Monday, December 13, 2010

From three felted sweaters to one fabulous skirt

On Saturday I finally had time to fix a skirt I botched in the fall, and it's so cool I thought somebody else might want to know how to make one. Sorry this isn't a real step-by-step pictorial, but it's such a dead easy project you probably don't need one anyway.

This is one of those lucky find kinds of projects. You need at least three merino wool sweaters because they tend to be thin and felt softly - ask me how I know a sweater that felts to the thickness of board won't work - of which one has to have a torso that felts to exactly your hip size.


One merino sweater with a torso that felts to your hip measurement and a ribbed cuff around the waist

At least two merino sweaters with a folded or flat (as in, not ribbed or gathered) hem, buttons and pockets a bonus


First, you will cut the flat-hemmed sweaters off at the armpits, thereby freeing yourself to use the flat hem as the hem of the skirt.

Next, you will cut both bodies at one side, at least, to make a long strip of fabric. One of my two was a button-up vest with pockets, and I wanted to save one of those front pieces for a different skirt later, so I cut it in three pieces leaving the back of the vest intact and separating the button band for use elsewhere.

Now you want to stitch these sweater bodies together into one long strip, which when complete you will sew into a tube (leaving the upper part, where the armpits were, free to stitch onto your waistband later.) Because I had had to cut my vest, I cut the other sweater into two pieces so that I could have a grey-black-grey-black repeat. That sort of decision is entirely up to you; just make sure you get the hems lined up as perfectly as possible.

At this point you will address moth holes. My grey vest had several, but thanks to clever use of the button band, they became design features. (That's part of the button band over there on the right; the buttonholes are more obvious in person.)

I stitched my fakery over panels where possible, which is why I waited until I had a tube, but you may prefer to do this job before you join the strip.

Now you are ready to make your waistband. Cut the cuffed sweater across, just below the armpits, and turn it such that the cuff is now the waistband, and the torso the hip. Start pinning the hemmed tube to the hip section with eventual wear in mind, pleating the fabric to fit.

For my skirt, I wanted the pocket at the front of my right leg, as shown above. I also wanted pleats primarily on my left hip, so in addition to the one at the back part of my right hip for balance, I put deep ones there with two falling at the front and two at the back. Each set faces the other to make a flat patch at their centre.

Run one row of stitching close to the edge with the right sides of your hip and hem sections facing, then open it up and topstitch the seam along its hip side.

And - you're done! And I dare you to take if off again once it's on.


be said...

this is soo adorable!

Geneva said...

really nice. Looks hard though for my meager sewing ability. Great blog!

Carol said...

Thanks! Now I'm inspired to do something with all the second-hand sweaters I've been picking up for felting.