19 Intelligent Methods to Refashion Your Garments
Sweater to Mittens = Smittens DIY
Looking for the perfect DIY gift? You can make a pair of cozy, warm, fleece lined mittens from a couple of outdated sweaters in under an hour. I like to call these “Smittens.” Your friends and family will love receiving a unique pair of earth friendly, handmade Smittens this holiday season.
Things You’ll Need
- Two coordinating sweaters
- 1/4 yard of fleece
- Measuring tape
- Pins, needle, thread
Cut off one of the sweater arms to use for the mitten top.
Pin and cut two mitten tops (pattern piece #3) from the sweater sleeve. If you’re using a striped sweater, be sure to match the stripes.
Cut 4 inches off the bottom of each coordinating sweater sleeve. Set these aside for later to use for the mitten cuffs.
Pin and cut two pieces of pattern piece #1 and pattern piece #2 from the coordinating sweater.
Your outer mitten pieces will look like this. It’s a good idea to lay them out this way to ensure you will end up with a right and a left mitten.
Place the right sides together like the photo. This is very important so you don’t end up with two left thumbs.
Pin together matching the marks on the pattern. Start at one pin and sew around the mitten to the other pin with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Open this piece and place it on the mitten top piece with right sides together.
Pin and sew around the outside edge of the mitten with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave the bottom open.
Repeat this process with the fleece lining pieces.
Turn the lining right side out and place the cuff over the bottom edge of the lining with right sides together. Line up the raw edges and sew a 1/4 inch seam around the bottom edge of the mitten lining.
Turn the fleece lining inside out.
Place the lining on your hand.
Turn the outside of the mitten right side out and slide it over the lining so now wrong sides are together.
Fold the cuff up over the raw edge and attach with a button.
And now you have the perfect, inexpensive, DIY gift- a unique pair of warm and toasty Smittens.
Things You’ll Need
- Quality pullover that has a great pattern
- Tape measure
- Contrasting fabric
- Sharp pair of scissors
- A button
- A thick hair elastic
First cut two strips of fabric that are 2 inches wide and 2 inches longer than the front of your sweater.
Fold under 1/4 inch on the long side of each strip and press. Choose a button and cut an elastic hairband in half.
Cut up the center front of the sweater.
With right sides together, pin the unpressed sides of each strip to the raw edge of the center cut you just made.
Determine where you will want the button closure then fold the hairband in half and pin it under the fabric strip with the ends facing in. Sew each of the unpressed sides of the fabric strips to the raw edges of the center sweater cut.
Flip the fabric strips over and press a quarter inch down on the other edge of each fabric strip. Also fold and press each end of the fabric strips.
Fold over each fabric strip so wrong sides of the strip and sweater are facing together and raw edges are hidden now. Pin in place.
Topstitch around all four edges of the fabric strip. Add the button.
Stay toasty warm and look good doing it. Mr. Rogers would be so proud!
DIY Upcycled Clutch
Materials and Tools
To create your own upcycled clutch, you will need an old sarape type blanket, a coordinating old sheet or piece of cotton fabric, a 4″ x 3″ piece of black leather, all purpose contact adhesive for leather, a 10 inch metal zipper, heavy fusible interfacing, scissors, sewing machine, zipper foot, iron, thread, pins, and a measuring tape. Optional tools: A rotary cutter and mat.
Cut Outer Fabric
Cut two 11″ squares from the blanket for the outer portion of the clutch. Use a rotary cutter to cut perfect squares. If you don’t have a rotary cutter, you can use scissors, a fabric marker and a measuring tape.
Cut Lining Fabric
Cut two 11″ squares from the coordinating bed sheet or fabric for the lining of the clutch.
Cut two 11″ squares of the heavy fusible interfacing.
Use a hot iron to attach the fusible interfacing onto the wrong side of each outer fabric square. Before you start to iron the interfacing, make sure the side with the adhesive is facing down. The adhesive side has a shiny look to it.
Place the zipper face down on the right side of the outer fabric. Place the lining fabric on top so the right sides are together. (The lining fabric in the photo is folded over just to show you that the right sides are together. Your lining fabric will lay flat on top of the zipper.) Pin the three layers together.
Sew One Side of the Zipper
Use a zipper foot and sew through all three layers down one side of the zipper.
Flip Lining Over
Fold the lining piece over to the other side.
Flip Lining Under
Fold the lining piece under the outer piece so wrong sides are together now.
