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.
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Wonderful! I think of all the reuse fabrics you choose, the projects with wool always excite me the most. I am imagining making an everyday purse with this method you’ve outlined here. Something that I can carry that will help keep me warm!
Thank you for sharing your creative self with us, once again!
Ps. Any house projects/room reveals coming up??? I just love what you are doing with your home! You are one of the inspirations I have found to do the same I our own home – “Look, honey, a real-life lady is doing it! We can, too!” )))
You guys ought to do one of those video walk-throughs when you are all done.
May God be with you!
Awesome! I truly can’t say enough how fun it is for me to share, but also because of hearing from my readers. So fun!
As for our home, we have 3 different reveals I need to tackle, but have lost gusto with all that’s been on our plate with selling last year and then taking our home off the market. It’s a matter of finding the videos and photos and putting it all together. Thanks for asking!
Rebecca - NC says
I never knew that creating felt was that simple! ?♀️. Now I’m on the hunt for sad sweaters needing a second chance!! ?
It’s SO ADDICTIVE!! You gotta try it.
I was wrong ! Last week when you previewed the dress, I thought- “SOCK MONKEYS!” I love what you did instead though. What a great way to recycle.
bwahahaha! I totally forgot that I lovingly called this the sock monkey dress!! too funny! My sister gave it to me and that was the first thing out of my mouth. Thanks for the reminder, Sigrid!
Stephanie Harris says
I love them. Never can have enough cute totes.
You ain’t kiddin! haha. Thanks, Stephanie.
Larissa this is such a clever up cycle. I truly was not expecting to see this cute basket from the dress. Bravo my friend!!
happy dance!! Thanks so much, Mary. I had a blast!
You are UNSTOPPABLE!!! Love Love Love how your mind works!!! I’m always excited to see what’s next!!
Awww…Becca, you are so absolutely awesome. Thank you for making me smile! 😀
Marie - Interior Frugalista says
Oh wow, Larissa, what a fabulous save on that lovely wool sweater dress and such a great gift idea. LOVE this so much!
I’m delighted you think so, Marie. I just love using wool. 😀 Have you ever tried it?