A while back, I hit Savers in Footscray for some warm jumpers to help me through the cold Melbourne winter. Specifically, I was looking for one I could refashion into a ‘sweater skirt’, as I had seen so many on various refashioning blogs that I was just itching to give it a try.
So here’s jumper number one – an 80’s-style men’s wool jumper that set me back $8:
It was so fugly I just couldn’t leave it behind! I thought it would be perfect for my sweater skirt. However, when I got home I realised that the weave was too loose – I don’t have an overlocker and I had a feeling Ms. Janome’s zig-zag would not be sufficient to prevent the eventual unraveling of the knit. So back into the refashion basket it went, for later consideration.
More recently, I came across Resweater’s gorgeous blog entry about a felted wool bike seat cover. Whilst I didn’t really feel the urge to make a bike seat cover, it did get me thinking about my 80’s jumper. It was certainly big enough to handle some felting. The label said it was wool. Felting would solve my unraveling issue. What did I have to lose?
So I did a bit more research on felting wool jumpers, and finally chucked it in the washing machine on hot and hoped for the best. After the first cycle, there was so much green fluff in the laundry I worried for my washing machine’s drain hose (I did, after all, accidentally felt a jumper whilst trying to dye it in the washing machine – it came out a lovely hot pink but would only have fitted a 10-year-old – plus I clogged up my washing machine in the bargain!) Anyway, it hadn’t really felted as much as I’d have liked. After a bit more time on the good ole’ internet, I put it in a large wash bag, added a tiny bit of wool wash detergent, and put it through again. My laundry smelt like warm damp sheep, but the end result this time was much more felted, and still big enough to make into a skirt. Yay!
Of course I forgot to take a picture of the felted sweater, but here’s one of the sleeves being cut off during the process of refashioning:
You can see that the pattern is more compact but the colours are still really vibrant.
Somewhere along the line, the jumper developed some holes so I had to practice my darning skills – and do you think I could find any black yarn in the house? Nooooo. So I did have to nip down to the op shop to see if I could find any (no black, but a purple that perfectly matched for 50c) where OF COURSE the $2 rack was out…. so I did spend a bit more than 50c that day!
Anyway, back to the refashion. I cut off the sleeves, then cut across the top of the jumper just below the neckline. I realised at this point that the shape would sit better if I turned the hem into the waistband, so upside-down it went. Out of my stash came a piece of greeny-blue stretch satin (also an op-shop score from some time ago!), out of which a rectangle got sewn into a tube to make a lining for the skirt.
Then it was time to ask Ms. Janome to sew through some thick felted wool. She didn’t like it. Not at all. I think I have RSI in my hand from coaxing the balance wheel around every five stitches or so. But eventually we made it through. I didn’t have the energy to finish the hem edge, but with the felting I don’t think it’s going anywhere.
What a perfect outfit for opshopping on a cold day!