Monday, January 18, 2016

When a Blanket Becomes a Sweater - The Centerfield Raglan Hack

Friends, with snow on the ground and temperatures in the single digits I tend to walk the blanket aisles at some of my favorite stores.



When my eyes laid upon this blanket, I knew I had to have it.  To make a warm sweater of course!  With all that great texture and those argyle designs, whats not to love?



I pondered how to make the sweater I desired from this piece of fabric.  A cardigan that I could throw on over most anything was what I really desired.

Then it hit me.  I would use an oldie but a goodie.  A pattern that I had made many times and was definitely a TNT pattern.  I decided to use my Green Style Creations Centerfield Raglan T-Shirt pattern.  Rather than cutting the front piece on the fold, I lined it up so that the trim was used as the edges of the piece, but I knew that I needed a bit of extra in front since the pieces would not be connected, so I lined the trim up on what would have been the fold line.



I then flipped the pattern piece over and lined it up on the other side of the blanket.  These blankets were not made perfectly and they stretched some as they were folded on the store shelf, so it was a real hassle to try to straighten the grain (so to speak).  Note: I did not wash the blanket before making the sweater as I was afraid it would go further off kilter.



For the back piece, I wanted to get the fabric lined up nicely so that the center of the back was dead center between the two rows of argyle.  So, instead of cutting the back piece on the fold I cut one side, flipped the pattern piece and cut the other side.  Still resulting in one cut pattern piece, but giving me better control over the blanket/fabric.



I had decided that I wanted the back of the sweater to be slightly longer than the front with a side slit.  I forgot to cut the extra bit for turning back the side slit, but I did remember to use the trim bottom as the amount of extra for the back, making it easy to line the pattern up straight but get that extra bit.




I knew that I also wanted to have the argyle stripe run the length of the sleeve.  Unfortunately, that meant that I could not use the trim in it's original form which was a major bummer!  Instead I had to line the sleeve piece up on two separate areas of the blanket.  I marked where the argyle lines were on the pattern so that I could make my mirror image sleeve pieces have proper alignment of the pattern.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this step, because in truth I was not planning on blogging this blanket sweater.  I did take a picture of the bottom of the pattern piece to remind myself that I folded the bottom of the sleeve piece back to the short line since I was going to add trim back to the bottom.



My last bit of cutting was to get the trim piece for the neck and two pieces of trim for the bottom of the sleeves.  I cut a piece of the ribbed edge the size of the pattern neck band piece plus four inches to account for the extra trim in the front.  For the sleeves, I just lined the sleeve bottom piece up on the trim and cut two pieces of trim the same size.

Assembly of the sweater was pretty easy.  I used the serger (which just happened to have light and dark grey thread already in) to attach the sleeves to the front and back pieces.  I then attached the trim to the bottom of the sleeves and serged from the sleeve bottom to the lower edge of the hem in one long sleeve, stopping about three inches before the bottom edge of the shortest/front hem.  Next, I serged the collar on to the sweater.

Finally, I did a little bit of hand sewing to turn back the side slits and turn the collar in at the front edge.  That was it.  Between cutting, serging and hand sewing I ended up having about 2.5 hours in this sweater.  When I was sewing the Centerfield Raglan on the regular last year, I could cut and sew the shirt in an hour flat.  It's a great pattern that uses minimal fabric (which was another reason I chose it for this sweater).

What was that?  You want to see how it turned out?  Sorry...



Here is the blanket sweater on the dress form.  I don't have a name for the dress form yet.  Any ideas?

OK, since I am such a dedicated blogger I braved the sleet covered porch to take some actual photos.  Don't get used to it, and please forgive me if the pictures aren't up to normal par.




In this picture, I am holding on to the rail to keep from falling.  The look on my face is something along the lines of hurry up an take the picture before I fall and bust me arse!




In this picture I know the sweater looks uneven, but that is because of my stance.  I have both feet up against the bottom of the rail for stability.  The sweater is actually quite straight, though it could use a good steam.




Here you can see how the sleeve turned out.  I am thrilled with how the argyle aligned down the sleeve.  You can also see my compromised side slit.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I will plan better for the side slit and keep it from looking so wonky.  It too could use a good steam.




Lastly, here is the collar.  The left side is a little ripply.  I think that a good steam will also help here.

If you are interested in taking on a blanket sweater yourself, here is where I got the blanket (in radiant grey).  Though there are all kinds of great blankets out there that you could use, just google sweater blanket.  Bonus, a lot of them are going on clearance right now in the Northern Hemisphere.

So what do you think friends, will you give this sew a try?

44 comments:

  1. Very cute sweater and I love the idea of using a blanket! I think I will have to steal this idea😊

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    1. Thanks Lisa R. Please do steal this idea. I have to admit that I wasn't the first person to make a blanket sweater though. O Jolly totally inspired this creative pursuit.

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  2. I'm so ripping this off! Love how you used the blanket and I'm on the look out for my own. You did such an amazing job with this! Just awesome and it looks awesome on you!

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    1. Thanks so much Carolyn! I can't wait to see what you make, because I know that you will totally rock this, and I can see this type of make fitting in with your new style quite nicely.

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  3. Ok...I'm pinning this. Such a brilliant idea and what an amazing result. Love it! Brava!

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    1. Thanks for the pin, Pendlestitches! Blushing!

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  4. Brilliant idea .. love your sweater!!

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  5. I love your sweater! What a great idea. I'm definitely keeping my eye out for a blanket like this in the stores. :D

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    1. Thanks, Andie! I am having a really hard time right now not buying all the blankets. It has been so cold here the last week and this cardigan is getting a lot of wear.

