Refashion It! Sweater Dress to Cowl Neck


sweater dress refashion by thisblogisnotforyou.comI used the last days of my Christmas break for some quick refashion projects. I have a huge pile of old or thrifted clothes I keep for refashion projects and recently, a friend gave me a bunch of cute dresses and sweaters that doesn’t fit her anymore.

One of these was this cute grey sweater dress which was not very flattering and a bit too short for my liking. I decided to make it into a sweater and use the excess fabric for a cosy cowl neck.

sweater dress refashion by thisblogisnotforyou.comsweater dress refashion by

This was my first time sewing with knits – not as bad as I had imagined. I had some troubles with the hem of the sweater as is kept curling up, but I’m thinking about using some leftover black jersey to combine with the sweater and make a more flattering sweater dress in the future. As soon as I get my overlocker, these problems will be over, hopefully. For the time being I’ll just hide away the hem 🙂

sweater dress refashion by

I tried the dress on and marked the new hemline with a safety pin. Using tailor’s chalk I marked the line for cutting the fabric (left side of fabric).sweater dress refashion by

With my overlocker foot I carefully sewed two seams on either side of the marked line using a stretch stitch setting for finishing raw edges.

For sewing knitted fabrics, I recommend using ballpoint needles. They’re not too expensive (these were  3 pounds) and they have teeny tiny balls at the tip of the needle which prevent the yarn from breaking when sewing over it.sweater dress refashion by thisblogisnotforyou.comsweater dress refashion by

sweater dress refashion by thisblogisnotforyou.comAfter sewing two rows on each side of the marked line, use your fabric scissors and carefully cut the two pieces apart. The seams will prevent the knitted fabric from fraying. Be careful not to pull the seams as this will stretch the fabric and it will start to fray.sweater dress refashion by thisblogisnotforyou.comFinish the hem of the sweater. Then sew the cut-off part onto the neckline (left side up, so the right side is showing when turning the cowl neck inside out).
sweater dress refashion by thisblogisnotforyou.comI’m quite happy with how it turned out, although I this this technique probably would work even better with a sweater that has a slightly higher neckline (for a more snug fit).

The skirt was a refashion project from last year.sweater dress refashion by

This little refashion can be done in less than an hour and is a perfect project for starting to sew with knits.

You could also use two sweaters in different colours to make a colour-blocked cowl neck sweater.

Please note: You might not want to use an ancient sweater that has been in the laundry every week since you bought it – the knitted fabric might be strained and tear easily when sewing over it.


Happy Sewing!

Stay in touch!

Refashion It! The Shirred Scarf Tutorial

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Now that exams are over, I had a little time here and there to sew and finish some things that were lying around for months. Dress #8 of my 27 Dresses Challenge is practically finished. The weather here in London just hasn’t been good enough to take proper pictures. So check out the blog at the beginning of the week if you’re interested in seeing the ‘ugliest dress I’ve ever sewn’ 🙂

Until then, here’s a quick and easy tutorial for the weekend.

It’s time for upcycling some old scarfs for summer!

All you need:

-a scarf (lightweight fabric such as silk, chiffon, …). Choose a scarf that is long enough. Consider that after shirring it will be only half as long as it used to be!

– elastic thread (and a sewing machine!)

shirred scarf tutorial by

Wind an open bobbin with your elastic thread, not too tight and not to loose. Machine winding with your sewing machine might wind it too tight. If you’re too impatient winding it by hand, you can do it with your machine, holding the thread in your hand. That way you’re able to control the tension and it doesn’t get too tight.shirred scarf tutorial by

Insert the bobbin as usual. You can make the bobbin thread tension tighter, if your machine has that option. I just left mine how it was and it worked fine.

Pull the bobbin thread up manually. Make sure it doesn’t pop back into the machine (this happens when you don’t pull up enough thread).shirred scarf tutorial by

Set the machine to a straight stitch and a long stitch length (like a basting stitch).shirred scarf tutorial by

Sew two parallel rows, both the same distance from the side edge.  Don’t start directly at the upper edge, but a few inches below.

While sewing, hold the fabric behind the needle with your left hand and pull slightly. Don’t let it ruffle until you’re done. With your right hand keep the fabric straight while sewing. shirred scarf tutorial by

Before cutting the thread make sure you pull enough elastic thread out, otherwise it will pop back into the machine and you’ll have to pull it up again. You could also backstitch, but I didn’t want it to show on the scarf.

Cut the thread and use a needle to pull the upper thread through the fabric. Knots several times on the left side of the fabric before cutting the ends off.shirred scarf tutorial by

You could also sew the two rows of shirring closer together to get an even more fluffy scarf. Try it out with a few old scarf or scraps of fabric to see what works best for you.shirred scarf tutorial by thisblogisnotforyou.comshirred scarf tutorial by thisblogisnotforyou.comshirred scarf tutorial by thisblogisnotforyou.comshirred scarf tutorial by

Refashion It! Adding Uniqueness to Your Clothes with Buttons

adding buttons to simple clothes by

We are starting this week with buttons! Why? – Because everyone love buttons! (If you don’t, please leave a comment saying why!)

I will share some more crafty button ideas later on, but let’s start with refashioning some clothes (because that’s what we love as well!).

