Friday, December 28, 2012

Recycling a old sweater

A good lesson and tip for you - bookmark and make a hard copy of these patterns and place them in a binder, for safe keeping.   Enjoy!

 Recycled Luxury: Sweater to Long Mittens and Cloche Hat Tutorial

Start by gathering up your materials. You will need a turtleneck cashmere sweater (the turtleneck isn’t absolutely necessary; if you can’t find one, you could make the cuffs out of the body of your sweater), scissors or a rotary cutter, a pencil and a piece of paper, and sewing supplies (machine, thread, needles, etc.).

Step 1: Make your pattern. Lay your hand flat on a piece of paper, and trace a mitten shape around it, leaving about an inch or an inch and a half all the way around. Cut out.

Step 2: Cut the neck off of your sweater. That will leave you with a wide tube of fabric.

Step 3: Cut the neck in half, and sew up the open edge of each half to make two narrow tubes. These will be your cuffs (nota bene: I sewed all of my seams in this project by using a straight stretch stitch, then zig-zagging over the seam allowances to prevent unraveling. If your machine doesn’t have a straight stretch stitch, you can stitch by simply zig-zagging the edges, making sure to catch both layers of fabric. You might want to go over the seams twice for added stability. I also loosen my needle-thread tension a bit and use a ballpoint needle when working with knits).

Step 4: Using your pattern, cut your mittens out of the body of the sweater. Cut two mitten shapes, cutting through both layers of the sweater to make a front and back for each mitten.

Step 5: With right sides together, stitch your mittens. If the seams end up super wonky, you can press them by soaking with a spray bottle, then applying moderate heat through a pressing cloth. A little wonkiness isn’t a problem – it won’t be noticeable once the mittens are on.

Step 6: Stitch cuffs to mittens. Slip your cuff wrong side out over your right side out mitten to match right sides. Line up the top edge of the cuff with the bottom edge of the mitten. Your mitten should be almost totally inside the cuff. Stitch, making sure to catch only two layers (one layer of mitten and one layer of cuff) at a time.

Flip your completed mittens inside out, and add any details that you want. For a slightly Victorian feel, I attached three buttons to the outside edge of each cuff.

Now it’s time to make your cloche. Working along the bottom of your sweater, measure 9.5” from one side seam, and 8” from the bottom edge. Mark with pins.

Cut a semicircle, following your pin marks. You should now have two semicircular shapes cut from the bottom of your sweater. Stitch with right sides together.

Flip your cloche right side out, press, and you are done! For some extra fun, I added a rosette brooch made from two sweater scraps (cut into circles and zig-zagged in contrasting thread around the edges), with a button in the center.

That’s it! Wrap your mittens and cloche up in some pretty recycled packaging, and you have a gorgeous (and green) gift. Alternately, keep them all to yourself – you won’t regret it when you snuggle into these lovelies on a crisp winter morning. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me, and you can always make another pair…or dozen.