I had this idea for a felted coat for Clementine made from one of my old wool sweaters. I called my sister Elli who knits and asked her for some help. She explained that (and this is the gist of felting) you can basically wash the sweater in hot water repeatedly until it is the desired size, and that the wool fibers will tighten up so that you can cut  up the sweater and not worry about it raveling.

So I got right to it. I stuck the sweater in the wash and then dried it on high and lo and behold it was just about Clementine’s size. Sweet.

Array


{these two sweaters used to be the same size}

Next up was the hardest part. But I took a deep breath, and cut it right down the middle with the scissors.

Array

Array

Phew. Then I chopped the arms off:

Array

Not too hard. Maybe even easy! Next I cut the neck ribbing out:

Array

Easy peasy! I trimmed the bottom ribbing off.

Array


Looking pretty good! I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I’m on a ROLL. On FI-YAH.

How about some pockets?

Array

Array

Array

NO PROBLEM! See, I’m good at this, I’m making it happen, I’m a WHIZ. Watch me make a coat from a sweater in a snap, yeah???

OK, time to add a button tab and a zipper. Little strip of sweater = Button Tab. Trip to Joann = 12″ Sport Zipper.

Array

So I hit my first bump with the zipper when the sweater started stretched way more than the zipper and looked weird. OK. But I can roll with that. A little unsewing, a little basting, a little try-it-again. The next attempt was better, but still a bit bubbly:

Array

Array

But not too bad. I could probably just put this under the iron really quick, just steam it up a little, just flatten it out a bit. Right?

So…I put it under the iron AND THAT’S WHEN IT ALL WENT HORRIBLY WRONG. As I lifted up the iron I saw long red strings like hot glue. Seriously? No, joke, I had melted the zipper SHUT. Unbelievable.

Array

So that’s how that went. Learn from my mistakes.

Array

On the plus side, I can still get the zipper partially open. She can just wear it as a pullover, right? Kidding, sortof. Time to start unsewing again. *sigh*

Categories: Uncategorized
62 Comments
Share |

 
 
Share |

62 Responses to The (sad) tale of a sweater

  1. Chris says:

    I like the spin you’ve added here…”unsewing”. A new one to add to my vocabulary. Something I do far too often. :)

  2. Kimberly says:

    oh noes! that sounds terribly frustrating (esp if it means another trip out for a new zipper). I did this with an old sweater of mine several years ago and found that you really *really* have to hand baste the zipper in while it is laying flat if you want the zipper to not do that wiggly thing. yay for old wool sweaters getting new life & hope you have no more troubles along the way :)

    • Kristy says:

      Yes. Definitely must hand baste first. I cannot tell you how many times I have been forced to learn that lesson the hard way. (Sadly, it is more than once. I am stubborn.)

  3. I would totally have my daughter wear it as a pull over! Ha HA! I’m glad I’m not the only one who these things happen to.

  4. Bethany says:

    Oof. It’s still adorable! Would a walking foot help with stretching?

    • Rae says:

      B:

      Yes, I did use a walking foot…that in combination w/ the basting produced the “sortof wobbly” outcome you see here…so I’m thinking I’ll still have to put a facing of some sort on the openings first or handbaste it!

      :)

  5. Catherine says:

    Um, is that an old sweater from The Gap, circa early 2000′s? If so, I totally still have the same one!! And since it is ancient, pilled, and a biy short on me now, i will prob try the same thing you did (except try not to melt the zipper closed, of course) :)

  6. Maggie says:

    Now that is something I would totally do! It is looking so adorable, though and what a great idea!

  7. Venus says:

    UGH… the wretched iron! I haven’t melted any zippers, but I have melted those plastic round thingys on the ends of sewing pins.

    Great idea… now I gotta fish through all my old sweaters…

  8. Erin says:

    Oh no!! If this were me, I would be crying right about now.

  9. Jennifer says:

    So sad! But at least it’s not ruined! And, it’s going to be SOOO cute! What a great idea! Especially love adding the pockets…

  10. melissa says:

    what if next time you use starch spray to make it stiff before you sew in the zipper? I dont know if it would work, but it does on knits!

  11. meg says:

    zipper do suck the big time. buttons would be pretty cute….

