Steve the Sweater

One of my winter projects was to upcycle a sweater which I purchased from the local second-hand shop.   It was a rather boxy size medium Sigrid Olsen women’s sweater with the neckline trim made of crochet and cut loops of yarn.

Unfortunately I didn’t photograph the sweater but it looked much the same before and after – originally just a different size and with less shaping.  


This is a pretty easy project and doesn’t take long to finish.  For this type of sweater, the steps are:

1. Remove the neckline trim and crocheted bottom edge and the buttons.

2. Felt the sweater in the washer and machine dry until you have the desired amount of felting.  The result was not only a sweater of a smaller size but one that was incredibly soft.

3. Cut the sweater pieces apart at the seams.

4.  Re-cut using a child’s sweater or sweatshirt pattern. Keep the front overlap intact so you can use the buttonholes and finishing. In this case there was barely enough fabric to cut a size 7 sweater.

5.  Sew the pieces together by laying one seam over the other (probably a 1/2″ overlap), using a backstitch.  This results in a nice flat seam which is amazingly strong.  It takes several hours of sewing time in front of a good movie.

6. Re-attach the neckline trim and the braid at the bottom both with a backstitch.

7. Replace the buttons.

The Result

On our last visit to Wisconsin, I gave Mira the sweater.  She loved the softness and named it “Steve the Sweater”, in place of her favorite plush bedtime partner, Steve the Fish.  He was mysteriously missing so Steve the Sweater became her replacement sleeping partner.

Mira’s request:  “Ramma, will you take a photo of me and put it on your blog?”

So this blog post is for you, Mira.

Love, Ramma.

Giveaway: Upcycled Felted Wool Sweater

It’s Been a Year

It’s been a little over a year since I started this blog.  Thus far you could observe that I’ve been dabbling in a number of types of sewing.  It may seem that I’ve not immersed myself in one particular type of sewing – that’s because I do enjoy just about any type of sewing (excluding mending).  Over the years the type of projects seem to depend on what’s going on in my life.

Changes Ahead

Speaking of what’s going on in my life, I’d say we’re in a year of significant change.  I’m retiring in a month, we’re taking a 2 month trip to Central America, selling our home in Philly and moving back to the midwest.  How’s that for change?  It’s a little weird that I won’t use a sewing machine for 2 months and what about not getting up and going to work every day.  Sound good.  Oh, and I may need to send one or two machines to storage while we show our home.  Hmm, which can I part with?

Where is this going, you ask? It’s a long way of saying that I want you to stay with me while I am not posting about my sewing life.  In the months of March and April, I’ll replace sewing content with traveling content.  Maybe even a word or two of Spanish if my brain can soak up a few phrases.


I don’t want to lose you, my loyal followers.  To get you in the habit of visiting my blog while I’m away, I’m going to do a series of giveaways which are representative of my last year’s sewing.

The first one is your choice of three felted upcycled toddler sweaters.  All you need to do is to leave a comment indicating which one you’d prefer.  If you’re interested in making one of these in the future, ask a question about how to make the sweaters.  The deadline is midnight Monday, Jan 31; then the random number generator will work it’s magic.



1. Hooded Grey merino with snowflake design.

2. Wool and cashmere.   Sleeve, 1/2 of the front and the back are felted cashmere.  Oh, so soft.

3. Red wool Snowmen with wool/angora cabled sleeves.

Felted Recycled Wool: Everyone’s Doing It

Felted wool has always been somewhat of a fascination for me, whether it comes by way of recycled/upcycled sweaters or if purchased already felted.  Several weeks ago I listened to Anne K’s Greenstitch podcast where she talked about how she learned to recycle wool sweaters, felt and transformed them into holiday gifts – great advice and inspiration.

Then I found this creative recycled wool pincushion at a knitting store.  Clever – and it works well.

Oh yes, before the holidays I made a felted grey wool knit dress that I love.  One of these days I’ll catch a photo and post it.

Then today, wouldn’t you know, Kenneth King’s felted sweater tutorial was pushed from Threads Magazine.  You get the picture – felted and felting wool has been occupying some small part of my brain.  Post-retirement, I keep wondering what will take up space in my brain currently being occupied by all things work.  Guess this is part of the answer.

All of the above and the fact that I need to de-stash before we move later this year, caused me to think about the bins of felted wool in my basement.  Several years ago I purchased dozens of wool sweaters of various types and styles to learn how to felt.

My intent was to re-cut the pieces and hand-sew infant or children’s sweaters – all warm a cozy.  It was fun to learn how the different wools were transformed into felt.  I learned what doesn’t felt well (cables, fisherman knits, heavy knits and worsted weight).  Also learned what felts well – my favorite is cashmere or lightweight merino.  I did make about 8 or 10 toddler sweaters; sold a few on Etsy, a few to friends and family and a few extra have taken up residence in my sewing area.

Then I moved the wool to the basement and there it stayed, awaiting the talents and creativity of someone I’d not yet met.  After pulling the bins from the stash, I sorted, folded and posted on Etsy.  Within a day, nearly all of it sold and I mailed it off this past weekend.  I can’t wait to see what the buyer creates.

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What are your experiences felting wool?