DIY

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Turn a Shrunken Sweater Into a Retro Wool Beret

turn a shrunken sweater into a felted beret

While we’ve been pleasantly surprised with a very warm winter this year, the weather has turned cold lately, and it is definitely feeling like winter in Alberta again. Since it is only February (which means we’ve still got a ways to go before Spring) this is the perfect time to share one of my latest projects- a felted wool beret. Berets are not necessarily the warmest of headwear, but they do add a great vintage element to your winter ensemble, so I definitely consider them to be a fall and winter outfit staple.

While berets have risen in popularity the past few years, I have yet to come across one in brown. So, if you can’t find one at the store and you can’t knit or crochet one for yourself, what can you do? You can easily turn a shrunken sweater castoff into a felted beret!

I would not recommend that you take a perfectly good wool sweater and felt it, because wool sweaters can be expensive and it always seems like a waste to cut up something in good shape that someone could actually wear the way it is. However, there are so many wool sweaters in thrift shops that are no longer in good condition. Whether it’s due to the previous owner accidentally shrinking them, or that they are full of moth holes or runs, or even that they have stretched out of shape due to improper care, the thrift shops are full of them. This project is a perfect way to recycle and refashion those sweaters that are completely ruined and useless into something new!

shrunken wool sweater perfect for felting

I found this chocolate brown sweater years ago, but hadn’t yet figured out what to make. Since brown berets have proven difficult to find, I thought that this would be the perfect way to get the colour I wanted.

To Make Your Own, You Will Need:

  • A 100% old wool sweater. Make sure it is real wool content, so it will felt for you. I know you can also use blends that have a high wool content, but I’ve never done that myself, so am not sure whether they felt differently or not.
  • Needle & thread/ sewing machine
  • Beret pattern- I used Tanith Rowan’s Grevillea Beret. (Tanith gifted me that pattern several years ago. You can see the first one I made here). Edited to add: Another free beret option is this style from Brittani of Untitled Thoughts. She has a free pattern download, as well a sewing tutorial. 
  • Button to cover, or a decorative button of your choice 
  • Elastic to make the hat fit tighter, optional

To Make the Hat:

My wool was already partially felted, so I cut the pieces out of the sweater and went from there, felting the final hat a little more at the end. After making this one, I was wondering whether you could also make it by cutting your pattern pieces out a bit larger and then felting the wool after you already have the hat sewn up. This might make the seam lines disappear a bit, and make the hat easier to form, but I haven’t tried it yet to know for sure.

But, in order to make the hat exactly as I have here, you are first going to need to felt your sweater, if it isn’t already shrunken. You can do this by putting the sweater into the washing machine with a little bit of laundry soap and washing it in hot water. It works better if you have a few sweaters in at the same time, so they can bump into each other and cause friction. You can also add a foam ball or flip-flop to help it felt even faster. Once you have washed your wool, take a look at it and see whether it has felted enough. If you want it to shrink a bit more, you can put it through the dryer, removing it before it is completely dry. Once the wool is good, let it dry.

wool sweater and sewing supplies

Once your sweater is dry, it is time to figure out your pattern. There are several different ways to make a sewn beret; I chose to use Tanith Rowan’s Grevillea Beret, since I already had the pattern. This hat is made up of segments, giving it an octagonal shape. Her pattern has a more vertical shape to it and doesn’t lie flat, but since I wanted the hat to have a similar flat shape and fit to a traditional round wool beret, I made a couple of changes.

adjusting the pattern to make a flat style beret

To adjust the pattern, I made a sharper angle on the bottom segments so they would be narrower at the bottom edge. This way the hat would lay flat back on itself.  I measured the inner circumference of a beret that I already had and made the opening of my pattern add up to 20″ circumference. I actually should have made the opening a little bit smaller, since the hat ended up stretching quite a bit, so I would recommend that you go at least an inch or two smaller than you want it to be, to account for stretch. The other change I made to the pattern was using a facing, rather than a hat band. (More on that in a minute)

Once you’ve chosen your pattern, it’s time to cut it out. Watch out for where the seams are in the sweater, you don’t want to accidentally cut across them, or you’ll end up with a bulky piece. Also, look for any areas that may have holes or other flaws, since they won’t have closed up during felting. I cut my pieces out of the sleeve and around the neckline to maximize the amount of fabric I would have left over to use for future projects. I also saved the bottom of the sleeve pieces including the cuffs, since I might make a pair of matching mittens in the future using this method here.

Once you’ve got your pieces cut out, it is time to sew them. Since the wool is felted, you won’t need to worry about it fraying, so you don’t need to finish the edges in any way. Sew together your pieces of the hat, excluding the hat band, following the instructions of your pattern.

sewing the felted pieces of the hat

Make sure to use a zig-zag rather than a straight stitch when sewing, since this is a stretch fabric.

