Monday, January 16, 2012

Sweater Makeover

For some time now, I have been hunting assiduously for new cardigans. I have a couple, and Lauren most generously shares hers with me, thereby doubling my cardi-tunities, but I still need more! It's winter, you see, and my classroom temperature varies between a brisk 60ish to a balmy 80ish. Why don't I just adjust the thermostat, you ask. Ask away; I laugh at you and ask you to come visit my school. Adjustable thermostats weren't invented in the Pleistocene Age when my school was built.
Thus, Mrs. G has to be prepared for ever-varied temperatures. We adjust by opening the window, and that works sometimes, but I need to be able to shift from Antarctica-garb to Bahamas-garb very, very quickly. That's why I need more cardigans, you see? It just won't do for the teacher to be divesting herself of a pullover sweater mid-lecture. Strange and embarrassing things might happen.
So then I had a thought one day last week, and it really was a brilliant thought: Why not give a pullover sweater a fresh new look--and make it INTO a cardigan? I'm sure you were thinking the same thing.
I poked around a bit on the internet and found a few tips and ideas. Some of them were purely awful, but some were quite helpful indeed. And I had just the sweater to try it out on.

I bought this sweater a few years ago and got some good use out of it. I love the color and the feel of it, but alas, it hearkens back to the days when silly people (like me? really?) thought it looked cool to let a bit of the belly hang out between shirt and pants. (I've borne three children; nobody wants to see that stuff) (don't know what I was thinking) So, it has been sitting in the closet for a few seasons. The most helpful website suggested marking the middle with tailor's chalk and then sewing two straight seams 1/4" away from the center. I skipped the tailor's chalk step, preferring to wing it (okay, total honesty here: I didn't mark it because I don't have any tailor's chalk, but I freely admit it sounds like a very helpful thing!) (plus, the poor sweater had been folded in my closet so long that there was a pretty permanent crease down the middle anyway), but I sewed those two seams so that once I cut up the center, the raw edges wouldn't fray too much.
Then, taking a deep breath that tasted a little like desecration, I put my scissors to my sweater and began to cut. I was afraid, reader. I was afraid that I was taking a pretty useless sweater and turning it into a totally useless sweater. But then, as I cut and cut, a heady feeling of creative power consumed me. I laughed triumphantly as my scissors slipped to one last ringing close, as I reached the neckline of my no-longer-a-pullover.

Once I made the cut, I zigzagged the rough edges, deciding that finishing the edges this way would be best because it would leave me with more fabric for the front.

Then, I simply folded each front edge to the inside, pressed it, and straight stitched it. Now it was time to decide how to polish it off. I tried it on and posed in several ways for the mirror, but the message each time was the same: "needs a little something more."

I had some ivory grosgrain ribbon, maybe about an inch wide, but Clint and Lauren emphatically put the kaibosh on that idea. I agreed: too old-ladyish (sorry, any old lady readers--no offense intended!). Then I found a small stash of buttons. I have no idea what I bought them for, but I had a total of ten white buttons. Perfecto!

But then, after looking in the mirror a bit more, posing and smiling a number of very proud smiles, I decided to add a row of buttons to the other side (unfortunately, Clint had already taken this picture--and I did that bit of sewing in the car on our way to a delicious Ethiopian meal in Ann Arbor). I am pretty proud of myself for this one, not going to lie.

No comments: