Monday, December 3, 2012

Upcycled Scarflet and Arm-Warmers!

I've made a set like this as a gift before, but this time I had been saving this particular sweater for MONTHS to make this particular gift.  Therefore, I was unable to properly contain myself and wait until some special event like CHRISTMAS or something to give this gift--I had to go and give it practically a month in advance, under the guise of wanting the recipient to be able to use it for more of the cold-weather season.  And (selfish me!) so that I could post it in advance of the holiday, in case any of my readers wanted to make something similar as a holiday gift!  So we all win.

Ta da!  How cute is she!?

This sweater had belonged to my friend's grandmother, and while the sweater itself wasn't the right fit or style for my friend to wear, the lovely wool was definitely perfect for upcycling into something she would get a lot of use out of.  I found this tutorial for a cute little scarf, which would leave me enough of the sweater to also make the armwarmers from this tutorial.  BUT, because I know myself well enough by now, I decided to have a trial run on a less-important sweater before cutting into Nana's.

This was a genius move, because while the first set turned out fine, I did learn some things along the way that made making the gift set much easier.  For example, I wasn't in love with the seam right in front of the scarflet.

Just realized that my top looks like a hospital gown when you can't see the rest of it.
Not too happy about that.

In the tutorial, you cut three pieces for each side of the scarf--
the two triangles for the tips, and the rectangle in the middle.

So, when I made the blue set, I cut the "middle" pattern piece in half and taped it to the triangular "end" piece, so each side of the scarf has just one seam, in the back. (Printable pattern pieces found in the original tutorial here.)

Two pieces for the front, two pieces for the back.
Adapted pattern piece shown in the middle.
I did find my scarf to be a little shorter than I would like, so I marked my pattern piece so I would remember to add an extra inch of length the next time I make this (making it two inches longer overall, since you cut two pieces and sew together).  For reference, the rectangular pattern piece that you tape to your triangle should be 7.5 inches long.

So now, you only have one seam to sew on each side of the scarf rather than two--just sew your two pieces together, right sides facing.

Once you make your loop, you will have all of the pieces you need:

BUT, if you attach the loop for tucking the end of the scarf after you've sewn the scarf and turned it right side out as shown in the tutorial, then you have to hand-sew the loop into place.  Well, I think you know how I feel about hand sewing.  The beautiful thing is that if you attach the loop BEFORE sewing the scarf pieces together, then you can do it on the machine!  Because your stitches won't go through onto the back piece that way.

Start by pinning one end of the loop in place, and sew it down with a straight stitch.

Then carefully pin the other end of the loop down.

Then work your sewing machine right through the loop to sew the other side down.  Make sure you stitch far enough over so that the loop is completely sewn down--I had to stitch it twice because the outside part of my loop was hanging open the first time.

When you're finished, you'll have this:

Another thing--my loop turned out a little too big.  I actually still need to go back and tighten it up on the set I gave my friend.  Err on the side of smaller for the loop, so it actually holds the other end of the scarf in place.

Once the loop is on, you can pin the scarf, right sides together. If the edges don't match up exactly, trim them off.  I did it before sewing but you could do it after too.

Sew all the way around, leaving an opening to turn it right side out.  I left my opening in the back center, the least-seen part of the scarf.

As far as the armwarmers go, I learned that a 2.5 inch opening for the thumb is TOO BIG.  Two inches is about perfect.  It does make topstitching the thumb opening on your machine a little trickier, but it's definitely still possible.

Also, if you're using a tight knit like the one I gave my friend, 8 inches might be a little tight unless you have really narrow hands/arms.  Which luckily my friend does.  I definitely recommend stretching as you sew the hem the end though.  Which reminds me--SO much easier to hem if you do that BEFORE you sew the armwarmer into a tube.

Slim little arms!

And now to really throw you off, if you are using a sweater with ribbing at the end (like what's recommended in the tutorial), 8 inches at the "fingers" end of your armwarmer may actually be too big.  I have been wearing the first pair that I made, and the ribbing has been stretching out.  I'm going to take in the hand section.  I would recommend tapering when you cut--start with maybe 7 inches at the ribbing and widen to 8 inches for the top of your armwarmer.  And then still stretch as you hem.

And guess what?  The tutorial shows cutting your armwarmers out of the body of your sweater, BUT most likely the sleeves are plenty wide to make an armwarmer!  Then you can keep the body of the sweater intact to make something else--like, say, a matching scarflet.  Brilliant, right?

I have to say, the armwarmers are great.  A really quick gift, but super-practical!  I LOVE mine because I can use my touch-screen phone and keep my hands warm--and also button kids' coats, help with shoes, etc.  I know that fingerless gloves are nothing new but I've never had any, and I think these are awesome!

The best part of this activity was making my friend pose for me with her gift. She was such a good sport! It was like when we were in high school, and we used to create outfits and take pictures of each other "modeling" in my backyard.

Gazing into space
Glamour shot
Although if any of those old pictures ever turn up on the internet she will be in SUCH TROUBLE.  So I won't be posting any outtakes from this shoot...

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