February 4, 2011

Update a Turtleneck Sweater

Kludging goal: Remove turtleneck from sweater and repurpose as embellishment
Kludging skill level: Intermediate
Permanence: Permanent
Starting materials: Turtleneck sweater, matching thread
Required tools: Sharp scissors, needle

I received this heavy knit turtleneck sweater as a hand-me-down. The sweater seemed well-made, and I liked the soft, thick yarn and the charcoal color, but, due to what my mother lovingly refers to as my "pencil neck", turtlenecks just don't work on me.

Nice on the mannequin, bad on me.

I discovered that the neck piece (which is knitted separately, then attached to the neckline), rather than being sewn on, was attched by a knitted 'rib' (perhaps even by hand?). This would make it easy to remove the turtleneck piece, leaving a crew neck.

That rib around the neckline = sweater is well-made.

The first step was to turn the sweater inside out, then put the tip of the scissors into the 'rib' that was formed by yarn that covered the joint where the neckline and turtleneck met.

Cutting into the rib.

I continued pushing my scissors along inside the rib until it was opened the whole way around.

This uncovered the finished edge of the neckline, which had been hidden inside the rib.

 Now I needed to remove the turtleneck entirely. I did this by locating and then snipping the yarn that was stitched through the now-exposed neckline, then into the turtleneck.

This was tedious.
 As I snipped away, the turtleneck came off until, voila!

There were a few places where the knit pattern ended in visible knots or loose yarn (this had been hidden by the rib).

In the front...

...and at the shoulder seams.
 This was easily remedied by knotting any longer loose yarns, then tucking them in and securing by hand stitching a few times.
All cleaned up!
 I now had a perfectly good crew-neck sweater.

...but I decided not to stop there. I cut the leftover neck material into two uneaven strips, one with two raw edges, the other with one raw edge and the existing finished edge.

I rolled the larger strip into a tight spiral, and stitched through the bottom edge few times.

I continued rolling, letting the spiral get looser and looser, and then stitched through the bottom edge again.

And this made a ruffly rosette! I stitched it to the neckline of the sweater.
Peony-esque, no?
I repeated this same technique for the strip with one finished edge, resulting in a neater, less frilly rosette. I sewed it next to it's larger counterpart, and voila!

All done!
I'm really happy with the way this turned out. Embellished sweaters are everywhere this season, and I got a good fitting one for free after just a few quick alterations.