  12. Barb says:

    Use Wonder Tape to hold the zipper in place prior to stitching. It’s a two sided 1/4″ wide tape that dissolves in water after you’ve completed it.

  13. Andrea says:

    Try putting a washable interfacing on the wool before sewing on the zipper. May help keep the wool from stretching. Thanks for the tips though! I am hoping to try this soon. My boy needs a new jacket but don’t know if he would go for one.

  14. stacia says:

    I work a ton with recycled felted sweaters. It might help to adjust the pressure of the foot so that it isn’t pressing so hard on the wool and stretching it out as much. also zigzag stitch works way better than straight stitch on the felted wool,and you can barely see it because it almost disappears into the fuzz. but zipper foot and zigzag are not very friendly with each other. how about buttons instead?

  15. Amber says:

    So sad about the zipper.

    Randomly, I had this sweater in college and my mom felted it on accident. I can’t remember what we did with it, but she bought me a J. Crew sweater as a replacement.

  16. Syl says:

    Oh man! I hate it when things like that happen! I’ve made several little coats like this over the years and a couple tips that might help for future projects:

    - even felted wool works better if stabilized so lining it with a woven fabric or at least stabilizing behind the pockets and underneath the zipper will go a long way to helping with the wobbles.

    -hand picking the zipper will eliminate the wobbles (also maybe a walking foot).

    -ironing felted wool can be tricky too because wool will never be done felting (it just gets less dramatic). Be sure to only use a dry iron on the wool setting and proceed carefully. I totally expected your story to end with the sweater shrinking more!

    Good luck and don’t give up! These little coats are awesome. My kids have all had them as fully lined coats (flannel and rip-stop for warmth and wind) as well as unlined fall jackets.

  17. Carolina says:

    What a great idea! Bummer about the zipper, but it looks like it will be a quick fix..:]

  18. kristin says:

    oh it’s sooo cute! you’re so close! i agree about trying to somehow interface the opening and/or going straight for buttons. i even have some cardigans where the button areas are reinforced with grosgrain ribbon, which would be pretty.

  19. erin says:

    So sorry about the zipper! At least it will be a quick fix at this point in construction. I hate doing things like that *after* completing the project. Ugh.

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been wanting to do the same thing with a sweater that my husband, um, felted for me. But I wanted to see it done, first. Plus, the comments on this post are super helpful!

  20. Tiphaine says:

    I’m just amazed that a zipper could melt !!! really ???!!!!!

  21. Brings back so many memories of my own disasters. I bet that you wave your magic wand and it comes out wonderfully though! Maybe more of a duffle coat design a la Paddington Bear?

  22. Laura says:

    I have done this too. I was working on a zip up sweatshirt, and I ended up turning it into a pullover, 3/4 closed and with a button to hold the neck closed.

    Laura

  23. Rae says:

    LOVE all of these suggestions!! Now to decide which to try! Thanks everyone, and keep the ideas coming! :)

  24. Sharon S says:

    It’s going to be so cute! Sometimes a piece of typing paper under the garment can help make it more stable. Just tear away when finished sewing. Can’t wait to see!

  25. Annalia says:

    That’s SO disappointing. :(
    I like to use vintage metal zippers (which I bought off of ebay). No melting!

  26. Amber says:

    The SAME EXACT THING happened to me when I was making a backpack for my son from your pattern. I swore I’d never use those sport zippers again, but we’ll see. I like how they are softer for kids. But ya, never get an iron anywhere NEAR those suckers!

  27. Liz says:

    With that headline I totally expected you to have ruined the sweater for good. But this looks fixable, don’t give up!

    On the bright side the melted plastic didn’t spread over the fabric, THAT would have been really sad! And I hope you didn’t ruin your iron. I once pressed some interfacing for about 15 seconds before I realized that I had the wrong (sticky) side facing up. Took me hours to clean that iron. You live and you learn, right?! :-)

  28. Brittany says:

    This made me giggle. I hate when you get a glitch when you are channeling the creative mojo. It was looking so cute too. Are you going to release a charlie dress pattern soon????? I have been loving the different ones you’ve made. I think you have some of the cutest patterns too! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Syndi says:

    The zipper part looks frustrating (and a mistake I definitely would have made). But, the the coat is adorable and a very smart idea!