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  6. What an awesome idea! I would use the length of the blanket to my fullest advantage and make a long sweater coat, because in winter I like to wrap blankets around myself like a bath sheet and walk around the house like that. Haha!

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    1. Thanks, Marike. I had considered making a duster length sweater, and still want to. With a twin blanket there just wasn't enough fabric, unless I wanted to go with a kimono style. I think I would buy a full size blanket to make a duster length sweater.

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  7. Nice work on the sweater, too bad about forgetting to allow extra for the turnback.

    I can't say I agree with not washing first, I'd want to know if it's going to go off grain before putting in the work. Also, I've had such bad pilling with acrylic RTW sweaters, I'd like to know about that also. I hope neither of those is an issue, as I really do like your sweater.

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    1. Anonymous, I am not too concerned about forgetting the extra for turnback. Since I have steamed the sweater now, they lay right. It is amazing what a little properly applied heat and steam can do for a seam.

      Another reason that I did not wash this ahead of making is because I know that this sweater won't be getting washed. It is going to be worn as an outer layer much like a coat. If it gets a stain or picks up a smell, it will be steam freshened in the dryer. The day it needs to go through a wash cycle will be the day it gets donated.

      I have had a mixed bag when it comes to acrylic sweaters. If they feel squeaky then they always pill. But there are some much better quality acrylics that feel and act more like cotton. That is how this blanket is. Only time will tell if it is going to pill on not. I will update though in the future so everyone can know.

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    1. Thanks, Manju! I can't wait to see your blazer all finished.

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  9. this was really nice and you laid it all out perfectly to get the effects??? affects??? that you wanted. The slits you really did not need at all since the sweater tapers to thinner parts - Cynthia

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    1. Thanks, Cynthia. That would be the effects that I wanted. I actually wanted to make larger slits, but I just didn't plan it well.

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  10. Hi, I just love this idea and you look wonderful in it. I'm going to have to make it myself. Thank you for the link to the blanket. Can you tell me what size blanket you got

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    1. Thanks, Paula. That is a great question. I used a twin size blanket. The measurements on it were 66 inches by 90 inches, yielding 2.5 yards of 66 inch wide fabric.

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  11. Oh my goodness--I am constantly amazed at the ingenuity and creativity in sewing blogland! What a marvelous idea! Beautiful sweater and thanks for posting the tutorial.

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    1. Robin, thank you for the sweet comment. I love how all of us sewing bloggers are constantly inspiring each other as well as our readers. Do you follow O Jolly? She really gave me the idea for a sweater from a blanket, and the rest just flowed from there.

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  12. what a great idea to use a knit blanket for the fabric. I love how your cardigan turned out. You look lovely in it and good going with the awesome pattern matching. Xx

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    1. Thank you MoR! I was really pleased with how the pattern/texture of the sweater turned out.

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  13. Beautiful sweater! Such a great idea! You look lovely. Great work!

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    1. Thank you Bonnie! I just hopped over to your blog. It's great.

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    2. That is such a great idea. It turned out beautifully. You fit yourself incredibly well.

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  14. This is brilliant! Thanks for an awesome idea.

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  15. Great idea!
    I'm a knitter, but geez this is so much faster! Makes me wonder why I spend all those hours making a sweater when it can be done so much easier with a blanket.
    Thanks for the wonderful post!

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    1. No problem, weaverpat. Thanks for the compliment. In truth I want to learn to knit, I just haven't taken the time to do it. I see all the beautiful sweaters and socks that people are knitting and I get a bit green with envy!

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  16. What a great idea and it turned out fab! Hope you are wearing it today as it is cold in Indy!

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    1. SherriE, you are so right. I think that sweaters have been on my mind for the last few weeks because of this frigid air. Hopefully we will thaw by April! ;P

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  17. Such an excellent idea, Alicia, and I love how it turned out! Perfect cable placing as well. I may spend more time looking at blankets as finding fabric like that would be difficult.

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    1. Thanks, Tanya! I feel like the pricing for cable knit fabric is crazy. The only problem now is my eye is being drawn to all the cashmere cable knit blankets, and my checkbook can not afford that luxury. Who knew there were throws that were $500? Yikes!

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  18. I've heard of using sheets as wearable muslins. I've also repurposed a man's sweater to make a sweater for my baby's christening/baptism. I don't know why it never occurred to me to repurpose a blanket for ME. Brilliant!! Love how yours turned out. What an inspiration!

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    1. Thanks, Jill. I like to make pajama bottoms for my son out of men's sweaters. With a medium sweater the sleeves make perfect legs for his pjs.

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  19. Love this! Looks wonderful. It has never occurred to me to make a sweater out of a blanket, but I should love to give it a go.

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  20. I am steamin jelly GF! Awesome idea, and wicked sweater!

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  21. Holy Hell!!, You have completely nailed this. You did and excellent job and I mean EXCELLENT!!

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  22. What a truly stunning sweater! You've inspired me to try, even to getting a blanket shipped to UK! I've made fleece blankets into a coat with a hood, vital in this bitter cold :~) But this is even better.

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  23. What a truly stunning sweater! You've inspired me to try, even to getting a blanket shipped to UK! I've made fleece blankets into a coat with a hood, vital in this bitter cold :~) But this is even better.

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  24. Wow absolutely stunning, well done you.
    I'm getting this shipped to UK to make one I'm so impressed with yours.
    I've made a turquoise fleece blanket into a hooded coat but this is beyond gorgeous.

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