Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vogue 8854 - Upcycled Sweatshirt

This is a higgledy-piggledy VERY casual top I made last year, repurposing an old maxi tube skirt and matching oversize top I'd had for probably twenty years! The dusky purple waffle weave fabric obviously has seen better days, but back in the day I had loved the original outfit and wanted to find a way to reuse it. I should have taken a photo before deconstruction began, but didn't:(

Anyhow, I am a big fan of Carolyn at Handmade by Carolyn, who, as just one of her many talents, has made some wonderful clothing out of scraps and castoffs (for a few examples, see hereherehere, and here). It is because of Carolyn that I now have a large plastic tub filled with discarded clothing that has the potential - maybe - of becoming something else.

This top was my first venture.  I used Vogue 8854.  I've seen several appealing versions of this top made up, some using a more drapey knit, some more stiff.  I really wanted to make the hooded version, but as I've said before, when you are making something out of something else, you never have quite as much fabric as you thought you would.  In this case, there was an embroidered and appliqu├ęd design on part of both the top and the skirt that was very worn and unsalvageable, and had to be cut away and discarded, leaving me with minimal fabric. So I went with view B instead.

As far as the pattern goes, I made a medium, which corresponds to a size 12-14.  I did add one inch width to each of the side pieces, tapering out from under the arm.  I also added one inch of length to the back hem, tapering to nothing on the side seam so that front and back would still match.  I liked that bit of high-low and the longer bottom coverage helps keep my seat warm:) This top has a shirttail shaped hem, which I had not done before, but the instructions on how to do it were excellent and worked, even on this extremely bulky fabric.
Side view of the shirt tail hem
The pattern does not really have a back seam, but I was using the back of the original skirt here.

The collar can be worn up or down, but if you plan to wear it up, you probably will need to cut the height down.  I have a long neck, and when the collar is extended it is up under my chin.  When it is extended you can see the pretty button I used to fasten it, but I omitted the snaps on the collar because  99% of the time, I'm going to wear the collar in the down position.
There are two large snaps hand sewn underneath the front flap. It also has a kangaroo pocket, which is a feature I like.  I did lower the placement of the pocket; the pattern had it up quite a bit higher.

The sleeves are reused from the original top, so I can't comment on how the pattern sleeves do.  Because of converting already sewn up pieces of clothing, there are extra seams on my top - some in less than ideal places.  Here you can see - if you squint through the blur - the double shoulder seams:
Because this was an experiment, I decided not to let any wonkiness bother me, instead hoping  pretending that it adds a little note of whimsy.  This is a very casual top, but hey, sometimes I need that in my wardrobe.  I made three tops last winter: a cozy pullovera brown leopard print tunic, and this one.  I have worn them all a lot, which shows me that tops are worthwhile sewing projects.
I had planned to make a few more tops this winter - I'd love to try the hooded version of this pattern - but my coat used up all my sewing time.  That's okay; I'm trying to enjoy the process of my sewing/crafting and keep it pressure-free. I have to confess that I have just started a project that is definitely NOT pressure-free: a formal dress for my daughter.  I will be working on that for the next few weeks -- wish me luck!

In the meantime, I hope all my U.S. friends are keeping warm. Even here in Texas we are planning to be holed up for the next couple of days.  I hope to get in some sewing, cooking and maybe even a jigsaw puzzle:)


  1. That is a great piece! It flatters you and looks so comfy. It has come to the point here that if I am to have some clothes, they will have to be remakes of discarded clothing and men's shirts. I pay close attention to the Pinterest links that feature them.

  2. I think it's a really nice make. I really like the color and texture of the fabric.

  3. This is a lovely way to breathe new life into a much loved garment. Looks like this will become a new favourite. Great work.

  4. Wow! What a fantastic upcycled garment! Great idea, and wonderful that you are wearing it so much.

  5. Cute! and the fabric has that 'distressed' look that folks pay a bundle for! Good job...

  6. Oh, I love the shape of this! How fun!

  7. That is darling and just a perfect thing to wear day in and day out. I have one snuggly sweatshirt like that this winter, and sometimes I just go right ahead and sleep in it! Great color on you, too.

  8. That is a great garment, dear friend !! So clever you used a skirt to get that comfortable jacket, you inspired me.

  9. You're so clever! I really like it -- it looks wonderfully cozy. I like the collar in the UP position. Should be a great shirt for cool winter days. Nice color too!


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