The Red Sweater re-work

How do you all feel about re-working vintage garments?

I LOVE restoring vintage garments. There is nothing better for me than giving new life to a garment that has been around longer than me twice over. I also love repairing or taking a garment from graveyard status and re-working it to give it new life. When the person who gets it is thrilled with the results, there's no better feeling in the world.

As I was working on some of the many things I made and attempted to make for myself for Camp Hollywood last month, one project I did got a lot of unexpected attention!

My friend, and dance teacher is working out a trade with me. She brought me this sweater: mid-late 50's, cropped, short sleeve, cashmere, and cheery red. SO cute! Only, a sweater like this was made to be worn by itself. Meaning, nothing beneath. Lets just say that with wear, and a lot of dancing, it's had it's share of stress.




The arm pits were degraded making this garment unwearable. She had not worn it for months because the patching and such was just not doing it. So she gave me free reign to do what I wished. I told her a great patch of fabric with a cute pattern would make the sweater pop.

Because the underarms were so worn, and the rotation of that area is on the shoulder, I decided to cut the fabric on the bias. What I had to decide was how I was going to add the extra fabric.


To make the design look more intentional and less like a patch, I carried the fabric across the shoulders and back. That meant cutting away the shoulder. I decided to mimic the design to the seams of the sleeves. 

First things first were to make a pattern from the marked area. I laid the grain to where the shoulders would be straight on the grain, and the front, back and underarms would be bias, giving more flexibility when dancing.

The pins were so I remember which was the front part of the sleeve.

Then it was time to cut. 


I overlocked the knit and basted the cut edge so it would not stretch out. 
I cut out the fabric and matching the points, laid it in place and put the whole thing together.


It came out great! 
So great in fact that she wore it in competition


I had NO IDEA and was thrilled!

How about you all. How often do you re-work a long gone vintage item?

10 comments:

  1. Oh how crafty and much fun to see the top in action. Great job!

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  2. That is such a great idea! And its actually in keeping with the whole make do and mend vibe of the 1940's.

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  3. Genius idea. I've taken pullover sweaters and turned them into cardigans but this is a terrific enhancement as well as a fix. Bravo!

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  4. I've not ever done anything like that. great ideas and great job!

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  5. This is so cute and a really clever solution! I'm going to file this idea away for sure!

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  6. Beyond my skills but looks great!

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  7. I've rebuilt endless vintage, and the issue of 'do I remake or remodel' always tears at my heart. Should I bring it back to what it was, or do I make it into something 'vintage-y'? And then, is there enough of it to do the job? If it's a 'not getting worn because of too much wear' matter, I don't let my conscience bother me, I use it for what I can get out of it. If it's just a matter of size, sometimes I let it go (recently had to give up beautiful but way too small fifties ballgowns) because it shouldn't be potholders, it should be loved for what it is.
    Saw the most beautiful corset yesterday, which I loved a lot less when she told me what she cut up to assemble it. Then there are days when I am much less of a purist.

    That said, good rescue!

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  8. This is such a great, clever fix. I'm all for altering vintage pieces to be wearable, especially if they have huge holes in them like this sweater.

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  9. I bought a really cute '40s seersucker "hostess" gown. It has short sleeves, a peplum, and zip up the front. However, at 5'9" tall, the long skirt wasn't quite long enough and looked silly on me. There were also tears along the hem. So I opted to cut off the skirt to knee length and solve both problems. I felt pretty terrible doing this though as it was lovely on its own. But it gets worn now! I think you did a great job!

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  10. Eileen, that's a practical use of something to get it worn. Ive hemmed skirts for other people to get them to a wearable condition. Dont feel bad about that. USe the excess fabric and make pot holders! :D

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