What we don’t like at all? Spending loads of money shopping just to see her with the same shirt or dress a day later.

Adding some –  fun – cute – nifty – buttons to your clothes makes them unique in only a few minutes. And you don’t need to be a seamstress to add some spice to your style. Just needle and thread – and buttons.

Especially skirts and shirts are great to refashion with a handful of pretty buttons. Here are some of my button-ideas:

adding buttons to simple clothes by

This simple tank top got sprinkled with super cute mini buttons I bought during one of my trips to Oslo. (This city has the best craft shop ever!)

adding buttons to simple clothes by


This sexy black mini skirt seemed rather plain after a while, especially because I already have a similar one. So it got some posh golden buttons. Six buttons make a lot of difference, don’t you think?

adding buttons to simple clothes by

This skirt was already pretty cute, but I (of course!) saw someone wearing it only a few days after I bought it. Which made me do what? – Add some buttons.adding buttons to simple clothes by

Two handful of silver buttons. Looks a bit more rock star now.

adding buttons to simple clothes by

This cute skirt had done nothing wrong. It got some buttons anyway. I picked buttons in different sizes and in the same colours as the hearts/keys/locks. (To add more cuteness to the cuteness)

More button ideas coming up soon!


 this post was featured:A Jennuine Life Thrifty to Nifty Thursdays Feature

Refasion It! The Embellished Sweater {DIY appliqué}

Last week I went bargain hunting for some easy weekend upcycling projects. (I wrote about it in my “When a Crafter goes Shopping” post and explained my “method” of selecting the clothes.)

Now it’s time to share my first finished project with you: the embellished sweater.
embellished sweater

embellished sweater

When I saw Trash to Couture’s post a few weeks ago, I wanted to try a knock-off project.
Unfortunately I didn’t have any nice appliquĂ©s, so I postponed the project.

But when I went shopping last week, lucky me found a nice top with a faux leather insert. When I saw it I immediately had to think of the Trash to Couture DIY sweater, so I bought it. I also found a matching anthracite-coloured sweater that was even cheaper than the top.

embellished sweater

embellished sweater

The faux leather insert wasn’t embroidered, which wasn’t that bad since I had the beads and everything to do it myself at home.

I have to admit, as easy as it was, you need to have patience. A. Lot. Of. Patience.
I am normally not very much blessed with patience, but after weeks of essay writing and other assignments it was a welcome change.

embellished sweater

I started with simply removing the faux leather from the rest of the top. The white fabric will be used for one of the next projects.

embellished sweater

After trying different combinations, I decided to use some dark blue, brown and champagne-coloured beads that matched the sweater as well as the gold-brown faux leather.

appliqué DIY

Appliqué DIYappliqué DIY

To explain the embroidering part: A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a copy of a page of Burda Magazine. I know, it’s German, but the pictures are pretty self-explanatory.burda embroidering instructions

I used the mannequin for pinning and basting the appliqué to the sweater.embellished sweater

embellished sweater

After basting I handstitched the appliqué onto the sweater. Then I cut the remainder of the sweater on the inside, leaving a small seam allowance, and finished the seam to keep the knitted fabric from fraying.embellished sweater

embellished sweater

I love how the sweater matches the petticoat I made a few months ago. Fortunately I still have some of the butterfly fabric left and will definitely make a pleated skirt out of it in the future.
embellished sweater

embellished sweater


When a Crafter goes Shopping

Over the whole last week I was planning to do something crafty this weekend. Last night I sat down with a bunch of Burda magazines and a cardboard box full of fabric, determined to find the perfect weekend sewing project. Well, things always end up differently than you think. In the end, no fabric and no pattern was good enough and the only thing that I really liked would have been another massive project. This morning I decided to try something quick and easy – quick success can be really motivating!

I went shopping.

This sounds easy indeed (it wasn’t that quick though).
I must have looked a little weird wandering through the store, touching this garment, touching that garment, trying on nothing and in the end buying oversized clothes from the men’s department. If someone had asked me what I wanted to do with those I would have said “Cut them to pieces.”

upcycling cheap clothes 1

And this is what I will do this weekend. Making pretty garments out of cheap, too big and poorly-made clothes. This is also why I tried to buy them as large as possible – more fabric, more options.

Why I bought men’s clothes? Well, for some projects I have on my mind, I’ll need shirting fabric and it’s really hard to find other than white one in the women’s department. And, guess what, men’s XL is bigger than a women’s XL. Plus, there are a lot of great fabric stores in London, but fabric’s rather expensive there.

I also came up with a new resolution for this year: Not to buy clothes from cheap and popular department store chains without completely altering them from scratch. For when I went shopping the last time and was really satisfied with my finding, I ended up wearing the same thing as two other people from my class. What a bummer!

Here are the “rough diamonds” I found:

black lace

Beautiful black lace that was supposed to be some kind of ill-fitting dress.

shirt fabric white bicycles

 A navy blue men’s shirt with cute little bicycles on it.

shirt fabric white dotsThis shirt is so big, it’ll make a cute little summer dress!

 upcycling cheap clothes

This one is my favorite! It’s exactly what I needed for a DIY project knock-off I’ve been itching to do for weeks! Be ready for suprises! I’ll keep you posted.