Pin and Sew Zipper
Repeat the process on the other side of the zipper. Place the zipper face down on the outer fabric. Then place the lining fabric on top of the zipper so the right sides are together. Pin in place, use a zipper foot and stitch down the other side
Flip pieces over so the outer fabric is on top and the lining fabric is on the bottom. Wrong sides of the fabric will be facing each other now. Use a hot iron to press the seams flat. Be careful not to melt the zipper if the zipper is nylon or plastic.
When you see a cute shirt in a catalog that’s out of your price range, don’t just keep turning the pages. Instead, check out your closet or a nearby thrift shop for an item to transform into a similar look and feel. To make this trendy Anthropologie swing top, look for a button-down shirt with a gingham pattern.
Things You’ll Need
- Plain button-down shirt
- Measuring tape
- Washable marking pen
- Sharp scissors
- 1 yard of fabric that matches the shirt
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing machine with a 90/14 needle
- Seam ripper
Start with a plain button-down shirt. To determine the new empire waistline, put the shirt on and look in the mirror or have a friend mark 1 or 2 inches under your bust. Mark this line with a pin.
Take the shirt off and measure the distance from the bottom of the shirt to the pin. Mark this distance around the shirt with a washable marking pen.
Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut along the marked line.
If your plain shirt has a collar, cut it off from the collar band with a sharp pair of scissors. Cut as close to the collar band as possible so you won’t have to worry about fraying.
Cut two pieces of matching fabric that are 45 by 14 inches. These will be used to create the new bottom of the shirt.
If the fabric you’d like to use for the bottom is new and slightly stiff, you can soften it first by soaking it in white vinegar overnight, then washing and drying the fabric a few times. If it is still too stiff, try soaking it in salt water overnight, then washing and drying it.
To finish the inside edges of the new bottom of the shirt, create a french seam by first pinning the short sides with the wrong sides together.
Sew a 1/4-inch seam along both short sides using a 90/14 needle and a medium stitch length. Be sure to remove the pins as you sew.
Fold the sewn edge over so the raw edge is on the inside now and press along the sewn edge. Repeat on the other short side.
Sew along the folded edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Do this on the other side also.
Open the fabric and press the new seams to the side.
Now press under 1/2 inch twice along the bottom edge of the new bottom piece to create a hem.
Pin the new hem in place.
Sew close to the inside fold of the hem. Be sure to remove the pins as you sew.
Then sew again close to the bottom fold to create a double-stitched hem.
Change the machine to the longest stitch.
Baste around the top edge of the bottom piece. Mark the centers and the sides with a washable marker.
Pull on the basting stitch to gather the top edge of the bottom piece. Pin the top gathered edge to the bottom raw edge of the shirt with the right sides together. Match the sides and the centers.
Sew the top piece to the bottom piece, removing the pins as you sew.
If your shirt has pockets, remove them with a seam ripper, and you now have a new top similar to the pricey one in the catalog for a fraction of the cost.
Celtic knots represent infinity and eternity because they don’t contain beginnings or ends. In ancient times, if a gift was adorned with a Celtic knot, it was thought to give the recipient longevity or good luck in new adventures. This no-sew headband is made with a Shannon knot, which symbolizes balanced creativity, a fitting emblem because it makes creative use of old T-shirts.
- Sharp scissors
- Hot glue gun and glue stick
- Measuring tape (optional)
Use sharp scissors to cut two 1 1/2-inch wide strips across both layers of the T-shirt. Do not use the hemmed bottom edge of the shirt. Each strip will have two layers.
Stretch the strips. Do not unfold the two layers. Grab each end and pull tightly until the strip rolls into itself.
Create a loop with one of the strips by crossing the right side over the left side. Keep the loop at the top.
Lay the second strip in a U-shape on top of the first strip. Place the ends at the top.
Place the right side of the top piece under the right side of the bottom piece.
Place the left side of the top piece under the loop of the bottom piece.
Place the right side of the top piece over the loop of the bottom piece, passing under the left side of the top piece and then over the other side of the loop.
Pull on each end gently and slowly until a neat knot is created and you have loose strips of fabric on each side of the knot.
Wrap the strips around the head of the person who will be wearing the headband to mark where to cut the ends. Or measure the person’s head circumference and cut the ends to that length. Cut a 2 1/2-by-3 1/2-inch piece of T-shirt and place both ends of the headband on top.
Spread some hot glue onto the tops of the headband ends.
Tip: You could use fabric glue instead of hot glue, but it will take longer for the glue to dry.
Roll the 2 1/2-by-3 1/2-inch piece of T-shirt tightly around the glued ends of the headband. Use caution when rolling the fabric to avoiding burning your fingers.
Let the glue dry for a few minutes, slip the headband on and enjoy some balanced creativity of your own.