  30. Beth says:

    It is still ADORABLE!!! Melted zipper and all ;) Thanks for the post, I have had a horrible afternoon and your “I am on FI-YAH!” really made me laugh out loud. Smiles~Beth

  31. Lauren says:

    What a bummer. Who would have guessed that zippers can melt. I would have just had Clementine wear it as a pull-over….less chance of her losing it :)

    Once I tried felting sweaters from the goodwill in a pot on the stove because they wouldn’t shrink in the wash. The whole house smelled like burnt hair. At least that didn’t happen to you ;) Good luck finishing.
    Lauren

  32. Grandma G says:

    Well, the coat was off to an awfully cute start! And I’m sure you’ll get it fixed up. Those kinds of zippers tend to be kind of ripply themselves, which doesn’t help any. I came quite near to melting one myself recently, in a purse. I only somehow managed to transfer a little fabric color to the natural-colored zipper… and still haven’t figured out how that happened! But it wasn’t bad enough to have to do anything about it. I can’t wait to see your finished coat!

    On another subject…. for some reason, when I try to leave a comment on your blog from my iPad, it locks up my browser (Safari). Every time. I have to go to my PC in order to comment. I can’t imagine why it would do that, but if you have someone “techy” that can figure it out and fix it, it would sure be appreciated. :) And is there no way to subscribe to the comment thread to get responses without having to come back to your blog to read them?

    • Rae says:

      Yes yes, true. I iron zippers all the time, so it never occurred to me that the sport zippers would melt!

      And thx for the feedback on the ipad issues, Grandma G. Will stick Mr Rae on that ASAP and see what we can do. I read blogs on Safari on my ipad all the time but I’m always too lazy to comment, so I guess I never noticed!!! :)

      • Grandma G says:

        It doesn’t do that on other blogs, though… just yours. :) Try leaving a comment here from your iPad and see if it happens for you. (?)

        • Rae says:

          You know, I did try leaving one from my ipad last night. And it worked fine…WEIRD. I have no idea what the problem could be. BTW are you coming back for the responses to your comments or are they getting mailed to you?

          • Grandma G says:

            I have to come back here to read the responses. I haven’t gotten any emails. I don’t see anywhere to subscribe to the comment thread. Did I miss something?

            I’ll have to try again from my iPad, I guess. I’ve ended up having to do a reset in order to get the browser back after it locked up when trying other times, though. :( I’ll let you know what happens…..

    • Rae says:

      Also, not sure about subscribing to comment thread…will look into that too.

      • Grandma G says:

        I still can’t comment from my iPad. I hit the “key” for the first letter, and it locks right up. I’ve gotten around having to reset the iPad, at least, but can’t figure out the rest. So if you don’t see me around here very often, you know why. ;(

  33. Oh man….sounds like how my week went with a tutorial I was working on that shall remain unnamed. I kept hearing my imaginary Tim Gunn saying “make it work Shannon, make it work” and sorry, Tim….I failed ya. I pulled a long standing project runway trick and scrapped the whole thing and whipped up something new. So you could always try that :)

    How about no zipper and cute toggle buttons instead? Sometimes walking away and taking a different approach can help. And thanks for the tip..never, ever iron a zipper. I will try and remember that when the time comes that I sew my FIRST zipper. Yep..never sewn one…I know..I’m a chicken s&*t..muahaha.

  34. dana says:

    oh MAN! it was so cute! Sorry about that. She can totally wear it as a pullover though. Can you zip the top portion at all?
    I love refashioning sweaters. It’s such a great cheating method, compared to really knitting something (ugh)

  35. Miranda says:

    That little jacket is super cute! I didn’t know you could melt a zipper, but they are made of plastic so it makes total sense.. I was also thinking that you were going to say that it shrunk more, which would be bad. At least a zipper can be taken out (again) and replaced. :)

  36. Stacey says:

    Ahh bugger!! But’s it so cute. Funny thing is just this past week I felted hubby’s good sweater, not once but twice by accident. First time it fit me (bonus!) next time, not so much. Was thinking of going again to get it to fit bub next Winter (Australian). Hope yours turns out!

  37. Jo says:

    Sorry, I know that it was not your first goal when starting this project, but you really made me laugh at this gloomy (grey weathers in the Netherlands) morning. The project is a winner though, it looks really cute and I think I will give it a try myself. Lots of old sweaters to be turned into jackets. Thanks for the idea and keep up the good spirits!

