Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Recycled Sweater Dress

This is the dress I finished last weekend, made from 2 sweaters I bought at the Salvation Army. I still want a burgundy belt to pull the waist in a little more. I'd like it to look at little more tailored, without having to put a zipper in the side seam.

My hubby the talented photographer wanted a subject to shoot while trying out some new lighting ideas, and I volunteered... I figured his experimental shots would definitely look better than pics I shot of myself in the mirror!

I'm calling it a dress, but in the tradition of early and mid-century fashions, it's actually 2 pieces that are meant to be worn as a set. I always wondered how they could refer to 2 pieces as a "dress"; I always think of a dress as a single piece... Whatever the nomenclature, this is it from behind so you can see the shaping at the waist a little better:

I even left the labels in both sweaters, so the inside of the top says "Eddie Bauer" and the underside of the collar says "American Eagle Outfitters." I even left the sideseam tag on the skirt that says "American Eagle."

The bodice was made from a vest, so there were precious few scraps left from that. There are some small scraps left from the solid burgundy sweater; enough to save for making felt roses for a hat or something...they fit in a ziplock bag. I love getting the most out of my $4 sweaters!

This is my new haircut, without much done to it. I bought a 1-1/2" diameter ceramic-surface curling iron this weekend, so I'm going to start playing with it. I just watched "Chocolat" with Juliette Binoche, and her hair was PERFECT...sigh...


  1. You look great! The dress is so flattering and the haircut is awesome. Can't wait to see you play around with your new curling iron. :)

  2. Aw, thanks, Gertie. You're a sweetie. Just curled my hair and put a barrette in it - time to go to the movies with my hubby! Will take a pic later...

  3. Oh My GOSH....After what you wrote on my blog I expected to pop on over here and see you "waddling around" in your new outfit, and you look FABULOUS!! haha! Here's to getting older and SPECTACULAR! Whoo-hoooo!

  4. Ps. Juliet Binoche in Chocolat is a HEROINE of fashion. :)

  5. That's cute, I wish I could make my own clothes! I'm 6 ft tall, so I generally end up wearing mens pants, which don't fit all that flattering. :( Great dress, you're very talented! God bless!

  6. @ Miss Amelina - I *feel* like I'm waddling...I've gained 50 pounds almost overnight, it seems. I still can't get used to it. Thanks for your sweet compliments!

    @The Veteran Server - Thanks so much! I'm short and wide, and I sew because I can't afford to pay someone else to make clothes that fit me. I'm still learning about sewing after taking a break since, oh, 8th grade! If you'd like to learn to make your own clothes, you might want to check into any classes your local fabric store may offer. Cheers, and welcome to Waiter, Waiter, Percolator!

  7. Wow, that is adorable--the color is terrific! I love the idea of recycling sweaters, but I've always been afraid to. Your dress turned out so well, maybe I should get over my fear :)

  8. Thanks, Leizel! I'm happy with the way this turned out, too.

    The great thing about recycling sweaters is, I get them at the thrift store. They cost me $3-$4. Since I haven't paid a bunch of money for them, I don't feel like I have to be careful with them! It's kind of like sewing a muslin. If I make a mistake, there are always other things I can make with the fabric, like scarves purses, hats, and mittens.

    If you buy 100% wool and buy them bigger than your normal size, you can shrink them a little in the washing machine. Then you don't even have to worry about them unraveling, AND they're denser and warmer. I don't have a serger, and I've never had a problem with a piece coming apart.

    I see sewing with recycled clothing as a release from the pressure I put on myself to do my vintage sewing *perfectly*. It's also a way to get some more immediate gratification! It's quicker than starting from scratch!

  9. You look smashing!!!
    And lose weight???? From where????

  10. Oh, Moon, you're so kind. I stretched myself as tall as I could during these photos, so it would be harder to see my big tummy... I've got that menopausal tummy/hips/thighs thing going on. Nothing a few months on the elliptical trainer and some self-restraint in the kitchen won't fix!


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