one such trip recently, I was about to pay for my items when I spied a gigantor old 100% cotton sweater. It was just my shade of green and was in excellent condition, so I picked it up. $3 for a sweater knit in my color–yay!.
My oldest’s BFF’s Mom is having a baby in February. It’s been a long wait for them for their #2 and we’re so excited for them. They are dear sweet friends to us and I can’t wait to meet their new tiny one.
But in the midst of waiting, they gave us their sleep sacks when Sam was maybe 6 months. We have used those sleep sacks into the ground. Literally. They’re kind of cruddy and gross as baby things tend to get after going through 2 kids and lots of washes. So in thinking about a gift for the baby, new sleep sacks seemed appropriate.
I used this romper pattern from Ottobre, just squaring off the bottom where the legs would be. A little binding, a zipper, and voila! Fresh sleep sacks for a very loved little person.
I’ve had this pattern hanging around in my stash for 2.5 years. Just sitting out on a shelf, reminding me that a big fat cozy scarf would be nice in my chilly basement. But it was one of those situations where the perfect fabric never came. When I actually looked at the suggested fabrics (wool felt or fleece), I despaired because the wool felt suggested was going to be pricey ($5/fat eighth and requiring 9 fat eighths total). A jacket I will invest in, but $45 +shipping for a scarf?
Then it occurred to me that I could repurpose a sweater.