Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thrift, thrift, Horatio.

It's been quite the crafty weekend here at Looking Glass Knits, and also quite the weekend for trying new things. After yesterday's pleasant experience with the tubular cast-off, I was heartened to turn my attention to another finishing challenge that has been waiting around here for a while: the $5 sweater.

Lots of New York neighborhoods have cheapo clothing stores of one kind or another; the one in my neighborhood is called Pretty Girl, and it is full of a mix of cheap off-brand stuff and name-brand stuff that is damaged or otherwise offloaded by the makers. When I last visited Pretty Girl, I picked up a 100% wool sweater with a somewhat expensive label in a gorgeous color for $5.

Can you read that? It says "J. Jill," but it has been slashed through. The only problem was that it was too boxy for my taste. Hence the afternoon of knit-altering! I successfully sewed and cut my first steeks!

First I carefully ripped out the side seams. I was too lazy also to take out the sleeves, which fit me quite well, along with the shoulders and boob area. This took a bit longer than I thought it would because the wool was fine and pretty sticky (though these were good factors for the success of the rest of the project).

Then I hauled out the sewing machine and sewed a line of straight stitches about an inch and a half in from each edge.

Having been lazy about not taking out the sleeves, I curved my line out to the armpit and hoped I'd be able to fudge it into looking okay with my seaming.

Then I seamed up the sides by hand, just inside of this line. This part was identical to seaming a hand-knit sweater. It was a little wiggly in places, but I evened it out, and I was able to fudge the armpit area beautifully.

The finished seam is nearly invisible.

I cut the inside "hems" of the new seam, and the sticky yarn held the ends together so that this raw edge is very neat.

Significantly less boxy.

And the fit? Lovely. In fact perhaps a little too form-fitting, but a little steaming will even that out -- it's always easier to block something a little bigger than to try to shrink something, in my experience.

Yay for my first time steeking! It was easier than I thought it would be. This was a good project to try it out, because if it went horribly wrong, I didn't mind losing $5. But it didn't go horribly wrong, and now I am much more inclined to knit something steeked in the future!


Batty said...

Oh, wow. Can I send all my too-boxy stuff your way for fabulousing (sorry about the neologism, but it seemed appropriate)? It fits amazingly well post-op.

Stefaneener said...

That color just sends me. It looks great! I can't believe you hand-seamed it. Wonderful result.

ljlkc said...

Fab! Really, you've turned that ho-hum sweater into a great wardrobe essential. And it's not too form fitting--women should not be afraid to show off those curves! Great work and very inspiring!

Sereknitty said...

Well done! And, in my current, favourite colour, too.