September 22, 2013

Don't Despair - Repair!

So, tell me if this has happened to you.
You found that perfect sweater years ago, and wear it almost daily.
First, you snag it.
Then, the snag gradually turns into a gaping hole, no longer possible to conceal. Sure, you can slap a patch on it, but this just isn't the 70's, and you are not a college professor.

Let's face it, your favorite sweater has become garbage.

But wait! Don't throw it out just yet!!

This simple tutorial is about repairing, not despairing, and DIY-ing your way to a customized, fabulous wardrobe!

Step 1:
Find the problem.
In this case, it's a hole in the elbow, rendering the entire left sleeve useless.

Step 2:
Find the solution.
Easy. New sleeves from just above the elbow down to the cuff.

Step 3:
Start repairing!
Find suitable sleeves.

Last week, I saw a woman on the U-bahn in Vienna (an extremely fashionable city) who was wearing a knitted sweater with leather sleeves. I thought that looked pretty awesome, functional and unique.
Lo and behold, I discovered I had a leather raincoat that has seen better days, to put it mildly. Being the passionate DIY-er that I am, I didn't throw that away either. Boy am I glad I didn't!

Let's get started!

1. Cut off the sleeves of the leather jacket at the shoulder - I know I won't be using them up to the shoulder, but it's always a good idea to cut off more than you're going to use (mistake allowance!)

Don't throw away the rest of that jacket! There is plenty more fabulous material to work with for another repair-job!

2. Cut the sleeves off the favorite sweater just above the hole.

Lay the leather sleeves on top of each other and trim them to give them a nice straight edge, and to make sure they are the same length.

3. Make sure you've got a cotton thread and heavy-duty needle (jeans for example).

Turn the sweater inside out and place the leather sleeve inside it. You'll be sewing on the inside of the sleeve.

Sew the sleeves together with a large zig-zag stitch, and the sweater part underneath. (The leather material is harder to push smoothly through the machine.)

4. Turn the sleeves right-side out and sew a nice straight stitch over the leather.

The extra straight stitch not only looks good, it will make your sleeves extra sturdy.

More importantly, the leather is heavier than the knitted sweater, and without this extra stitch, your sleeves may pull your sweater apart! Then, you're back to square one!

And here is the final result!
My sweater has a second life, perhaps an even better one than it already had...