  38. kelly jo says:

    I LOVE this idea!! I have tons of old sweaters, and some that I’ve thrifted and I’m going to dig through them to find a new fall coat for my daughter!!! Awesome idea!

    • Maria says:

      Thank goodness for the Frog Stitch! (Rip it! Rip it! Rip it!) What would I do without it?

      Another aid might be stay stitching areas before cutting. I’ve found that helps. Example, I sew 2 parallel lines, close together where the zipper will be added, then cut between them with scissors or rotary cutter. I also stay stitch above the bottom ribbing, around the neck, etc., first, before cutting.

      That is one good thing about metal zippers – they don’t melt like the plastic ones do. They have their disadvantages too, though.

      Love what you’ve done with this sweater!

  39. Beth says:

    Put buttons and button loops on instead of a zipper! I’m definitely going to try this. I made a sweater dress from an old sweater, but hadn’t thought of a coat.

  40. Sue Murphy says:

    Your trial an errors made me smile…sorry! Thanks for sharing.
    A once adult sweater turned little tiny secret sweater is hiding in my closet. A BIG laundry oops… I have yet to confess to my oldest daughter. Hmm, do you think she’ll notice her little sister wearing a refashioned zip up that looks similar to a sweater she once owned?

  41. angie says:

    Oh good luck with finishing that zipper. I have NO doubt that you will do it fabulously as you do everything. Too freakin’ cute. I’d love to shrink my daughter down to fit something like this.

  42. Melissa says:

    So, the wonderful thing about this post is besides making me giggle and read in anticipation, you made me feel better for all the “unsewing” I have done lately! As well as burning things with an iron or not opening a zipper before sewing a bag together. The good news is, we *probably* won’t do those things again! Great idea and always fun to reuse our fashions for little ones. Thanks for sharing.

  43. like the sweater into a jacket. great idea! looks like an easy fix :)

  44. Chelsea says:

    Super cute idea though and I’m sure you’ll fix it. I’ve also been brainstorming winter-wear for my 15 month old boy!

  45. Sage says:

    Nooo, that stinks! But it’s still fixable, right? What a great idea to shrink the sweater in the dryer. This little sweater is so adorable. I love the colors–I want one too!

  46. TracyKM says:

    It’s fixable, but so annoying! It’ll be very cute when you’re done!
    Check out this link about what to do with ripply zippers:
    http://www.grumperina.com/knitblog/archives/2007/02/closing_the_bri.htm

  47. louise says:

    well, it was super cute! and will be again very soon! I’ve tried this before and it never worked. I can’t seem to chrink the ones I want to shrink!

  48. MBMeadows says:

    Love it. Makes me want to thrift a sweater for shrinkage or grab one from the underbed bin!

  49. Dacia says:

    sadness! but it is looking so super cute and what a great idea!! i love making new clothes out of already-made clothes. it’s so much easier!!

  50. Lindsay says:

    I have this same sweater and accidentally felted it a few years ago. I’ve been hanging onto it thinking I would make some sort of stuffed animal with it for my daughter, but now I might try to make one of these coats (although I think I’ll use buttons since I’m terrible with zippers).

  51. Darla says:

    Trying to make a winterish jacket for Case and would like to line it. Found the jacket you made for E. with the Peter Rabbit fabric which is lined at Sara’s. Do you have that pattern or instructions for lining somewhere on your site. Otherwise I will have to wing it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

seller’s program

I offer licenses for handmade sellers who would like to sell items made with my patterns on a small scale. To see all of the available licenses, visit the pattern page. For more information on the seller's program, please visit the seller's page.


My free patterns or tutorials are intended for personal use only. Thanks for respecting my wishes and supporting my shop!


Too busy to sew? Purchase a ready-made item from one of these sellers:
Big Butt Baby Pants Sellers List
Bonsai Bag Sellers List
Buttercup Bag Sellers List
Charlie Tunic Sellers List
Itty Bitty Baby Dress Sellers List
Lickety Split Bag Sellers List
Peekaboo Bonnet Sellers List
Pierrot Tunic Sellers List
Showoff Bag Sellers List
Toddler Backpack Sellers List

Please support the sellers listed here!

grab a badge

Copy and paste the button code below into an HTML widget or post editor: