Embellish Knit Month: Day 23 Meet "Adventures in Dressmaking"!!!!

December 6, 2010

Today Suzannah from Adventures in Dressmaking will be guest blogging for Embellish Your Knits DAY 23! I've been following Suzannah for quite some time. She has some very cute creations! You must check out  said 'cute creations' below!

I've asked Suzannah some questions and then she'll be sharing her above sweater tutorial after. So now, I'm going step aside and let Suzannah do the talking.

Hi there, Grosgrain readers!  I'm so happy to be blogging with you and adding a tutorial to the amazing stock of fun sweater makeovers Kathleen has been doing the past month.
At what age did you start to sew? What was the reason?
I don’t remember exactly when I began to sew, but I was probably four or five.  My mom has a business making historic clothing for reenactors and museums and such, and I grew up in a house with a dedicated “sewing room,” the occasional pin on the couch, and mannequins in the dining room.  I did little embroidery projects and made clothes for my dolls, and then used the sewing machine with  my mom’s supervision.  I didn’t start making clothing for myself until I was 17 or so, and even then my mom would help by cutting it out for me!

Why do you still sew today?
It keeps me busy, but mostly because I love to decorate my house and stay up to date on fashions but I can’t justify spending lots of money on the fun stuff I’d like.  Now, it’s become a challenge to make things that I see in magazines and stores, just to see if I can!
Why did you start your sewing blog?
After I finished grad school, I was underemployed and bored at home, and my then-boyfriend and I had just moved into our new apartment.  I was buying things at thrift stores and redoing them, and sewing every day, and a friend suggested I start a blog like the woman in Julie and Julia!  And it stuck.  I still post almost every day.

What benefits have you experienced from sewing your clothes rather than buying new ones?
I have way more fun clothes, to begin with.  I would say that I’ve saved a lot of money, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t have bought the store-bought equivalents of what I make, so my closet would be less trendy if I didn’t sew.  Plus, it is so much fun to make things exactly as I want them, and I love getting compliments and shocking people by saying, “Thanks; I made it!”

My sweater makeover today is turning a long tunic v-neck into a fun open-front cardi with a faux shawl collar. You can do this with any long sweater--this one was almost tunic length, stopping below my hips.  I never wore it since it was so long but also had a super low neck, so I always had to wear something interesting under it, and... it's been a while since it's come out of the dresser.

So, for the tutorial: Get your long sweater!
1. The first thing to do is cut off the excess length, which we'll use to add to the rest.  Try it on, (as I suggested in my most recent tutorial for taking in a chunky sweater) and pin on one side at the point where you'd like the sweater to end.  Actually, you'll be adding the ribbing back on, so make sure you pin a little shorter than you want the end length to be--my ribbing was almost 4" long, so I pinned 4" up from my final length point.  Here's the sweater after I took it off, marked with a pin.

2. Find that same point on the other side, and mark it with a pin or snip to show where you'll cut off.

3. Cut off the bottom of the sweater, using your side points and a straightedge to guide you.
 4. Cut off the bottom ribbing (most sweaters have at least a little edge of ribbed stitches to bind the bottom edge, so yours probably does, too!).

5. Cut down the center of the sweater.  My sweater had a wide V-neck, so I used the neckline at the top and followed the cables and ribs down the front to the bottom of the sweater.  If yours had a different neckline, you may have more flexibility with your center front opening.

6. Also cut the ribbing at the same place, and match it up with your sweater.  Next, you'll sew the ribbing back on, so pin it to the sweater as you'll sew it (I knew I was going to have raw edges showing on the rest of the sweater, so I chose to sew it back on wrong sides together with the seam allowance showing).

7. Sew, with a narrow seam allowance, your ribbing back onto your sweater.

Press the seam flat.

8. Measure your sweater, from hem to center back neckline, and double that measurement.  Mine was about 28" long, so I knew I'd need 56" of collar to go all the way around.

9. To make the faux shawl collar: Measure the hip/midriff panel you cut out, lengthwise.  Mine was 6", so I knew I'd need 11.2 pieces after seam allowances to make up the 56".  You'll sew the pieces together at the short ends to make one long strip, and depending on the length of the sweater (original and your version), you'll need more or fewer pieces, which means their width will vary.  I wanted my collar pieces as wide as possible, so I used all of the midriff piece.
10. You'll also have to measure the width of the midriff piece (mine was 15"x2) to see how wide your collar pieces will be.

11. Cut your midriff piece into evenly sized (based on your measurements) chunks.  Mine ended up  being 6" by 2.5" (the pic shows them 6"x5", before I cut them again longways. 

Sew the strips together on the short sides so that you have one loooong strip.

12. Press those seams to one side, and sew your faux shawl collar onto the front of the sweater.  Again, embracing the raw edges, I sewed mine right side to wrong side, planning on not turning any seams.  I recommend matching the center back of the sweater with the center of the long strip, and starting your seam at the center back so that you know your collar will go on evenly and you'll have enough to go around.
13. Trim off the excess at the bottom.

Wear and enjoy!!  I had fun putting mine belt.

Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial! 

There's lots more on my blog, as well as other ideas and projects!  I'd love to see you over at Adventures in Dressmaking, and thanks for following along!

4 {comments}:

Popbabe7 said... Best Blogger Tips

Two of my favourite blogs in one- yay!!

Pretty Zesty said... Best Blogger Tips

amazing creations!I admire people who can sew!!

Amy Menges said... Best Blogger Tips

Lovely. I'm a little sad that you're getting to the end of your month of sweaters... I'm enjoying the inspiration.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I wish you lived near me. I lost 65 lbs. and have a bunch of clothes that need something done with. I hate to get rid of all of them. I gave away 2 "lawn bags" full already, but I have a box in the closet that I think something can be done with them. If I only had a few more hands and your idea's! Joan in Mo.

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