How I Refashioned a Sweater

How I refashioned a sweater

When I switched out my Summer wardrobe and restocked with my Autumn and Winter clothes last week, I found a long tunic length sweater that I hadn’t worn for 3 or 4 years. The sweater had been knitted by my mum on her knitting machine and is made from a lovely Superwash Merino wool by King Cole, which, if you’re interested, is available here. I used to do a lot of knitting myself years ago (never hand knitting though) and had a machine that my mum still uses now, these days I prefer sewing 🙂

Here is how the sweater looked before the refashion:

How I refashioned a sweater. The 'before' picture

It seemed like such a waste to leave the sweater unworn, but I simply don’t wear long tunic length sweaters these days (it was the sort of length you would wear with leggings which I don’t wear anymore). A more sustainable option was to alter it and so after a long hard look at it, I came up with a plan. After sharing my plan on Instagram I got a bit of interest in how I would alter my sweater so I thought what better way than to share the process here. I’m sure there are some of you that have a similar item in your wardrobe and hopefully, you’ll feel inspired to try a bit of refashioning or yourself.

How I refashioned a sweater


I thought that I’d break the process down into stages for ease so let’s get started:

  • Firstly I tried on my sweater to decide on my finished length and it turned out that I needed to shorten it by 63/4”. I wanted it to stop at my high hip level so that it would work with quite a variety of bottoms.
  • I wanted to keep the ribbed band, so the plan was to remove it and then reattach it for a shorter length. The first stage of this was to carefully cut it off just a couple of rows of stitches above where it finished and the plain stocking stitch started.
  • I unravelled the extra rows at the top of the rib until I got a clean row of empty stitches ready to sew through and as the rib would be sitting across a narrower part of my body (It was originally thigh length) I had to overlock off some width down the sides.
  • To prepare the body of my sweater, I measured off the amount that I was shortening the length by and then cut it off and overlocked the lower edge. The spare chunk of fabric would become the collar.
  • Now to sew the ribbed band back on to the body. To do this I pinned the rib evenly to the edge just covering the overlocking stitches. Then using a large needle threaded with some yarn, I backstitched by hand through the individual empty stitches. It gives the look of a rib that has been attached with an industrial linking machine and looks really neat (see photo)
Sewing on the rib:How I refashioned a sweater
  • I unpicked the original collar and measured the neck opening.
  • I got the spare section of knitting left over from the body and unravelled the rows top and bottom of it until I had clean neat edges of stitches.
  • After checking neck measurements I machine stitched two seams at angles for a bit of a mitred effect…one for centre back and one for centre front.
  • To attach the collar I used the same method as for the body bands and I backstitched through the empty stitches, first on the outside of the sweater and then stitched the other edge down on the inside.
How I refashioned a sweater

A gentle steam press and my refashion was complete. I love it now! Such an easy to wear, useful and comfy sweater. I like how it looks with my faded jeans, but it will look equally nice with some of my culottes or skirts too. Dare I say that I’m actually looking forward to colder weather so I can wear it because its such a warm and cosy sweater!

How I refashioned a sweater

So this was a slightly different post than usual as it wasn’t strictly about sewing, but I hope it inspired you. I’m already eyeing up some other things in my wardrobe to refashion now 🙂

By the way…I’ve given my website a bit of a refresh with a different colour scheme and an awesome new logo which was designed for me by a very clever lady called Fiona of Figero Designs. I hope you like it!

See you soon!

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16 Comments

  1. October 18, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    Love this refashion. I was similarly feeling a bit uninspired by my winter sweaters when unpacking them this weekend. And I love the site revamp, it looks really fresh!

    • diane
      Author
      October 18, 2018 / 10:23 pm

      Thanks Beck. Maybe some of your sweaters would be suitable for a refashion? Glad you like the website refresh 👍

  2. October 19, 2018 / 7:07 am

    That’s a win! It sounds fiddly but the end result looks really neat.

    • diane
      Author
      October 19, 2018 / 9:13 am

      Thanks, Catherine! Yeah, it was a bit fiddly, but I don’t mind it to get the look I want.

  3. October 19, 2018 / 11:28 am

    What a brilliant idea I’ll have to have a look at my sweaters, its looks great on you lovely colour.

    • diane
      Author
      October 19, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      Thanks ever so much, Julia!

  4. October 19, 2018 / 8:31 pm

    Great refashion Diane! Love your ‘new’ sweater!! You look so pretty in this color too. Nice blog design! I like your new header and signature line especially. 🙂

    • diane
      Author
      October 19, 2018 / 8:38 pm

      Thanks so much, Lisa. It does feel like having a ‘new’ sweater 🙂 And thanks for the lovely comments on the design refresh xx

  5. October 23, 2018 / 7:03 am

    Great refashion of the sweater & the blog design! Wis x

    • diane
      Author
      October 23, 2018 / 7:58 pm

      Thank you, Wis! Glad you like the blog refresh too 🙂

  6. October 25, 2018 / 12:36 am

    Your new website design is great, but that refashion is excellent. Such a difference and a jumper that you will wear often is such a good outcome. Love it!

    • diane
      Author
      October 25, 2018 / 10:10 am

      Thanks on both counts Sue! xx

  7. Celeste B
    October 25, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Wow, that seems like it was a lot of work but it turned out great.

    • diane
      Author
      October 25, 2018 / 6:27 pm

      Thanks, Celeste. It was a little fiddly, for sure but worth it 🙂

  8. October 25, 2018 / 8:27 pm

    That looks good. I’ve altered some RTW knit tunics but need to do some knitted ones. I wouldn’t have thought to alter the neck to. Fabulous.

    • diane
      Author
      October 25, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      Thanks so much, Anne. I hope you’re inspired to try some radical altering 🙂

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