Your favorite sweater dress meets a moth and they tussle a bit. Sad thing is, your sweater comes out on the short (or shall I say holey) side. tsk. Today is the last Tuesday of the month, so that means I’m excited to share my latest Reduce, Reuse, REFASHION fun with you. Each month I take something from around the house or is found free or in a thrift store and turn it into something more. Today, I’m taking this damaged 100% wool dress (I’ve named it Sock Monkey) and refashioning it into a felted wool hanging basket and more.
My project is perfect for a beginner sewer or someone wanting a quick fix for a gift or a treat to self. There is no doubt felted wool is one of my favorite textiles to work with. It’s not only forgiving, but definitely a wonderful fiber that is useful for oh so many purposes. For example, you can see what I’ve created from felted wool sweaters with my refashioned winter hats, journal covers, pretend play food, footstool upholstery, a quilt, and even these dryer balls. See video demo below.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at our wool sweater dress. It’s seen better days in that it has holes here and there. If there was one or two small holes, I would mend it. However, it has more than I think worth my time and energy for repair. I actually lost count of how many holes I found. Sad!
Not to worry. I know that this gorgeous wool still has plenty of life left, we just need to tap into the potential. First, I need to felt it. In order to do that, you need a sweater composition of at least 70% wool. To felt it means I wash it on a hot wash, followed by a hotter dryer run TWO TIMES (or more if needed). Not only does the washing/drying shrink the wool, but it also mats it up making it a fabulous fabric. Take a look at it now.
Instead of fitting me as it initially did, it would currently fit my youngest. haha.
If you’ve been around me for long, you know I love to draft my own patterns. I have had this idea of a hanging basket brewing in my head for quite some time, so in order to make that come to fruition I sketch. Here’s my initial vision…
Impressive, right? haha. Hang with me now (pun intended). To get started, I use a plate on some heavy paper to get my sizing right.
On my first run, I decided it needed to have a more open bottom for a sort-of stance, and so that things didn’t just fall to the bottom middle. That’s when I stumbled upon a similar pattern similar to what I had in mind in this post HERE. Also, I draft my pattern to adapt to the thickness of felted wool. Here’s a better version with a flat bottom.
Next, I cut out my pieces making use of every bit I can. You see my gusset piece on the arm of the sweater using my DIY weights to hold it down.
Then, I assemble pieces beginning with the two gusset pieces right side face. Note: when joining wool, it’s better to overlap seams you want to lay flat rather than stitch as a normal seam.
After I assemble the gusset, I sew a normal seam attaching the back piece with right sides facing, and then attach the front piece. Because felted wool doesn’t fray, you can leave the raw edges as is, or add a decorative stitch. For me, I wanted to use a blanket stitch to add a little accent color.
Do you have a stash of floss? Not for our teefy smiles, but rather embroidery. tee hee.
Finally, after my small sewing stent, and a bit of fun, my felted wool hanging basket has come to fruition. Good news is that I was able to make more than one. First, here’s a basket making use of the sleeves as shown above.
Notice I even make use of the buttons too. Waste not, want not, right? And, check out that gusset. woot! Plenty of room for oodles of goodies.
Second, I whip up another hanging basket. However, this time around I just use the brown and accent with white trim and a set of vintage toggle buttons from my stash.
As you’ve seen, I’m staging the baskets with yarn and needles, but…they can be used for anything you can think of. For instance…
Likewise, kiddos toys are always needing storage too. As a mom of 6, there is nevah enough room. Am I right?
With that in mind, you can use it as a purse, a gift basket…options are limitless. All I know is the weather is beginning my cabin fever and I’ll enter my hooker phase…of the crochet kind. ahem.
Last, I’m excited to say I’m adding these to my online shop. The colors and variations will change as I can create them, but I know they’ll make somebody happy. 🙂
Additionally, pin and share my felted wool hanging basket from a refashioned sweater. Others can create too!
Up next, I’m sharing what I do with yet another flatware box waiting for a makeover. Come see it now HERE.