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Sweater MakeOver Sewing Project


start recycle project with

The Way I Do It…….. 

OK, this doesn’t mean it is the ONLY way – but after YEARS of creative sewing, designing, observing and teaching . . . I’m convinced that the process I share below is the best way (at least for me) to sew, be the ‘boss’ and have to have FUN while I do!

 Do Not try to  make ALL decisions about a garment before starting.  DIVE IN!

For the type of garments I love to create, I KNOW this is true and find this the method that ‘works’ as I teach gals to ‘let go’ and HAVE FUN!  Once my students ‘get the picture’ and allow themselves to GET STARTED, they are off and running…..

Here’s the CLUE:  You have to make ONE DECISION at a time – perhaps with the next one ‘in mind’, but you MUST make and commit to ONE thing and DO it – that means CUT and SEW it! Remember…Un-Sewing is ALWAYS possible.

Join along in this process with me as I transform 2 sweaters and a man’s necktie …..

Step 1

To start out – I just knew the neckline on the burgundy sweater was too high – never wore it because of that.  So I marked the depth desired and proceeded as below.  I’m using my absolute FAVORITE marker  the Chakoner.  This is the most popular notion I sell on my website – so if you don’t have one, you might want to check it out HERE and order yours today!


mark lower neckline

Step 2

I knew I wanted this neckline bound – so I went ahead and did the entire front and back necklines, knowing if – by chance – I ended up only using the front, I could always ‘cut’ it at the shoulders to add in the jacket portion. See steps below.


bind neckline

Step 3

Now…How should I make use of the striped sweater?  I knew the pieces would be used separately, so I just carefully cut right in each seam to separate the parts. I also cut the sleeves off, and opened them up flat by cutting the lower sleeve seam. The Front was cut separate from the Back at shoulder and side seams. Neckline Ribbing:  I ALWAYS CUT THEM OFF WITH a seam allowance – Just in case I might need it!  At this point, I had absolutely NO IDEA if I would be using this or not, but ya never know – so I cut it off as below and PUT IT IN A PLACE OF IMPORTANCE – NOT with the ‘scraps’!


leave seam allowance on ribbings

Step 4

Now comes the REALLY fun part – DESIGNING.


new fronts from sweater front and back

The lower ribbing of the Front and Back of the striped sweater pulled up, curved as I played with them as new ‘jacket’ fronts.  Upon closer inspection, there was a double row of elastic thread in that edge of the ribbing.  I cut that elastic out of one side, but was disappointed because it left the edge ‘frayed’ and delicate-looking.  However, having done one side, I obviously had to do the same to the other side, so I did.   Experimentation on one of the cuff ribbings I’d cut from the sleeves showed me that I could zigzag that edge, then steam it to control the waviness from stitching.  See the Image below.  ‘Challenge’ Solved! Do NOT let yourself get ‘stumped’!  Perhaps take a break – go get something to eat/drink, take a short walk – or some days I even take a shower, then come back fresh.


mastering edging proble

Step 5

Implement & Construct

At that point, I knew I needed to have shoulder seams and armholes and side seams to these new ‘Front’ Pieces – whether it became a separate jacket, or the outermost ‘Fronts’ of a 1 piece garment…so It made sense to lay my Knit Top master pattern onto these pieces.  I find this all easiest to visualize on a dress form of some type.  The one shown is not ‘my size’, but it works.  The right Front was pinned at the shoulder, then the pattern attached to the same place with a pin.  Flat at the cutting table, it was easy to cut the shoulder, armhole, and the side seam – which I cut a