Friday, December 24, 2010

Upcycled Doll Bed

Just finished this Christmas present for my little niece, Paiscey.  Other than the spray paint and some polyester fiberfill I already had on hand, this is made from all used materials.

The vintage doll bed was an empty metal frame when I found it at a flea market.  First, I spray painted over the rusty white.  Then, I made the bedding from sheets purchased at the Goodwill.  The mattress was a piece of foam from a former mattress pad stored in my attic.  So, what does this have to do with sweaters?  Well, look closely. 

The foam is covered in an old sweater! 

I knew the fabric from the old sheets wouldn't really cover the yellow memory-foam very well (as it wasn't exactly a high threadcount!).  So, I took a very soft acrylic sweater and stitched it into a pillow case of sorts.  The foam went in, and then I stitched the dust ruffle around.  The problem came when I put the mattress in and realized that this is more of a crib then a bed so I will have to make some adjustments. 

I seem to recall making a similar mistake when sewing a dust ruffle for my daughter's crib twelve years ago.  I guess we never learn!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Party Dress

I made this for my 11-year old daughter to wear to our holiday party. For those who have tween daughters, it can be a difficult time to find dresses that aren't too cutesie childish, but aren't too hoochie either!  This was my solution.

This started out as two adult sized tops.  One was a silvery gray angora blend sweater that I fulled (aka felted) in the washer,  and a the other was black velour pullover.   

I began by cutting a band off the bottom of the angora sweater, which I later used at the bottom of the skirt to give a slight "bubble" effect.

Because my daughter only wears a size 10-12, I needed to take in the sweater a little.  I used my serger to stitch in one inch on each side of the sweater.  I also took in the sleeves just a bit.

I cut the torso portion of the black velour top off to use as the skirt portion of the dress.  I attached it to the sweater using the serger, pulling tight to give a lettuce edge.  I left this serged seam on the outside of the dress.

I then attached the bottom band of the sweater to the skirt following the same procedure.  I used leftover pieces of the velour to make three roses that I hand stitched onto the front of the dress near the shoulder.  Voila!  Instant party dress that is totally unique.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I made this little girl's poncho for no one in particular.  I might list it on Etsy.  The shape of the sweater it was previously just seemed so perfect for a poncho (I really need to start taking before pictures!), so I just cut the top off in a circular pattern.  I stitched the bottom with a zigzag just to be safe since the sweater was a wool blend.  I made the little flowers out of scraps from other sweater projects and buttons that were in an old box of buttons I got from my mom years ago!

Today, I had a few moments to pop in to the Goodwill, and I found another sweater like this one but yellow.  Looks like I'll be making another poncho soon!  I also picked up some things to make a dress for my daughter for a Christmas party.  Look for it soon!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Olivia's dress

I decided that this year I want to be as green as I can for the holidays, and one way is to give up cycled gifts. I decided to make a sweater dress and hat for my niece. I used a large, loose-knit woman's sweater in colors that were just obnoxious for adult attire, but perfect for a 5-year old!

I first cut off the sleeves - and later used one to make a hat - and then stitched down each side seam to make it slimmer. I cut the sleeves off of a junior's wool sweater. I also cut the neckband off to attach to the dress in order to decrease the size of the neck.

In order to make the dress flare at the bottom, I cut out irregular triangles from the rest of the wool sleeves. After making a slit in the hemline, I stitched the triangles to the dress. For an extra touch, I made flowers out of the leftover pink wool, added a pearl button I already had to each flower, and attached them to the front of the dress and the hat.

The hat was simply the sleeve of the large sweater. The shoulder end became the bottom of the hat. I stitched a diagonal line across the sleeve and cut off the extra. This gave it an elfin look, but I tacked the point down with the wool flower.

I was really happy with how it turned out.  I hope she likes it as much as I do!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Treasures found today!

I had to run to the thrift store quickly today to pick up some baskets to be used as gift baskets (Never buy new baskets. You can find great ones for $1 or so at most thrift stores).
Of course, since I had to walk past the sweaters to get to the baskets, I had to browse. Considering I was just in there on Wednesday and bought a ton of sweaters, I was surprised to see so many "new" ones out. I found three cashmere ones for just $2.50 each! Yippee! Most had already been somewhat felted, as they were all a bit shrunken. That's the benefit of living near the university. Freshman who don't read labels will end up washing their 100% wool and cashmere sweaters. Add that with the Freshman 15 equals bargain cashmere!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Doggie Poncho

Doggie Poncho
 This wool sweater had seen better days, but after I felted it in the washing machine and dryer, it looked much better.  Because of the design and the neckline, I thought it would make an excellent poncho for a dog.  Since it is 100% wool, there was no reason for any machine stitching.  I cut the neckline out in a circular pattern.  I then cut through the radius of the circle to the neckline.  I added a cute, decorative button and cut a button hole.  How perfect!

Monday, November 15, 2010

IPad bag

I found this great wool sweater at a thrift store for $2.50. I loved the bright colors and stripes, so I knew it would make a fun purse. The first thing that I did was wash it in HOT water in the washing machine, along with several other bargain sweaters I had just found. Then it was into the dryer for more felting. This had the "Jenny Craig" effect on the sweater, as it dropped several sizes, which was exactly what I wanted. Now I had a thick, heavy wool that could withstand weight as a purse. I decided it would be a satchel-type with a flap. I used scraps from another felted wool sweater to make solid color sides. I cut the bottom black and red stripes off of the striped sweater, cut the piece in half, and sewed the two pieces together to make the strap. I stitched wih the smaller red stripes together to look like one larger red strip. After finishing this, I realized it is the perfect size for my iPad. Since it is felted wool, it is water repellant and nicely padded to protect my precious "best friend.". Upcycling old sweaters is truly an emergent process, as I never know where a sweater will take me!