Sunday, November 11, 2012

From Thrifty to Nifty: Sweater to Dress Refashion

Don'cha just love a cozy sweater dress?  How 'bout a cheap and easy sweater dress?

I picked up this perfectly nice Izod cotton argyle sweater at a local thrift store for $2.50.  I was hunting wool sweaters to felt and this caught my eye.  It was an XL, and it looked just "eh" on me; a little short in the torso and kind of boxy.  So into the refashion drawer.  Sweater season hit here in Michigan and out it came to become a cute sweater dress for Arden.

1.  First I used my seam ripper and removed the collar and the knit tape covering the seam at the back of the neck.  This probably took the longest of the whole project, but I just sat while the girls had their snack and patiently picked away at it.

2.  Using a knit dress that fit Arden well, I traced a bodice front, starting as high up as I could to keep the length and the finished bottom edge.  From the traced armpit, I drew a gentle a-line - for this 4T size I angled the bottom of the ruler over 2" from paralell to the fold.

3.  Using the bodice front and the pattern dress as a guide, trace the bodice back with the neckline at a shallower curve. 

4.  Trace the sleeves.  The pattern dress had a small gather at the shoulder which I wanted to keep, so I continued the curve at the top of the shoulder to allow for that.

5.  Sew one of the shoulder seams together with right sides together (RST).  I serged the shoulder seams, but this really wasn't necessary.  You could leave them alone or zig-zag if you like.  I sewed the ribbed collar I unpicked in step one RST to the neck opening, starting at one of the open shoulder edges.  Then I turned and topstitched just below the seam to make it look nice and to hold the collar seam down.  My machine has a stretch stitch that looks like a lightening bolt - it's a narrow lapped zig-zag that allows a little bit of stretch in knits.  I like using this for seams where popping the seam is a possibility with a non-stretch stitch.  It's a tiny bit stretched out even though I was careful to let the machine feed it through, but it should ease back in the first time I wash it.

Sew the other shoulder seam.

6.  Run about 3' of a basting stitch at the top of the shoulders and pull the bobbin thread to gather slightly.

7.  With RST and starting at the outside edges, pin and sew the sleeves into the armholes with a stretch stitch.

8.  Matching the wrist edges, bottom edges, and armpit seams, pin and sew with RST the entire side seams.  I used the stretch stitch here as well.

9.  I put that contrasting knit tape to use and made a little bow at the collar.  I used the embroidery foot and tacked it down at the knot and bottoms, leaving the loops loose.  I turned the ends under because they weren't finished and would have unraveled.

Ta-da!  A quick and easy sweater dress.  It's a teensy bit big on Arden, but she's just moving into 4T clothing and that's mostly due to her long legs.  So, it should fit her all the way through this winter season and into spring.

She's been wanting to wear more dresses, and I'm more than happy to oblige if they're as easy to whip out as this one was.  I think I spent maybe an hour all together making this - including picking the collar out.

I think there are at least three more sweaters in my refashion drawer - I better get to work! 

This project was featured on:

I'll be linking this project at many of these great parties:

Mondays Making the World Cuter Monday – Making the World Cuter Made By You Monday – Skip to My Lou Craftastic Monday – Sew Can Do Making Mondays Marvelous – C.R.A.F.T. Market Yourself Monday – Sumo’s Sweet Stuff Creative Me Monday - The Southern Institute Tuesdays I Made It Without My Hubby – Shanty 2 Chic Sew Cute Tuesdays – Creative Itch Take a Look Tuesdays - Sugar Bee Craft Edition Shwin&Shwin Wednesdays We Did It Wednesdays – Sew Much Ado Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice - Seven Thirty Three Show & Tell – Blue Cricket Design Show Me What Ya Got - Not Just a Housewife Your Whims Wednesdays - My Girlish Whims Thursdays Strut-Your-Stuff – Somewhat Simple Make It, Wear It – The Train to Crazy It’s Stinkin’ Cute – Sew Stinkin’ Cute Show Off Your Stuff – Fireflies and Jellybeans Making It With Allie - What Allie's Making Now Pinspirational Thursdays - The ArtsyGirl Connection Fridays Furniture Feature Friday - Miss Mustard Seed Weekend Wrap Up Party – Tatertots and Jello Feature Yourself Friday – Fingerprints on the Fridge Friday Fun Finds – KojoDesigns Weekends Check Me Out Saturday – A Vision to Remember Show and Tell Saturday – Be Different Act Normal Sunday Scoop – I Heart Naptime Sunday Showcase Party – Under the Table and Dreaming A Pinteresting Party - Tutus & Tea Parties Sunday Roundup - A Rosie Sweet Home
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  1. This is too cute! I'd love to have you join my Pin Me Linky Party because this is an awesome idea! I'm going to pin it now! I am following you via GFC & Pinterest now.


    1. Thanks for linking up. My daughter pointed out that I have a few argyle Izod sweaters that I could convert for her.

  2. What a great idea! It looks so sweet on her!

  3. that turned out so cute! and what an adorable little model you have! :)

    1. So cute! I wish I still had a little girl to sew stuff girl is 10 and my boy doesn't like wearing dresses(neither would his father if I let him) Maybe I need to whip one up for my niece! Thanks for the great tute! I love upcycling stuff too. If you have some time come check out my blog

      Wendy :)

  4. Very cute! I love upcycling projects!

  5. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday over at Sugar Bee Crafts - you were featured today!!

  6. Oh, so cute :)
    You did a great job!

  7. I love it! Great colors, too. :)

  8. What a cute sweater makeover! I'm visiting your from Sumo's Sweet Stuff Linky Party. I am your newest follower on GFC and would love if you could come visit me too at Have a great weekend!

  9. What a great makeover! Reminds me of sweater dresses I used to wear in the 80's!

  10. this is very cute! I just saw it entered on project run and play (i'm also submitting an outfit). Very cute!

  11. Super cute! I love refashion projects...I just did some for my little girl but they weren't this cute!

  12. Really cute! And refashioning is cool!

  13. Adorable! I made a tiny sweater dress refashion for my baby girl ^_^


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