Weave New Life into an Old Sweater with a Simple Ribbon Accentcomments (3) January 15th, 2009
You can easily take a plain Jane sweater and convert it into a sweet and sassy empire-waist top with just a few yards of ribbon and a little spare time. A sweater with a loose knit will work the best since you will be able to simply weave the ribbon between the stitches and still see bits of color peeking out.
I am constantly amazed at what I find at the thrifts. My sweater was scored at Goodwill for $3.99. It's a mohair/nylon blend, so I gave it a little swish in a wool wash before beginning the process. Although it's not my size, I will gift it to a friend. Maybe next time I hit the thrifts I will find one for my version, as every trip yields a wondrous surprise!
- Ribbon: 3 yards will be plenty. Choose a width that will comfortably fit in the stitches of your sweater. I used a 3/16-inch 100% polyester ribbon I had on hand. Optionally, you could substitute the ribbon with a strand/s of yarn! Make sure that the fiber is compatible with the care requirements of the sweater (i.e., washable or dry cleanable).
- Tape measure
- Tapestry needle
- Safety pins
- Tailor's sleeve roll (optional)
Step by Step
Measure the sleeve where you will be weaving your ribbon and add 12 inches. Cut two pieces of ribbon to this length.
Thread the tapestry needle and begin weaving in and out, starting at the point where you would like your bow. End at the same stitch you began, making sure you were weaving in a straight line. (Kind of an oxymoron, but you know what I mean.)
Make your bow and trim any excess ribbon. Repeat on the other sleeve, checking to see that you are positioning the ribbon at the same place as the other sleeve.
Try on the sweater and audition the ribbon position around your torso. When you have it where you want it, hang a safety pin there and evenly around the circumference of the sweater. You will be glad you took the extra time to do this as you can ribbon-weave with ease instead of worrying about if you are straight or not. (Again, maybe not the best choice of words.)
Measure the sweater at the safety pins, double that number, and add at least 20 inches for your bow. Cut your ribbon to that length.
Begin by taking a stitch at the middle back pin line, and find the midpoint of the ribbon. Pin the midpoint of the ribbon to the midpoint of the sweater back.
Take one end of the ribbon and weave to the front center and repeat with the other ribbon.
Tie your bow and trim any excess ribbon.
Try it on and applaud yourself for your clever sweater makeover!
A special thanks to my beautiful and talented model, Nikki Caruso. Photographed at Unwound - Unique Yarns and Accessories.