I was recently leant the gorgeous book Homemade Gifts Vintage Style by the very talented Sarah Moore.
As you would expect, it has loads of ideas for making homemade gifts in a vintage style, but the best thing is that it truly in vintage style, i.e. using vintage and reclaimed materials, rather than just “shabby chic-ing” something new, as is often the way.
There are so many things I want to make, I had trouble knowing where to start, but several of the projects seem to cleverly re-use old woolly jumpers or blankets, so I have been keeping my eye out as I trawl around the charity shops. And it’s harder than you might think to find them. In order to felt them (basically shrinking them-we’ve all done that haven’t we, intentionally or not- to get all the wool to clump together so that it doesn’t unravel when you cut it) they have to be at least 80% wool, and obviously you can’t use the machine washable ones as they have treated specifically to avoid them felting! I was despairing that I would never find any, when I hit lucky in one shop and found 5! I snapped them all up.
To felt them, you need to wash them on a hot cycle. I do them at 90C. This may be over-kill-I might experiment with a 60C wash next time. If you only have one or two jumpers to do, it helps to put a pair of jeans or something in to help bash the jumpers around a bit. Then lay them out flat to dry, and pick a project!
I saw Sarah’s great idea for making not only a hat, but also a scarf AND a pair of mittens all from the same jumper! So that is what I did.
The jumper I chose was a woollen one but it hadn’t really felted. I was a bit worried it would all unravel when I started to cut it, but it didn’t and seems to have worked ok!
I started with the hat. It is really similar to the cricket ball hat I did recently, but more stylish…
Sarah starts by advising you to measure your head to make a template. Basically measure your head, and divide the number by 4. Then take a piece of paper and fold it in half, and draw a line along the bottom that is a quarter of you head measurement. I did this on a piece of A4, and found that if you turn the folded A4 piece so that you have a portrait piece of A5 and then just round off the corner, this was just the right size!
This may only work for my head though-not sure how ‘average’ my head is in size…
Then place your template onto your jumper with the straight edge at the bottom of your jumper to incorporate the finished edge at the bottom of the jumper (this saves you hemming it later-cunning hey!)
Draw around it, or pin it and cut around it. Cut out both pieces at the same time, so you then have 2 semi-circles of woolly fabric.
Pin these right sides together and sew around the curved edge. I left about a 1cm seam allowance and used a zig zag stitch to allow for some stretching. Then turn it the right way around and boom, hat done!
Now for the mittens. Again, you need to make a template, so draw around your hand, and then draw a slightly larger mitten shape around this, like this:
Lay your jumper out with the sleeves nice and flat, and then sleeves straight (so that the seam is on the fold if that makes sense). In the book, Sarah said to cut along the seam and open the sleeve up, and then cut out 2 shapes from each sleeve. Mine weren’t big enough to do this, so I left the sleeve as it was, and laid my template on top (again using the bottom edge of the sleeve as the bottom edge of the glove) and kind of fiddled it around until the template would fit on the sleeve (I had to have mittens with very long wrists!). Then I pinned it on and cut around it, again cutting out both pieces at once. Pin together tight sides together and sew around. Turn the right way around and then repeat with the other sleeve and double boom, mittens!!
Lastly the scarf. Decide how long and wide you want your scarf to be. And then basically cut your jumper remnants into squares/rectangles of the required width. I was quite frugal with my cutting, and didn’t want that big a scarf so I managed to salvage enough just from the jumper, but Sarah suggests finding some strips of matching/contrasting fabric if you don; t have enough and making a stripy scarf!
Take two of your squares/rectangles and pin right sides together, then sew along one long edge. Repeat this until you have 2 long strips of sewn together squares. Then pin your two long strips right sides together and sew around one short end and both long ends to make a long tube. Turn inside out, hand sew along the open edge to finish and hurrah, a scarf too!
You can then embellish your new winter woollies however you want. Sarah suggested using some scraps of fur to trim the wrists of the mittens, which would be very classy and snuggy.
I decided to use my newly learned crocheting skills and make some flowers and trims:
When they area attached, they will look a bit like this, only better!
I was too impatient and excited to wait to blog about it until they were finished, so I will post updated pics when they are all fully embellished!
What do you think? I love them. The jumper cost me about £6 I think, but I have made all 3 items from it, and best of all, it only took me one evening-that’s my kind of making!!