Submitted an entry to the Bernina We All Sew contest on FB. Voting starts today, and you can vote once a day. If I make the top ten, then I could win a US $1,000.00 GC and then the grand prize at the end is a US $5,000.00sewing machine. Vote for me please!
So I have somewhere I can always refer to this.
What is upcycled clothing? Upcycled clothing is taking something gently used, but no longer desired, and creating a one-of-a-kind wearable work of art. Check it out at Discord Threads - discordthreads.artfire.com. But I don’t just use part of the sweaters. The fluff from the serger trimming is swept into a clean plastic lidded container for stuffing pillows. The scraps are fashioned into arm warmers, wrist warmers, fingerless gloves, scarves and more. And the smaller scraps went to a friend to use for doll clothes. Some of the teeny scraps hit the trash, but almost the entire garment makes its way into several new upcycled designs.
YAY! Paul at Artfire’s Nosh used my blog in 4 parts on how to upcycle. So, I have a tutorial now - the one I posted on here in 4 parts last week - on NOSH!
Arms of the black ribbed dress. These will be cut up the seam.
Cutting up the seams of the gray sweater. Instead of circular inset seams, this one has arm seams that run diagonally up to the collar. Cutting up the diagnonal to the collar.
After sewing together the arms from the black sleeves and grey sleeves, I’ve positioned the waistband piece over the bottom portion formed from the sleeves. Now I will cut the bottom portion to match the diagonal edge of the waistband piece.
The final design. There was enough leftover scraps and a skeleton of the turquoise sweater to design a matching sweater. I think some black beading added along the diagonal design on the turquoise portion of the skirt would be neat, and perhaps a black ruffle along the skirts hem will frame the outfit. I still need to add fasteners for the sweater - black toggle beads with a loop to fasten?
Some tips and tricks.
Check local thrift and good will stores for deals on gently used sweaters. But do yourself and your customers a favor. Don’t bring home any unwelcome guests. Ask them to tie the back shut, and put them in the trunk of your car. Immediately take the sweaters right to the washer, and wash them in hot water and dry them on the hottest setting for at least 20 minutes. I dry them until they are completely dry. This shrinks some of the sweaters, and wool becomes felted, but I can feel confident I haven’t brought critters into my home, nor am I selling anything filled with critters.
Cut the sweaters apart, and don’t actually serge any edges until you have the pieces the size you need. When I first started upcycling, I would serge the sweaters apart to deconstruct thinking I was saving time. Nine times out of ten, the serged edge I created when taking the sweaters apart, ended up being cut away so I was really wasting thread and needles. It is much easier to cut the pieces apart at the seams, and then serge the seams together once you’ve cut your pieces.
Sweater fabric is very forgiving. If you err, simply reserge the edge you need.
I welcome comments, suggestions and even questions. Many times sellers are very secretive about their process, where they buy supplies, and get defensive when someone asks a question. While I might be a little flattered and also offended if you outright copy one of my designs, I certainly won’t get offended if you ask me a question about how upcycling with sweaters!
October 16, 2011
Here is the first victim. A teal/turquoise blue sweater with a very interesting v-neck. I decide to cut off the lower band and v-neck design.
The neck design and bottom ribbing.
The black ribbed sweater dress and thicker gray ribbed sweater will be part of the finished design as well.
Testing the look on the dress form.
The waistband pinned to the v design. Notice how it is pinned far outside the serging stitching area.
The pieces getting serged
The pieces serged and on the dress form.
More to come in Part 4….
So, back in July I started a new post on ‘How to make an upcycled sweater’. I listed exactly what to gather, and you did that, and you’ve been sitting with your supplies and dress form or patient friend, who has since abandoned you for a real life…lol. You waited, and waited, and during that time I’ve created many a new thing from upcycled sweaters, BUT
I kept forgetting to take pictures of what I did!!!
Without the pictures, I don’t think it is quite as good. So, yesterday during the process of creating I actually remembered to TAKE PICTURES. Lemme get them stored online, and then let the sweater fuzz fly! On to making an upcycled sweater skirt and shrug! While you are waiting, take a look at the elements of the sweaters you plan to unravel.
Are there arm or torso cuffs that could be used as a waistband or edging? Is there a central design to a sweater that can be kept intact as the focus for the new design? Where do the seams run? Are the arms inset in a circle, or do they run diagonally up to the collar? Is there a zipper or button panel you can keep intact to use as the fastening for the new design? What portions of the sweaters can be deconstructed as larger ‘pieces’ of fabric?
Before the end of this day, the full tutorial will be complete, but remember, a lot of the design is up to your imagination and creativity. And if you are using a serger for the first time, practice threading the machine. Have a supply of needles on hand, as you may break a few going through the heavy layers. And unless you are using VERY lightweight sweaters, a cheap sewing machine or serger will not do. If you know your machine has a hard time going through thick layers, you might get frustrated. I mean a cheap quality machine, as my Juki was $349, but does a fantastic job on even the heaviest layers, so long as I take it a little slower.
And you might also like to have a trash can for sweater fluff, and another for actual trash. I use the soft sweater fluff to stuff pillows and further the eco and green-ness of sweater upcycling. The smaller scraps are used for my upcycled sweater scarves, and the smallest scraps I can’t use are gifted to a friend who makes dolls and can use them to make doll clothing. So get ready to keep some sweaters out of landfills and save the earth one sweater at a time.