Monday, February 27, 2012

DIY: Lace-Inset Sweater

When you live up north, being warm is important.  This is probably where my complete obsession with large comfortable sweaters comes in.  Lucky for me, baggy/soft/wearable sweaters have been very in style in the last couple of years, so I've been able to indulge my obsession without too much guilt or too many stares!

Then last year I came across a beautiful Free People sweater online and WANTED IT SO BAD... but for Free People prices, it was slightly out of my broke-college-student budget.  So I decided I would just make it myself.  Have to say, I'm not too disappointed in the results!  I wear my lace sweater all the time.  The lace adds a feminine touch to an otherwise slouchy grey knit, and if you make sure your material isn't too heavy, this sweater is perfect for the transitions between spring, summer, and fall.

This is one of those projects that I completed before creating my blog, so sadly there are no pictures of the process.  I'll describe it as well as I can, but if you have any questions or a section isn't totally clear, please leave me a comment.

Now, I did this project totally by hand because I didn't have access to my sewing machine at the time, but you can use a machine to save lots of time if you have the know-how.

Large sweater (thrift this!)
1-2 yds lace, depending on how big an area you want to cover
needle and thread

1. Start out with an XL knit sweater.  I chose a lighter weight grey men't knit with a lot of stretch.  It can have whatever kind of neckline you want, but I would recommend avoiding zippers or buttons unless you have some sewing experience.

2. Lay your sweater on a flat surface, inside out, with the front facing up.  Decide the shape you want the lace insert to be.  I chose a sweetheart neckline but you could do any shape you wanted.  When you have it set, draw it on the sweater.  Then, put the sweater on... marker lines on the inside of the sweater but facing out so you can see them in the mirror, and make any adjustment.  Do the same for the back.

3. Cut the shape you have drawn out of the sweater.  Cut around the neckline so that you can sew the neck back onto the lace.  Cut an inch or two above your lines at the bottom.  You can trim more later, but if you cut too much, you can't put it back.

4. Cut the single large shape you have taken from the knit sweater so that you have 2 flat shapes: one for the front, and one for the back.

5. Trace these shapes onto your lace.  Cut them out with 2 inches margins on each side so you have plenty of room for error.

6. Sew the 2 lace pieces together at the sides, leaving the top and bottom open, with the right sides together.  You will end up with one big piece that should look exactly like the one large piece that you previously took out of the sweater.

7. With the lace inside the sweater, line up the edges and pin them all together so that the lace replaces the knit material that you removed.  then sew along the edges that you drew for the shape.  When you are done sewing all the way around the top and bottom edges, you can trim back the extra knit material that you left as margins.

8. After this step, you can stop or continue to tailor your sweater.
I took in the sleeves up to the elbow to give the sweater bat wings.
I also hemmed the sweater up so that it wasn't as long... as a men's extra large it covered my whole butt until I took it up to hit the top of my jeans.


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