Monday, January 17, 2011

Up-cycled Sweater Dress Tutorial

A long time ago I saw this great tutorial on Make It and Love It on how to re-purpose an old sweater into an adorable little sweater dress. I finally made one, and I love how it turned out. 

The sleeves turned out too long--well, actually, the sleeves are fine, but the shoulder area is too long. It's still adorable though. :)

A few weeks ago my girls and I stopped in at a thrift store in town, and I was surprised at how many old sweaters they had in great condition. I had to really practice some self control to not go crazy and buy a ton! I was envisioning this sweater dress, leg warmers, pillows, you name it....

The tutorial on Make It and Love It  is really great and complete, but here's what I did:

First, get your old sweater.

Then, cut it to size. I got out one of my daughter's dresses to use as a guide, especially at the sleeve holes, which should be scooped-in a bit where the sleeves will be re-attached. Next, I cut off a little of the top shoulder area so that I could make the neckline smaller. I should have cut off a bit more from the shoulder area so the shoulder seem didn't hang over her shoulder so much in the finished project....

Next, cut the sleeves of the old sweater to re-fashion them for sleeves on the sweater dress. Again, I just used my daughter's dress to get the correct length and width.

Here's a picture of the shoulder area I sewed back together. After sewing that area together, I sewed the two side seams together.

And here's what it should look like at this point: re-attached at the top and the side seams sewn together. I actually had a little bit of trouble here until I realized that I did not have symetrical cuts (my left side had fewer cables than the right side). So, after finding the mid-line and counting the number of cables on either side to make sure they were the same and then re-sewing, then I had a symetrical dress. :)

Now it is time for the sleeves. With wrong sides facing together, sew your sleeves up.

To attach the sleeves to the dress, keep the sleeves and the dress in-side-out but pin the right sides together as shown here in the picture. Then, sew them together.

Ta-da! You have a dress.

Now, I wanted to embellish it a bit. Ashley (the Make It and Love It gal) embellilshed hers with satin flowers. I don't have any satin lying around, and I wasn't totally in love with how the satin and knit looked together, sooooo I decided to cut-up one of my old T-shirts that had been dubbed "fabric" after a freak oil spill. I cut out 4 circles of the knit T-shirt, each with a different diameter. Then, I stacked them on top of one another and sequred them with a button. Then I sewed it to the dress.

Super cute and ready to wear!

Fun little project. I was pretty proud of myself--I think this is maybe the 7th thing I've ever sewn? And while there were some bumps on the way, it still was really fast and easy to put together. Next time (and there will be a next time) the dress will fit a little better and go even quicker. :)

Ready to hit the thrift stores yet??? :)


Here's the linky parties we like to link up with.


  1. You made this look like a project I could maybe tackle. I LOVE it!!! It turned out so cute.

  2. I can hardly thread a needle, but this is a neat project. I wanted to tell you your model is super adorable!!

  3. You are so right! This is super adorable! I have a sweater exactly like this but its grey. I still wear it but I still want to make a dress like this for my daughther anyway...yeah I have a bit of a sewing addiction... I would love for you to link up to my Sew Crafty Party & Giveaway!

  4. I'm not sure whats cuter, the sweater dress or your beautiful model. Both adorable.

    Also, I would love it if you would post more of your recipes with the "What's for dinner" segment. Whadda say? :)

  5. thanks kim. :) i happen to think that that model is also adorable. :) i'm glad she cooperated.

    yeah, we totally need to post more recipes to link with our what's for dinner series. we'll be working on that--we need to just get posting more recipes!!! all in due time...

    lots of love,

  6. so darling and cozy cute. I love pink and brown together, well done! Jen

  7. Great idea!!
    Stopping by via the Wednesday hops to say hello and to follow. Hope to see you visit soon!

  8. How cute is she?! I also can't believe how grown up she is! Great job Jaime! I totally need a girl ;)

  9. I don't know what is cuter, the little girl or the dress! I love it. Can you make a big girl one? haha. I'm a new follower.

  10. OOOO wow I love this and it doesnt look too hard!!! You did a great job! I am a new follower from a blog hop. I hope you come check out my blog ttoo! brooke
    Girl Boy Girl Inspired

  11. Wow! I'm in awe! You rock!
    I'm following from the blog hop.
    I'd love a follow back at

  12. Super cute! What a great way to take a sweater and make something totally adorable! I love the brown flower too! :) Thanks for linking up at Sassy Sites for our Trash to Treasure Tuesday! Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo!


  13. That turned out so adorable! I tried the same project this week and I agree, getting the measurments just right is a bit tricky.

  14. So cute!! Your daughter is precious, what a great model! I'd love to see you on my linky party going on all weekend :)

  15. Thanks so much for stopping by and linking up :)

  16. So Adorable!! I can't wait to make some for my girls!
    I'm now following you, I think you stopped in on my blog-
    I can't wait to look through all your fun stuff!
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. I LOVE this! I hit the thrift shops yesterday--I wish I saw this first. Oh well, what's not to love about hitting them again? :-) I really like the dress with the brown leggings. Just pulls it all together.

  18. Wow! That's the 7th thing you've ever sewn...

    Great work!

  19. ADORABLE. Love that you think to do things like this. :) Sure makes thrift store shopping more interesting...

  20. you could flip cuff back onto itself and place cuff bottom where you'd like new hem and sew under cuff to keep orginal cuff(right sides together like) and just flip back over cuff after...kinda of what you do with a blue jean hem.


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