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Simple DIY Sweater Refashion

A few months ago I was traipsing across the WWW, as I am wont to do, and came across a website called Refashionista. I was so inspired by her posts about taking something homely-looking (or in some cases, downright hideous!) and “refashioning” it into something fabulous! Before I knew it, I had been clicking on her website for probably close to an hour…or more!

Ever since that experience, whenever I go to the thrift store, I am always seeing things I want to “refashion”…but never have had the guts to attempt, until now!

While this is a very, very SIMPLE “refashion” project…I figure it’s a good place to start. “Learn to walk before you can run” and all that! I think the Refashionista would agree! :-)

sweater refashion

I found these two black sweaters during a recent thrift store visit. The one on the right was TOO SMALL, the one on the left FIT JUST RIGHT, but lacked the “pizazz” of the first one. For some reason I just really liked that little bit of “bling” on the pockets of the TOO SMALL sweater. Since both sweaters were very inexpensive, I decided to get them both and sacrifice the TOO SMALL one for the sake of the one that FIT JUST RIGHT.

sweater refashion

After a few snips with the scissors, I had two sequined pockets from the TOO SMALL sweater ready to attach to the one that FIT JUST RIGHT.

sweater refashion

To attach them all I did was dig out some Heat ‘n Bond Iron-On Adhesive that I had in my craft closet from another project, and cut two pieces that were ever-so-slightly smaller than the pockets themselves.

sweater refashion

I then ironed them on using the LOW HEAT and NO STEAM settings.

sweater refashion

After peeling away the backing to reveal the adhesive, I placed a towel over the top of the sequins and proceeded to iron/fuse the pockets to the sweater that FIT JUST RIGHT. (If you are assuming that the pockets aren’t actually “functioning” pockets…you would be correct.)

sweater refashion

That’s all there was to it….and now I have the best of both worlds…a sweater that FITS JUST RIGHT with a little added sparkle to make it SHINE. :-)

Have you attempted to “refashion” anything before?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • I leave a response each time I like a article on a site or if
    I have something to contribute to the conversation. Usually it’s triggered by the fire communicated in the article I looked at. And after this article Simple DIY Sweater RefashionOne Good Thing by Jillee | One Good Thing by Jillee. I was excited enough to drop a commenta response ;) I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you don’t mind.

    Is it just me or do some of these responses come across like they are coming
    from brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting on other sites,
    I’d like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Could you list every one of your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  • My whole business is based on refashioning sweaters and other castoffs into lovely and useful items. Thanks for inspiring so many people to give it a try! Thrift stores are super sources for great items to reuse, and I applaud your encouraging folks who cannot sew to give it a try. Hooray for upcycling!

  • GREAT ideas – love her website! My mom and I have a ball at the thrift store because things are SO inexpensive and therefore we have WAY too many clothes! But it’s fun to come home and change the buttons, or add some beads, trim, glitter, and make the item new again and make it your own. We don’t feel guilty going out and shopping! Upcycle!

  • I do all sorts of ‘crafty’ projects but I really don’t sew at all. This is one I could do!

    The closest I’ve come to this type of refashioning was buying cute and super-cheap jackets with HORRIBLE buttons and swapping them with gorgeous buttons. In one case I actually paid more for the buttons than the blazer… but aren’t dreadful buttons an instant give-away that the clothing was cheap? LOL

  • Nice job! I refashion all the time. For me it’s all about being different–inventing my own look. Current fashion trends are way too pricey– and most knock-offs look cheap (are made cheaply too). Besides that’s just it–they are only trends and the designers want a job next season so the re-invent the trends.
    Couple of thoughts–Have no fear, if you thrifted it or if it is just hanging in your closet take it out and do something with it–you’d be surprised how many times you don’t mess up. If you sew that’s a big plus but remember many things can be sewn by hand as well (like Jillee’s pockets). You can make your own block design by sewing blocks of color onto another shirt, skirt, dress, sweater. Mix up the textures too.
    The Heat n Bond is a fabulous product–just be sure to all items can take the heat (Check out Jillee’s post- How to Read Laundry Symbols). When thrifting look out of your size range too. I bought a dress that was 6 sizes too big (a high end sleeveless to the floor summer dress). The style allowed me to cut the bottom 18″ off to make sleeves (taken from a shirt pattern). I also took each side seems in about 4″. The zipper was untouched so I didn’t need to fuss with. All the hard work was done. You could even skip the sleeves.
    Off to check this site.

  • hi jillee! first off, i love your blog! it’s wonderful! i subscribe to your updates via email, but wondered if it’s possible to make the entire post email to those of us who subscribe in this way. i don’t always have time to click through to read your entire post, so end up deleting your updates, which makes me sad! thanks for listening!

    • Jillee’s explained several times why she’s changed the way updates are emailed out. There are websites out there that steal whole articles and post them as their own. Plus, website views create add revenue for her. Personally, I think that visiting the site daily is simple enough (I have it bookmarked, so it’s no more difficult than viewing Facebook), and since she’s shared so many ideas that I either have tried or plan to try, I think it only fair to do what I can to help her earn money from her blog.

      • Wow – that is kind of a jerk-y reply, Zoquara. It seemed like Kristen was just asking. Maybe she’s a new reader to Jillee’s blog.

      • Zoquara’s reply did not strike me as “jerk-y” at all, and I’ve had the same thought that Kristen did.

  • Most of us have cut the legs off jeans to make shorts, or converted jeans to a skirt by opening seams and adding a wedge of fabric front and back. The real gem here is reminding everyone to look at reusing and refreshing what we have (or can get at the thrift store) into something useful. Great job Jillee and yes thanks for doing so much of the legwork for the rest of us.

  • Love this. I used to refashion pants that I didn’t wear anymore into pencil and A-line skirts, until my sewing maching broke. Haven’t had the opt to get a new one so I plan to keep this tip to try out when I do. Thnx.

  • This is an awesome project! Another way to up-cycle, if you have a serger, or even a regular sewing machine that has zigzag function, is to actually cut sweaters into pieces, seam the sections together- and use as fabric (finishing all edges to prevent unraveling.) I have done this on several occasions with cotton knit sweaters that had worn away at the neck or elbows, and have perfectly good mid sections.

  • What I like about your blog is that you cover it all…I mean..if there’s something neat out there….you’re going to find it and put it in your blog…so I don’t have to spend my valuable time surfing the web. Thanks!
    Have made many of your suggestions….the bar soap (great)…liquid laundry detergent (a permanent staple)…dishwasher detergent…still testing but great so far……thanks for all your “leg work”….Rose

  • Were the pockets functional on the original sweater? If so, it appears you cut them off including the fabric that backed them.. wouldn’t using the adhesive on the backing fabric have left the pockets functioning??

  • Love this! I love doing this too. I have made skirts out of men’s shirts. I get them from the thrift store, a cheap Walmart shirt or hubby’s closet. Cut the shirt straight across under the arms. The bottom of the shirt is the bottom of the skirt…already hemmed. Just sew a casing at the top, add an elastic or drawstring. I saw this idea on Pinterest. I’ve made 4 of them! Perfect for summer and the beach.

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