Sunday, June 3, 2012

Striped Sweater Refashion

Pinterest really has a lot of awesome stuff, and has provided me with hours upon hours of drooling over food, fashion, home decor, but mostly the DIY tab.  I love it there.  I find so much inspiration of stuff to try (someday).  I try to be realistic and pin projects that I really think I could accomplish. 

I'm particularly fond of refashioning old clothes in to new garments to wear.  So when I stumbled across Merricks Art, I thought I had found my sister from another mister. 

There are a few pieces of my wardrobe I plan on refashioning.  I finally set to work on the first one.  I recieved a hand-me-down cardigan/scarf thingy...I don't really understand them. 

While I felt awkward trying to wear it, the knit was so soft, and I really dug the thick stripes.  It had to be transformed.  I originally thought - skirt - but changed my mind since horizontal stripes should never go around my lower half.  Plus, a knit skirt like that would get stretched out immediately after putting it on - Frump City, no bueno.

I went at this sans pattern, which is a huge challenge for me.  I also wanted this top to be a boatneck.  I had never made anything with a boatneck before, and here I was going at it without a pattern.

I cut the wings off this sweater - I don't know what else to call them.  To prevent the knit from unraveling, I zig-zag stitched the raw edge.

I didn't plan on the zig-zag causing the edges to stretch and ruffle.

I wasn't pleased about this, but I pressed on.  I pinned up the edges, and basted in about 5 inches, so I could gather the sides.

I gathered the basted edges, then sewed the raw edges down, turned it right-side-out, and tried it on.

It felt really flimsy, and I had not gathered enough on the sides - the boatneck was more like 80's off-the-shoulder.  I tried it on my dressform to assess the situation.

Not only was it flimsy, but I really didn't like the black hem stitching that was showing through the grey knit.  I tried it on about 12 more times before deciding it would not do.

I cut off the top grey stripe, and started over with the black stripe on top.  Instead of gathering the shoulders, I pinned some pleats to bring in the fabric, and to reduce the bulk.  To stablize the knit, I sewed bias tape to the right side of the raw edge, then folded it open and that became my seam allowance.

Thinking of the boatneck concept, I wanted to make sure the top would fit over my head, and not look too confining, so I left the back piece with a bit less pleating.  In hindsight, I should have just made the same amount of pleats, because it didn't look right with that extra few inches of fabric going around the back of my neck -- due to the bias tape, it was too rigid to drape or lay flat.

I sewed about 5.5 inches from the outside shoulder to the opening of the neckhole.  I ended up hand-stitching some additional pleats to take in the excess fabric around the back of the neck.

Once I was satisfied with the neck opening, I topstitched both sides, tacking down the bias tape, and giving it a polished look.

I stitched up the sides, and presto!  An awesome new look just in time for summer!

Check me out, trying to be discreet with my fancy new camera remote -- it's hard to take a shot without pointing that thing directly at the camera!


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  1. Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm, I am amazed!! That and you are hilarious! The poses, the way you write! That's my sissay!

  2. Sa-weet :) That's some pretty creative thinking 'outside the scarf' on that thing-y!

  3. Hi Leah, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  4. Your tutorial is in the top 3 most clicked on links from last weeks Make it Monday party on Brassy Apple! congrats!

  5. Thanks everyone! I'm having a hard time with the comment Reply option, so I'm just sending out a big shout of gratitude to everyone!

  6. That is really cute! I love this much better - now it has some shape and definition! I wouldn't know what to do with the other thingie either :o)
    Thanks for linking up!
    Stacey of Embracing Change