Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Reduce, reuse, recycle...

Today I have been busy with some jumpers and a cardigan.

The two woollen jumpers had holes, but for what I was doing this doesn't matter too much.  They had been washed in the machine at 50 degrees to shrink and felt them (this sorts out any unraveling from the holes too). 

27.10.10 PS.  I have found out today that not all 100% wool jumpers will shrink!  I have just had one refuse to become fodder for my next creation - maybe because it is a 'Machine Washable' jumper?

Each of them had a feature I wished to use intact in the finished articles.
Stripey jumper had a polo neck...

Cable knit had a couple of pockets...

The cardigan was cotton - knitted by me some years ago (over 20, I've now worked out!)  It had gradually got wider and wider and shorter and shorter, making it pretty much unwearable, but I couldn't part with it (this is a recurring theme with me) as I'd worked so hard on all that cable and lacy knitting! 

I am not (yet) nearly as wide as our dining room table!

Although I knew it would not be as straightforward as the felted jumpers, I really wanted to try and give it a new lease of life.
First I turned the items inside out and cut them apart along the side seams, then cut off the sleeves.  It was going to be important to leave the polo neck and shoulder seams of the stripey jumper intact.

Then I found the patterns I made last year when I did my first batch of these and cut out the pieces.  I like to cut hearts from the skinny bits that are left over - I'm sure I will get round to using them sometime soon!

Because the cotton cardi was 'holey' I decided to line it with some thin fleece fabric (one of those ultra cheap IKEA blankets).  I cut it out with an extra wide seam allowance to allow for a bit of unraveling.  

Before getting out the sewing machine, I did some embroidery and blanket stitched the top edge of the bottom back piece.
Then it was time to sew round the edges with the help of my trusty Singer.  I foolishly started with the cotton cardigan bits - big mistake!  Three broken needles later, I decided that the wool is easier to work with and got on with those instead.  It's not an easy job and there are parts which are too thick to be done with the machine (the bit where the two back pieces overlap), but eventually the woollen pieces were all sewn together.  

All that remained was to blanket stitch round the edge and then make an added embellishment for the pocket.

Here's the back view.  I'll add an oversized button and loop later on (forgot that detail!)

And the front...

Later on, fortified by some dinner (and perhaps a glass of wine?) I will turn my attention back to the cast aside cotton pair and see if I can find a way of making a success of them!


  1. oh do you know, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this post...I just sat and read it right through like you were talking to me, and I couldn't guess what the felted favourites were going to be...and I so LOVE them!
    I've been feeling wearily wintery all day and will NOT take off my cotton skirt (albeit with leggings underneath) until the clocks change, and these have made me feel happy about winter arriving- yay HOTTIES!! Bring it on!!

  2. Brilliant post...Just off to steal some of hubbies old jumpers to have a go! I of course don't have any 'old' jumpers as I had a sort out a little while ago and took about two tons to the charity shop! Will remember next time to keep a few back.

  3. Great tutorial!!! I will have to try this!
    I just found your blog... looks like you've got some awesome projects!


  4. Have just found your blog love the idea with the sad sweaters, very clever.