Have you heard of The Refashioners? Every year, Portia Lawrie of Makery, hosts a competition open to makers all over the world, to refashion an old piece of clothing or textile into something fabulous.
In a time where we can get a new outfit from a high street store for under £20, without thinking where it was made, or who made it, we could probably all do with thinking a bit more carefully about what we’re buying. This event has given me a great opportunity to think a bit more creatively about clothing and have some fun with second-hand clothes.
This year the challenge is wide open. All you need to do is to take an existing item, and make it into something new, taking inspiration from an existing look or image.
I have a few plans and a few potential makes lined up, and I want to introduce my first one here.
My First Make - Man’s Jumper to Oversized Cardigan
Last year I saw loads of oversized, chunky knit cardigans around, and it’s no different this autumn-winter. I love the look and even though I have a chunky cardi in my wardrobe already, I knew I’d get a lot of wear out of another one - especially in a neutral colour like grey.
Here are a few chunky cardigans that I love…
I particularly like the cardigans from Wool and the Gang, and although I can knit, their kits are pretty expensive. The Refashioners challenge has given me an excuse to make myself a chunky cardigan, without buying one brand new, or spending a lot of money knitting one myself.
My local charity shops are usually pretty good pickings, and I picked up this little number in the men’s section for under a fiver. It’s a size large, which is what I was looking for, and is made up in a grey, chunky 100% wool. The quality looks good, so hopefully, it will survive more than one season.
It was a pretty simple jumper - it had a sort of waffle stitch pattern, with plain sleeves, a rib along the crew neck and a rib along the hem and hems of the sleeves.
What I Did
After washing the jumper, the first thing I needed to do was cut all the way down the centre of the jumper to open the front to make it into a cardigan.
Even pregnant, this jumper was way too giant. I know I was looking for an oversized style, but this would have been a whole new level. To shorten the sleeves, I chopped off about 10 inches from the bottom of the sleeves, then cut the ribbing off and re-attached it to make a neat cuff. I needed to stretch the ribbing to get the puffy sleeve effect I was going for.
After sorting out the sleeves, I chopped about 7 inches off the bottom of the jumper. and slightly curved the bottom edges. I cut off the ribbing on the neckline and used the ribbing I’d already cut off the bottom of the jumper to neaten up these raw edges too. Again, I stretched out the ribbing along the edges and it kind of gathered them up a little, making the whole cardigan look a bit puffy which I really like.
To neaten the neckline I just turned the raw edge under and sewed it down.
After a few other adjustments to get a neat look, I hand washed it in some lukewarm water and some fabric softener to stretch it out a little and make the edges lie a bit flatter.
I know this won’t be my first Refashioners make, but it was a good one to ease myself in with. Plus I now have a nice, cosy cardigan that will go well with just about everything in my wardrobe. Right now I see myself wearing it with my leggings and jeans, but once I’m not pregnant anymore, I think it would look perfect with a mini skirt and flat boots and tights.
Let me know what you think and if you’re taking part in the #Refashioners too then make sure you link me to your makes.