Crafting Fix #3 – Knock it Off! Batwing Sweater Edition

It isn’t very often that I go off on a shopping binge, but a few weeks ago I hit up the outlets in Carlsbad, CA and my inner shopaholic was unleashed.  One of my favorite buys was this amazing blue batwing full fashioned sweater…totally worth the pricetag!

The Perfect Sweater? Pretty darn close!

After wearing the sweater a few times and receiving compliments, I decided that either I should go back and buy one in every color…or figure out a way to knock off the style into something just as awesome.  The Black Mamba assaulted my consciousness and I launched into full fled craftiness.  I will go step-by-step through how I knocked the sweater off – there are millions of ways to do this but this method always works best for me!

1) Decide how you are going to make it your own

Don’t copy stitch-for-stitch, piece-for-piece, fabric-for-fabric…not only can you run into legal troubles if you ever sell your crafty goodness but it’s also BORING!!!  GET CREATIVE!!! MAKE IT YOURS!
I decided to make the sweater a tunic length with exposed seam allowance and no neck binding.

2)  Decide how many pattern pieces you will need

Because this is oversized, my front and back can be one piece as there is no need for special shaping on the front or back.  I decided to follow the same construction for the sleeve, so only one pattern piece placed on the fold was needed

3)  Begin drafting the pattern from your original garment

To draft the body pattern, I followed the neckline and the sleeve/armhole seam.  Because I want this to be a tunic length I extended the piece several inches below the bottom hem of the sweater and pegged it down for a more fitted bottom.

Front/Back bodice pattern piece – cut 2 on the fold

Measure the sleeve length to get an accurate length

Measure the sleeve length. I used the shape of the armhole on my body pattern piece to draft the armhole of the sleeve, then I extended the pattern from the top of the armhole to the length of the sleeve; next I shaped the rest of the sleeve after drafting a sleeve opening.
After drafting the sleeve pattern I lined up my two pieces to make sure they talked to each other at the armhole – this is called “walking”

Walk seams to make sure they match up!

4)  Choose your fabric and cut out your pieces!!


5)  Adjust your pieces as needed

I realized that I needed to scoop the front neck out a little bit more than the back to give me a nice neck shape

And my sleeve piece did not have a shoulder – so I made sure I lined up my pattern on the fold to achieve the proper shape.  Make sure to stay true to the grain of the fabric or else you will have more issues than you would like once you get to sewing.

Note the shaping added at the top left side of pattern, this is the part of the sleeve that will go over the shoulder

6)  Pin and Sew!!

Add your touch – I decided to have the seam allowance pressed open on the outside of the garment.  To achieve this I used a contrast thread and a zig-zag stitch along the seam.

7)  Make any further adjustments, clip all loose threads, and style to your liking!  Also prepare yourself for an onslaught of compliments!

I had to add inverted pleats because this fabric GREW immensely while I was cutting and sewing.

Not bad, eh?

The sleeves are my favorite part

I belted it at my hips and blousoned the fullness

Ready to wear out on the town!

Like I said above, there are millions of ways to knock something off, this method worked best for me.  Always keep in mind that the first time you do something you will have to make adjustments, and that your original plan will change and morph as you dive in, but that is really where the fun is!
And remember, knock off clothing the fun and sustainable way, not the Forever 21 way!! I used orphaned fabric from a coworker and fabric scraps for the belt.  Take a look around, and use what you have on hand before going out to the store!

Happy Crafting!