Upcycled pullover for my sister

      PulloverI it is a tradition that I make my sister’s birthday present myself. There have been exceptions, but usually I like to make something for her. We are almost the same size so it is easy for me to sew for her.  My sister’s birthday was on last Saturday, so now I can present the pullover I made for her.

Upcycling is something that always excites me. Reet Aus, an Estonian, who made her Ph.D on upcycling, has always been my idol 🙂 Her team is now mass producing upcycled garments in Bangladesh (of garment production leftovers) which is unique in the world.

When I go to the thrift stores, I often pick up items not because I wish to wear them, but because they are made of good quality fabric. I usually pick up all silk items I can find 🙂 I also appreciate (merino) wool, cashmere, linen etc. [one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]My sister’s pullover is made of men’s merino pullover (with holes) and a silk pillowcase which I once dyed together with some other silks (this is the front piece lining). It used to be just off white. The only new fabric I used is the printed front piece. I decided to line the front piece to make the  pullover warmer. Because when your back and sleeves are covered with merino and your front is covered with thin rayon, your tummy may get cold 🙂

Keyhole Dress with Ruffled Collar , Burda Style Magazine 02/2014 #126


Can you see the holes in the front?
Can you see the holes in the front?


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As the front is non-stretch fabric, I had to use a pattern for non-stretch fabric as opposed to the pattern for jersey. I opted for the Keyhole Dress from Burda Magazine 02/2014. I changed the pattern a bit too. I narrowed the sleeve pattern, as I had stretch fabric for sleeves and I thought it would make a more flattering silhouette that way. I also wanted the bottom part of the pullover to be more slouchy/blousy. Therefore I lined the centre of front and back pattern piece with the folded edge of the fabric, put my finger on the centre neck point so that this part would not move and tilted the pattern further from the fold at the bottom – that way the bottom part went wider while the neckline stayed the same. I hope it makes sense 🙂

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But I started with taking the original merino pullover apart. First step was to unravel the neck binding. Usually this kind of bindings are attached to the garment with chain stitch. So you only need to clip one (and the right!) strand of yarn and when pulling it, the binding unravels giving you a nice binding piece with live stitches on both edges. You can use them to stitch the binding to your new garment. It is time-consuming as you can do it only by hand and you have to stitch public side and inside separately (in the garment industry, they have special equipment and technology to stitch the binding through the garment with one go).

I also hand stitched the zipper as I was absolutely sure that when I start machine stitch it, I will mess it up. I don’t mind hand-stitching at all, I find it very relaxing and it gives a little more something to the garment I think.

I hand stitched the binding using the yarn that I unraveled from the neck binding. I steam-ironed it to ger rid of the curls 🙂 But first I basted the binding in place.
I also covered the zipper tape with the print fabric tape to give a bit more luxurious feeling 🙂 This is also hand-stitched.

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The front is lined with the silk to give warmth. The silk also feels very nice against the skin.



I am happy with the result. So is my sister. Today she sent me a message saying that she is wearing the pullover right now and it feels so soft and warm! That makes me happy. And you do not get this kind of happiness when you buy and give something. This is why I like to make the presents for  my special people myself 🙂


Alexandria Peg trousers from Named Clothing


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Some time ago I visited the Named Clothing page  to take a closer look at their famous Jamie Jeans pattern. I don’t know why, but I have this urge to make my own jeans 🙂 But then I found out that Named had published their new spring/summer collection called Ticket from where I found Alexandria Peg Trouser pattern. Peg trousers are my other obsession. It is hard to find a pattern, that fits right. Alexandria pattern seemed the closest what I had in mind – not too baggy at the leg, quite fitted around bottom 🙂

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So I bought the Alexandria Peg Trousers pattern and with the help of my nine-year old daughter, we assembled the pattern. So far, the only print-at-home PDF patterns I have worked with are the Sewaholic ones. When assembling the pages I am always confused – you have to cut the excessive paper to tape the pages together. But should the frame be cut away, cut in the middle of or should the frame be incorporated? In other words, when the pattern is taped/glued together, should I see the frames of the pages? Because I find it hard to match the patterns – I usually have to cut some pages in half between the actual pattern pieces to get both pieces right.

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The Named patterns are for “average” height woman who is 172 cm. As I am short, I decided to  shorten the pattern body and leg.  I made the mistake of choosing a geometric pattern fabric for muslin. The pattern was too distracting and I somehow didn’t see the fitting issues with the muslin. Shortening the pattern in the body part wasn’t the right decision, so when cutting pieces out from the fabric I lengthened the pattern back 🙂

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The main fitting issue with these trousers were diagonal lines starting from inseam and going up towards the side seam. I am terrible at fitting pants, but I figured out, that the problem is too long inseam/too short side seam. As I couldn’t lenghten the side seam, I scooped the centre front and back waistline (quite dramatically, 4-5 cm) and also deepened the crotch.  That made the situation better but not perfect. I decided to leave them as they are – not perfect, because there wasn’t anything else I could do.  When I was ready to do the hemming, I decided to make cuffs to make the trousers full length instead of cropped. I got myself white sneakers which I had been craving for and I thought they would look great with my new trousers when they are full length.

I am in love with the front pockets and how the pleat covers the pocket opening. Well, I love everything about this pattern, it is just pity that my body type is not standard they consider.

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The fabric is really nice rayon/polyester crepe, BUT when I started to cut out the pattern pieces, I noticed that my hands where dyed grey. So I removed all the pattern pieces and washed the fabric. But nevertheless my hands where dyed bluish-grey afterwards when I were constructing the trousers. So later I washed the trousers two times and then soaked in salty water to fix the die. I am crossing my fingers that they will not dye my new white trainers!

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My next goal is to find a trouser pattern that I am satisfied with. I am thinking making myself a foolproof pattern so I don’t have to trial and error every time. Fitting pants is not my favourite 🙂  I sill have the jeans making urge, but I am not sure whether to use some Burda Style pattern or try the Jamie Jeans or maybe Ginger Jeans?

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Named Clothing Jamie Jeans


Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans
Burda Style Magazine 3/2014