Tuesday, December 1, 2015

RTW Remake: Sweater Knit

If you are a sewist, you are probably familiar with the BBC series The Great British Sewing Bee. 

(image source:www.popularpatchwork.com)

If not, go directly to Youtube and watch the most recent season (You're welcome.)

Every season, they feature a "High Street Remake,"  If there were an American version, they would probably call it the Mall Remake.  Essentially, it is taking a commonly found Ready-to-Wear garment, cutting into it, restyling it, and creating something new and original.  I am always amazed by the contestants' creativity.  This is a skill I would love to master, but haven't really investigated yet. Until now that is!

I have been wanting to sew up some sweater knit, but haven't been able to find much I would want to wear in my local fabric shops.  While going through my sweaters for winter (it has finally gotten chilly here,) I came across a grey marl sweater dress from Old Navy.  I never wore it much because the mock turtleneck was uncomfortable and didn't fit well. Oooh, my opportunity for a remake. Spoiler alert; I did not make anything up to Bee standards, but I did change the neckline.

The finished neckline.  Sorry I forgot to take a before pic!

I decided to go for a v-neck.

Here's how I did it: First, I cut off the offending mock turtleneck.  I was careful to keep the neckline high, because I anticipated possible unraveling and that the weight of the knit might pull the neckline down.  Then I found center front and center back and marked each with a pin.  At center front I cut down to form a slight v.  Next, I cut the piece I had removed along the seam so it would lay flat as a rectangle.  I cut two strips from the rectangle to form binding strips for the neckline.  I joined the two strips using my serger to make one long strip, which I folded in half lengthwise.  I placed a length of clear elastic tucked up between the two layers of the folded binding to add strength and reduce stretching.  I pinned the binding to the neckline on the right side of the dress, matching raw edges.  I started at center back, placing the seam of the binding at the pin. Then I worked forward to the point of the v, stretching the binding piece slightly as I went.  When I got close to the v, I estimated where each piece of binding should end then cut the ends of a half inch longer than that point.  I serged the two ends together at an angle, then finished pinning the binding.  Next, I machine basted the binding strip to the neckline, checked it, then serged it.  Finally, I turned the seam to the inside and pressed it down.  I tried topstitching a little bit of the neckline with a stretch stitch, but it seemed like it was making the neckline too rigid, so I just left it off.  The pressing made the binding lie nice and flat, and it was still flat even after washing.  To make a long story short, I basically did the neck just like I would for a tshirt.  And it worked.

The wrong side of the refinished neckline

I was excited.  From start to finish, it took me about twenty minutes.  This project was an all around win for me; a now wearable dress and practice with sweater knit.  Sweater knit really was not that hard to handle.  My serger and my machine handled the bulk fine, and I really didn't have the unraveling problems I was expecting. The v is actually much more balanced than it looks in the photo, which was taken at an angle.

What do you think?  Will a sweater restyle be in the works for you?

Xx Piper

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1 comment:

  1. Brilliant idea! I, too, cannot find sweater knit fabric that I'd like to create a garment with. Your post reminded me that I purchased a few sweaters online that are lovely fabric but I don't care for the style on me. I'm going to get to work on restyling these. Carol


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