Thursday, January 25, 2024

Upcycle Cashmere Sweater

This January I am in a mood to upcycle or at least repurpose a lot of the fabric and garments that I have held onto but not used. I've had an idea to use old cashmere sweaters as fabric and recombine them into new items. Over the the last few years I've put a few of my old sweaters in this category as well as some new to me ones found at thrift shops. However for my first project of this type I actually purchased something and remade it - also using remnants from the stash. 

sweater collar

I was in my local Savers thrift store before Christmas, looking for puzzles and happened to walk by the rack of men's sweater where this blue beauty was hanging on the very end of the rack. That color! how could I resist. So I bought it for $9 and figured I could use it for something. Also being a men's size L it was quite roomy and great for cutting out me-sized pattern pieces.

blue sweater original

The sleeves, sides, shoulder seams and neckband were stitched on so I unpicked all that and was left with a good amount of sweater to work with.  I decided to make it a polo neck sweater and use a Burda pattern which I have successfully used on a summer stripe cotton t-shirt. Burda Feb 2023 # 108.  You can see the pattern and original shirt in that linked blog post. 


I wasn't quite sure what I was going to use for the collar, at first I thought about a contrasting color harvested from another sweater but rummaging around in my stash I found a small piece of silk charmeuse and the color match was incredible, so it had to be that. 

test sleeve1

I put both lightweight fusible interfacing as well as some silk organza in the collar and collar stand to give them structure. Otherwise I just sewed it as I would with any knit fabric. The sweater held together well when cut so it was easy to sew. 

Blue sweater2

blue sweater back

The sleeve were a bit tricky and I decide to just sew them back on as it, with some minor adjustment at the seam allowance of the armhole. So they are a bit long perhaps but I generally turn back the cuff on all sweaters so they are fine. 

test sleeve2

I hand basted them on first just to make sure they fit the armhole.  All in all I am really satisfied with my first cashmere sweater remake and there will definitely be more in my future. I've collected a few sweaters in plum, lavender, and purple shades so perhaps some kind of color-block combo.

blue sweater front

blue sweater4

Worn with my favorite pair of Ash jeans. That pattern certainly has provided value as I think I have made 10 pairs at least and another corduroy pair is on the to-do list. 

I'm really happy with my slouchy, soft and very blue sweater remake. If you have been following me on Instagram you will know that I am doing another project that is in the reuse-recycle category. I'm making a coat only using remnants of wool from other projects. It started out just a personal challenge but is turning out to be one of my favorites and I will do a blog post soon on that. 

This weekend I'm teaching an in-person 2-day Chore Jacket class for Hello Stitch Studio. After that we are working on what to offer in the spring, any suggestions?

Happy January Sewing,

As you can see in the image above, the garden is pretty blah this time of year and involves a lot of weeding and raking of the never ending leaves. So here is an image of a summer dahlia to remind me of what's to come. Also I moved all my dahlia tubers to a planter box and I hope to have a nice concentration of blooms there in the summer.

red dahlia 2023

Monday, January 1, 2024

Tatjana Trousers in green wool

Happy New Year!  At the end of 2023 I ended up with 2 different pieces of green wool due to a mixup and the wool crepe has become a dress for Heather (will blog soon). So I had a piece of another green wool that had a nice drape and seemed perfect for some pleated trousers. Which it was!

It's not the first time I have used this pattern and I will probably use it again in the spring as I want some black or blue lightweight shorts. Also I'm teaching an online class starting on Tues. Jan 16 so I thought I would brush up on my trouser making. 

Tatjana trousers front view

The weather was really gloomy last week and so I decided to take some indoor shots, and also to crop my top half which still looked like I had just got out of bed :).  

I did do a few adjustments on this pattern and also I didn't really follow the instructions.
  • Cut size 44 
  • Used the back pattern piece I had previously adjusted, details on this blog post. 
  • Raised the waist height 1"
  • Cut 4 separate waistband pieces and sewed them on the separately so I could adjust center back and side seams all the way up
  • adjusted the front pleats, made the near center pleat less wide and also straightened the angle of the pleat
  • raised the bottom point of the zipper up 1"
Here's a look at the front after I had put in the zipper and pockets. I always use a too long zipper and then just cut it down after attaching the waistband. I also pinned the pleats and decided on the final amount of pleat once I was attaching the waistband. 


Back view of the trousers.

Tatjana trousers back view

On the hanger, you can see that the back rise has extra length due to the adjustment I linked to above. Also the seam at the side of the waistband.

Tatjana trousers side view

On Instagram I asked what color top would go with these pants and got some good responses. So if I find a nice plaid shirting I will try that, I don't think I have any plaid shirts in my wardrobe now. 

As I mentioned above, I do have an online class coming up in a couple of weeks. Here's a link to register for this class:  Trouser Techniques Class online with Hello Stitch.

Trouser class

I have some in-person classes coming up as well. Hello Stitch Studio has the option to hold some 2-day classes in the bay area so I am teaching a Chore Jacket 
class in late January. Sat 1/27 and Sun. 1/28. I'm really excited to do a 2-day class which will give people opportunity to get near the finish line on their jackets. 
Here is the link to register and see all the details: Chore Jacket Class.

Chore jacket image

One more in-person class on January 12 is a Simple Top class which I will be teaching in Lafayette. This is a great class for people who are new to making garments as I provide the pattern and also samples to try on to help choose your size.  Here's the link to register:   Cotton Patch Simple Top Class Jan 

CP class Jan

So that's the latest on classes. I was all set to sew myself a two-color wool coat, and I had prepared the pattern, made a muslin etc. The beauty of this idea is that it uses some pieces of coat weight wool remaining from other projects. However I don't think we are going to have any coat weather here in N. California this year. It usually is coldest in late Nov and Dec and it was barely coat weather then. So not sure if I will do it. But I might. Although I was sorting through my fabric stash the other day and came across some summer fabrics I never got around to sewing this year. Maybe I should get a jump on spring instead?  Stay tuned. 

Happy New Year sewing,

Today's garden photo: I am just about to give my roses their big pruning in the next week so here's a picture from last summer. No idea of the variety, it didn't do much the first couple of years but now reliably puts out these bright coral blooms.