Friday, July 24, 2015

Hello Felt Tips and Tricks: Making an Old Sweater New Again




Hi there! Hello Felt is back with more Tips and Tricks, and felty news I hope you can use. :o)

Here in the US, we are in the middle of summer, and it has been muggy here lately. Whew! We are not used to mugginess at the coast. But this is what we have, so we will make do. Good thing my studio has A/C, I am all set here. This means I can still work on wool without much displeasure.... or sweating. We don't like sweating over here either!

Recently, I had a long-time client bring me a batch of beloved sweaters that she wants me to rework. The sweaters are heirloom pieces she has owned and worn with love, as well as pieces from her family. One her mother knitted, and wore much of her adult life. So sentimental, it's almost impossible to throw away these wonderful knit garments. So we are going to rework them. 

As I am working on them, I have selected a few photos to share with you. But, I am so sorry that I did not take any Before photos. I am so bad at these things sometimes! The sweaters all looked pretty terrible, and it didn't even occur to me to take any before pictures... that is, until I finished the first one, and saw such an amazing transformation! So, the only Before photo is this one here. You can see the huge hole on the front of the sweater, which unfortunately makes the sweater pretty much unwearable. 


This lovely sweater (above) by Beau Tricot was repaired by mending the holes, and needle felting a design over the top. The two sleeves were badly damaged, so I actually removed them, and switched them out with another pair of sweater arms (Yes! It CAN be done!) The tutorial for this sweater repair will be a part of my upcoming Hello Felt Needle Felting course, specifically, the Flat Needle Felting lesson, which you can learn more about here

Never fear, I am going to show you how I mended another one of her sweaters.... 

The second sweater, which again, I have no (ugly) Before photo. This sweater is a beautiful (and costly, I might add) Eileen Fisher linen tape knit sweater. The owner had gotten a large nasty stain on the front, it appeared to be oil of some type, and she had no luck in getting the stain out. The stain was approximately 1" by 2" long. Very unsightly, and rendered the sweater unwearable. As she loves the sweater dearly, she brought it to me for ideas on how to salvage the piece.

We discussed adding a pocket, but she really liked adding an artsy band of felted wool, much like what I had done in the hummingbird pillow, below. 


So, I found a bit of striped felted sweater wool in my overflowing stash, with a color palette that suited her Eileen Fisher sweater beautifully.

I began by 2" wide cutting strips of the felted wool. (Side note: felted wool is wool you have washed and shrunk, so when you cut it, it doesn't unravel)


Then I pinned the strips carefully in place. Since only one strip might look "weird" or out of place, I added 3 strips to the sweater in several areas on the front and back of the sweater, even though we only needed one to cover over the stain. When doing this type of repair work, it is most desirable to make the sweater look like these design elements were intentional from the start. 


You might note how I made sure to lay the strip of wool evenly in place along the knit lines of the garment, meaning the vertical placement of the strip matched up with the vertical lines of the knitting. In the photo above, my finger is pointing to the place where I covered up the stain. 

I pinned the strips in place, and then I used Liquid Stitch sewing glue to lightly glue down the edges of the strips. I let the glue dry for about an hour, and then I stitched the strips down with black embroidery floss. 



In the photo below, you can see again how I lined up the strip of felted wool with the knit lines of the garment. Little details like this mean your repair work looks intentional and neat, and not like something you did haphazardly. I'm sure people will comment when my client wears the sweater how artsy she dresses! 


Here's the remade sweater, all fixed up: 






Now, go take a look for a few stain marked sweaters in your closet (I know they're there!), and see if there's a way for you to breathe some life back into them. Artsy ladies, that we are!

xx,
Val

PS. My Hello Felt FLAT Needle Felting course is about to go LIVE! You can find out more by clicking on this link, or look at the course specifics here. I certainly hope you will join me by learning this wonderful craft!


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