Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tutorial - Recycled Winter Scarves Reborn as Skirt

Warning! This is a hack sew job - I'm a seamstress wanna be who doesn't have a clue...but I like to experiment. So don't take this tutorial too seriously if you are obsessed with clean lines and perfect stitches. But, if you are like me and like things to be a little bit wonky sometimes, go ahead and give it a try!

I didn't have a pattern so I cut the winter scarves into equal lengths of 3 or 4 pieces (depending on the length of the scarf). Then I just eyeballed a length with Little Miss M and cut each of the pieces into this kind of a shape.

I don't have a proper serger sewing machine to make this kind of fabulous upcycled sweater coat creation, so I picked a stitch that I thought might work. It gave a quirky external seam with a slight ruffle effect to the edges, and I was plenty pleased. 

Once I got 6 panels sewn together, I held it around Little Miss M and eyeballed, decided to add 3 more panels, and finished both the bottom and the top with a zigzag stitch. That's about the only thing I know about sewing - if you use a zigzag stitch, it allows for stretching (Thanks, Marie, for that tip).

This next step is what generally keeps me from starting sewing projects. I have a waistline phobia. I just don't understand how to sew them to look 'good'. So I did what I knew how. I hacked the waistline by cutting off the perfectly good elastic waistline of a too-short pair of M's leggings, and I sewed the sweater skirt to the jersey waistline. Perfect! Or at least perfect for me :-)

I was so happy with the funky little diva skirt. And here's where the story takes another happy twist. Mia looked at those legs that were left from the leggings I chopped up. They were still connected by the seam that ran through the crotch area. Well without saying a word, she whipped an arm into each leg and said "I can wear these like this" - and she had created an instant arm shrug. I can't even tell you how proud I was of her in that moment for seeing something that I had already cast aside as unusable (it was destined for the rag box) and finding new opportunities for reusing and repurposing. It's those moments that I realize that my passion for creating with recycled and repurposed items is actually having an affect on the way my children look at how to use things. I'm leading by example and I don't even have to say a word about recycling and reducing our imprint - I just have to keep creating as I do now. They are evidently getting the message loud and clear. And that makes me so happy.

We added some leftover sweater scraps from the scarves to the arm shrug to pull the look together. Then we got out one of her thrift store purple Ts, and poof! We had a fun and funky little bohemian outfit.

Like I said at the beginning, this tutorial isn't for everyone - but I do hope it inspires you to try something with recycled winter scarves. After all, they will be on sale soon in a thrift store near you!

Until next time...

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Inspiration for this project came from this photo.


  1. Brilliant upcycle Michael! So colourful and bright and looks fabulous!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

    1. Thanks, Jill! I have a terrible sewing-hack style, but somehow it works for me.

  2. Like like like! My kinda seamstress ... I'm sleeve-phobic :)

  3. Love your waist idea!! Might have to borrow.
    I use wide elastic (think underwear). This is great! THANK YOU!

    1. I think that is also a great idea with the wide elastic...must remember!


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