A Good Day at the Thrift Store – Wool Sweaters

I have been driving around with a bin full of donation items to take to the thrift store for about a month now. Today while I was out and about I decided to drop them off. It felt great to let that stuff go, however I just couldn’t pass up a quick stroll through the store. I had to go in and see if they had any “good” used wool sweaters for all my upcycling projects. I am afraid it is an addiction. An upcycled wool sweater is the best!

It’s not very often that I find a lot of “good” wool sweaters, but today was my lucky day. Not only do I rarely find a lot of nice sweaters to felt, but GREEN ones. I love green, and a green wool is even better! Shades of green just come in handy for so many of my upcycled projects and designs. Today I hit the jackpot.

The best time to pick up sweaters is in the summer at garage or tag sales. Stores will start putting them on sale in the spring.

So what defines a “good” sweater?

Well on my terms, a good sweater is:

  • One that has at least 70% wool content. (This allows them to shrink up real nice and tight).
  • Has unique, rich colors
  • The bigger the better (Men XL size sweaters give you more yardage).
  • Has fun stripes or simple designs on the sweaters.

Things to avoid when purchasing a wool sweater:

  • Look out for holes.  Especially when purchasing wool sweaters.
  • Really bulky sweaters. When you felt the sweater it will get even bulkier. Depending on your project, too bulky sweaters can be hard to work with.  However, sometimes there may be a need for a real thick nap).
  • Too thin of a sweater. (Again, depending on your project)  Cashmere sweaters are usually thin and very soft. This type of sweater is great for hand warmers and ponchos, but not so great for a pair of slippers.
  • Think about your inventory. Don’t overspend on colors you already have a ton of or on sweaters that are just so, so. Resist the need to buy every wool sweater you find or you will end up with bins and bins of sweaters. (Believe me, sweaters take up a lot of room).

If you are not familiar with how to “felt” (shrink and tighten the fibers of your sweater), here is a link to a FREE online course that I teach. You’ll love it!

This is such a great time of the year to get out your felted sweaters and make something fun. If you live where it is cold right now, like I do, there are tons of things to make with felted wool.

Mittens, HATS, Scarfs, HAND WARMERS, slippers, Valentine Heart Hand Warmers and HEARTS, Bunnies & Bears, Baby Toys, flowers, BAGS, and even birds.

Don’t forget to save your scraps when cutting out your upcycled wool sweater felted wool projects. There are a lot of fun things to make with this crafting gold!

 

So get out your wool sweater stash. (If you don’t have one yet, after one felted sweater project you soon will have one). An upcycled sweater is fun stuff to work with!

Get out your scissors, sewing machines and turn on some soothing music, or a good podcast, and enjoy a day of creation!

The patterns to make most of these projects can be located in my Etsy shop or here on my website.

here are some more sweater upcycled wool sweater posts you may be interested in.

Let me know if you have any questions or any great tips to share.

DIY: Upcycled Sweater Slippers

Keep your feet warm this winter with a cozy pair of upcycled sweater slippers.  If you like to sew, these slippers are fun to make and are quite easy to make. You can  use upcycled felted wool sweaters, mixed fiber sweaters and even fleece.  The PDF patterns can be purchased from my Etsy shop and can be downloaded instantly.

Upcycled Sweater Slippers

Here are 5 different upcycled sweater slippers styles to choose from

The Basic Slipper

This is one of the first slipper patterns I designed. Simple, basic and cozy.

Upcycled Sweater Slippers

Elf Slippers

This pattern is for infants and children.

Upcycled Sweater Slippers

Adults get your whimsy on.

Upcycled Sweater Slippers

The Crossover Slipper

These slippers look more difficult to sew, but they are actually one of the easiest pair of slippers to make.

Upcycled Sweater Slippers

Slipper Boots

For those of you who don’t want the warmth to stop at the ankles.

Adult, child and infant sizes are available.

Upcycled Sweater Slippers
Upcycled Sweater Slippers

Bowling Slippers

Upcycled Sweater Slippers

This is the perfect time to whip up a pair of cozy, foot lovin slippers for Christmas!

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DIY: Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

spiral beanie
Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

The contoured curvy panels give your head a comfy, head hugging fit, that is so comfortable to wear.

Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

Pattern includes six different sizes. (6-12 month, Toddler, Child 3-10, Youth, Adult Large, Adult X Large).

Mix it up by using different sweaters and colors or use all the same color. The variations are endless and it is even REVERSIBLE!

Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

You can expose the seams on the outside for a more distinct pattern design or flip the seams to the inside for a smooth flat look.

Fleece works great too.

Material and Items Needed:

• Sewing machine
• Fleece or upcycled sweaters
• Scissors
• Pins
• Fleece strip for binding

This really is a fun and easy sewing project.

The pattern is available right here in my shop, on Craftsy or Etsy.

With the holidays are coming up, now is a great time to get your sewing machine out and whip up a few of these for Christmas gifts.

I do offer pattern bundle deals in my Etsy shop. Any 5, Any 4, Any 3, Any 2.

Upcycled Sweater Spiral Beanie

Find some wool sweaters and fleece and give this sewing project a WHIRL!

 

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How To Measure Hands For Mittens

valentine gifts

This was one of the first patterns I designed using upcycled wool sweaters. I tweaked and adjusted this pattern until these mittens fit perfectly. Unlike some of the other mitten patterns I tried to make that were way too bulky for my liking. This pattern has been a great little pattern, simple, to the point and easy to make. However, after many years, I felt the pattern instructions and the pattern itself needed to be cleaned up a bit, so I have made a few updates. Not only did I update the look of the pattern I added a sizing chart with instructions on how to measure hands for mittens.

I get a lot of inquiries regarding what size would fit a certain age and how to know what size to make. Age has no relevance because hand measurements vary so much with age. Hopefully this sizing chart will be helpful in choosing the size you need and make you feel more confident that the mittens you sew up will actually fit.

How to measure your hands

Measure the width and the length of your hands using a measuring tape. If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can wrap a string around your hand and then measure the string using a ruler.

How To Measure Hands For Mittens

Width Measurement:

Wrap a tailor’s measuring tape around your dominant hand just below the knuckles, excluding your thumb, and make a fist. This measurement is your “hand width” mitten size.

How To Measure Hands For Mittens

Length Measurement:

Measure from the bottom edge of palm to the tip of your middle finger to determine your “finger length” size.

*When between sizes, go up a size.

How To Measure Hands For Mittens

As a general guide:

Toddler sizes range from 3.5 – 5.5 inches in width.

Kids sizes range from 6 – 7.5 inches.

This pattern includes SEVEN different sizes, and can be located here in my Etsy shop or here in my Craftsy shop.

I also have an infant and child pattern for those wee little hands.

How To Measure Hands For Mittens
How To Measure Hands For Mittens

If you would like to purchase the pattern, go to either shop for a quick INSTANT DOWNLOAD.

 

Subscribe to my blog to make sure you get future pattern updates and other upcoming tips and tricks.

Happy Winter Sewing!

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Easy To Make Upcycled Skirts

upcycled skirts

It’s boot and skirt weather! The air is getting cool and crisp and what a great time to throw on your tights and skirts.  In the office, running errands or even keeping house, a skirt, some tights and a pair of boots are a great GO TO for any occasion. I love wearing skirts in the winter.

upcycled skirts

A few years ago I designed a skirt pattern for girls and had intentions of making a women’s pattern but never got around to it until now. These two skirt patterns are so easy to make up, and better yet, you can recycle some of your clothes to do it.

Whether you want the length of the skirt to be just above the knee or mid thigh, the pattern is adaptable. The comfortable fold down yoga waistband makes it easy to get on and off and is easy to sew.

Here are a few tips when choosing fabric or recycled clothing for your skirts.

  • Large sweaters either cotton/synthetic blends or wool blends are great for the eight panel skirt.
  • Check the clearance sections for long knit skirts or dresses. They have a lot of yardage and can be used either for another skirt or the waistbands of other skirts. (Check the fabric content. If they have a high percentage of spandex, and it is a good color and quality, most likely the clearance item will be cheaper than buying fabric. Spandex fabric at the fabric store can be quite expensive and the selection is usually poor).
  • Don’t forget to check the thrift stores and yard sales for sweaters and skirts to use as fabric yardage.
  • If using sweaters, be sure to check for any holes before cutting out.
  • Try to use fabric or sweaters that are similar in weight for the same project.
  • If using wool sweaters, either felt them before sewing, or make sure you hand wash the skirt in cold water. (Shrinking the sweater before may make it too dense to use for a skirt).
  • Use your creativity to come up with some fun color and texture combinations.
  • Add trim and embellishments if you want to get real creative.

The pattern for these easy to make upcycled skirts include women sizes 2-14 and is available in my Etsy shop or Craftsy shop.

upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts
upcycled skirts

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