Secondhand sweaters are exellent material for clothing reconstruction projects. Used sweaters are easy to sew with a sewingmachine and a suitable material for beginners.
The patterns are also easy to make from your old favorite clothing. This reconstruction is made from copying the pattern from an old jersey dress/tunic that I had, but you can aply the same technique to make one from an old hoodie or cardigan.
The first four images are of an another similar knit recon I made.
Start by taking one of your old clothes. You can trace the bodice (and sleeve) pattern from it. Draw the outline freehand.
Fold your pattern in half from the middle. Straighten the pattern sides with a ruler. This pattern will be the front.
Draw the sleeve curve if your pattern has sleeves.
Draw also the back and front collar curves. Make sure hem corner and shoulder corners are in a 90 degrees angle.
Open up the pattern and draw the back pattern piece exactly the same as the front pattern piece.
Ok, back to this reconstruction..
After tracing the pattern outlines, you will draw the lightning pattern. First make two diagonal lines deviding the pattern to three parts. Then again each piece into three parts. NUMBER EACH PIECE in a logical order. This will help you keep the pieces in order while sewing.
I have also marked which pieces have to be cut from the edges of the sweaters (egdes don´t fray) with short rib-like lines.
Repeat on the back pattern piece.
Choose three to four sweaters for you project that are of similar thickness. One in contrast color or pattern, this will be the lightning. The others can also be patterned but it helps if they are of similar color.
Here I´ve layed down the lightning-pieces (pattern nros 2, 5, 8) on the contrast colored sweater. Then place and cut the rest of the pieces. First find a place for the pieces that have rib-markings, they need to be cut from sweater hem or sleeve rib.
It does not matter which way the pattern piece is on the sweater. Anyway you are able to cut the pieces out is ok.
The good thing about wool knit is that it is very easy to shape or reform. Some of my pattern pieces did not fit on to the knit so I stretched them (hem, sleeve rib) with steam iron before cutting.
You don´t have to do the stretching if you are able to cut all your pattern pieces ok.
Stretch the pieces by pinning them on to your ironing board. As you can see they can be stretched almost double their original width. Give the pieces maximum hot steam (or press them using a pressing towel and maximum hot iron). Let dry for 15 min while stretched. The pieces are ready when they do not return to their original shape after the pins are removed.
I cut out all the pattern pieces with 1/2 inch allowance (1 to 1,5 cm allowance). The pattern edges marked with "rib" are to be cut from the sweater hem and sleeve rib edges with out any allowance.
Arrange your pattern pieces front and back pieces separately. First sew the top, middle and bottom layers together.
Double check that the pieces you are about to sew together are correct before sewing.
Pin the both seams together by starting from the edges as they need to be perfectly align. Knit stretches easily so you should have no trouble matching the pieces together.
Sew all seams with a straight stitch and a normal presser foot. The presser foot or stitch should not stretch the seam. If it does, adjust your thread and machine settings so it doesn´t.
Steam iron or press the allowances open. As you can see, I have not serged or zig-zag sewed the edges.
Now sew the front pieces and back pieces as the previous seams and steam iron allowances open.
Sew the shoulder seams and side seams.
You don´t have to finish the hem or sleeves in any way as they will not fray.
The collar piece is way wider than it is supposed to be...
Measure your collar opening and cut about the same width collar pieces.
Sew the collar sides together and finnish the seam with a zig-zag stitch or serger. It the seam curls up like in the picture, steam iron it flat.
Pin the collar on to the neck opening right sides facing each other and sew together.
Your sweater recon dress is finished.
Your sweater recon dress is finished! Save the pattern and you are able to make many more with different colors and knit patterns! Maybe even sell some in Etsy... :D
If you make one for yourself I´d love to see a picture of it! You can send it to me at outsapop.com[at]gmail.com.
Here are some other versions I have made with the same technique.
The boys sweater has a reconstructed bodice from back and front, but the sleeves are as they were from one of the sweaters I used. I just made them a bit more narrow to fit the sleeve opening better.