A few months ago, Sarah from Swag Mittens blessed me with a donation. A donation of EPIC proportions. She was clearing out her old sweater inventory to make room for the new, and I was the lucky recipient!
Her and I had connected through Facebook when I was looking for a vendor who made upcycled sweater mittens. It didn’t work out for us to work together, but that’s ok. Perhaps we were meant to speak for another reason.
Well, I have not attempted to upcycle sweaters yet, though I was certainly up for the challenge. I decided to keep a few bags, and to move along the rest to my 2 local vendors who use sweaters – one makes mittens, and the other makes skirts and dresses (Resque Threads).
My first thought for the sweaters was to make a purse… my first prototype was a small purse. I think it’s pretty cute… good for a young girl.I was pretty happy with it. Next I wanted to make a bigger purse with a clasp and inside pockets. Similar to the upholstery sample tote bag that I make, but with some tweaks due to the thickness of the sweaters.Ok, ok… not too shabby… now what? Hmm… what about something to wear? I have a grand idea of making upcycled tank top tunics, so I have been doing a lot of internet browsing. Gathering ideas, figuring out things that I like and those that I don’t. I kept thinking about the Katniss cowl from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie.
I wanted to make a cool, upcycled version. I searched through my bag ‘o sweater scraps and found one that was intact! I used the neck hole for the arm, and added a long neck so it would look like a big cowl (thanks to my friend, Pam, who suggested it!). Luckily, there weren’t many customers walking into the store when I was in my experimenting zone, because the scene would have been quite comical. I kept putting the sweater on and off… sewing… putting it on the mannequin… putting it on me… pinning it on me… trying to get it off of me… it was quite an involved process!
So that was prototype #1. While I love the end result, I wanted to make ones that were more “one size fits all” so I didn’t have to get into sizing. After many trials and errors, I found success! The bad news is that it sold before I took a picture of it :(. It was super cute – it was asymmetrical going from one shoulder to the other, with one arm going through a sleeve… I also attached a long, pointed hood. It was super cute!!! You’ll just have to take my word for it ;). To be honest, I wasn’t sure what sort of reception my customers would have to the whole partial sweater concept. I put the sweater cowl (as I decided to call it) on a mannequin just to see what happened. Now that I know that the market is there, I will move forward and make some more!. And I promise to take a picture next time!