Instead of making a flat hat band, I decided to made a round facing. The advantage of a facing, rather than a hat band is that it flips to the inside, so it is completely hidden. This is just a style preference, you could also use a flat hat band if you prefer. To make my facing, I measured the diameter across of the opening of my hat, then measured out 2″ and cut out the circle pattern piece. My sweater had a large enough section left to cut the facing in one piece, but you might need to cut it in 2 pieces and sew them together. If so, remember to leave seam allowances!

making the hat facing

With right sides together, sew the facing to the hat.

Once you’ve got the hat sewn, it is time to form the shape of the hat. To make a form, cut a piece of cardboard into a circle the size you want your finished hat to be. I measured the beret I already had, to figure out what size I wanted. Since your hat will be wet, you need to waterproof the form, so place the cardboard piece inside a bag. I was originally going to use a dinner plate as a form (it was the exact size needed!) but then I wasn’t sure I would be able to get it out after the hat had dried without having to stretch the hat completely out of shape…or smash the plate! The cardboard turned out to be flexible enough to remove easily and it worked well.

hat all sewn up and ready to form

Now, fill a basin or sink with hot water. Submerge the hat so it is completely wet, and then slightly agitate the wool. Once it is fully soaked, take the hat out and gently press the water out. Don’t wring it, or it will stretch too much- the wool will be quite floppy! Roll the wool in a towel to pull out most of the water.

soaking the wool hat to felt

Take your cardboard form and place it inside the hat. Smooth the seams flat and shape the hat around the form. The hat will shrink as it dries, so in order to keep the opening of the hat from pulling back too wide, sew a stitch around the inner edge and slightly gather it in. Once you’ve finished, it’s time to let it dry. I placed my hat directly onto my drying rack, which ended up leaving some marks from the rods on the wool that I had to steam out, so I would recommend either letting the hat dry on a fabric mesh sweater drying rack, or placing a towel across the bars of a drying rack for the beret to sit on top of.

putting the wool beret onto the cardboard form

Once the hat is dry, you can snip the gathering stitch from the edge and then take the hat off of the form!

Not all of my seams dried completely flat, so to help shape it a little bit more, I used a tailor’s ham (actually a towel wadded inside an old t-shirt) to steam press the hat into a smoother shape. Then I pressed it flat. Make sure to use a wet press cloth, dampen the wool and lightly go over with your iron while it’s on full steam, so you don’t scorch your wool and make it go shiny.

steaming and shaping the beret once dry

Once you’ve pressed the hat into shape, it is time to tack the facing edge down, sewing through the seams to hide the stitches. After I finished the hat and tried it on, I discovered that the wool was a lot stretchier than my other berets and was quite loose. One of my other berets has a soft elastic around the edge which works well to keep the hat in place, so I added a piece of elastic along the edge of this hat. Place the elastic between the facing and the top of the hat and stitch in place by tacking it through the seams in order to hide the stitches.

sewing elastic along the edge and the facing into place

The final step is to add a button. You can either cover a button with wool, or use a decorative button. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to use a covered button because the wool was so stiff, but I actually managed to push the back/shank onto the button form. If your wool is too thick to use the shank to cover your button, you can cut a circle of felt, run a gathering stitch around the edge and gather it in around the button form. (Like making a fabric yo-yo) Since it’s not a functional button, it doesn’t need to have a shank on the back and you can just sew it on like that, with the raw edges hidden underneath.

covering the button and adding it to the top of the hat

Once the button is sewn on, your hat is done. There you have it- a vintage styled felted beret, without even having to know how to knit or crochet!

the finished upcycled wool beret

Have you ever made anything with felted wool before? It’s a lot of fun, since the wool is so easy to manipulate. We’ve got some more wool sweaters in our stash, and I am now wondering whether I should steal some of them to make some more hats….

Do you think you will try this and turn a shrunken sweater into something new?

wearing an upcycled wool Tanith Rowan Grevillea beret made out of a shrunken sweater

the finished beret

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Homemade Body Butter

body butter gift under the tree, the artyologist

Is it really only one more week until Christmas?

I read a while ago that this year has kind of been like Rip Van Winkle and, for me, I would agree. While my daily routine has definitely slowed down, time seems to be rushing by, and it all feels a bit surreal. While we’ve already passed the halfway point for December, it still feels like this year has gone by so slowly. In some ways it does seem like I’m sleeping while the world continues spinning by…

Well, in case time has gotten away from you too, and you need some last minute gifts, today I am sharing a zero-waste inspired Christmas gift you can easily make in a few hours. The great thing is that it mostly uses items you might already have around the house! This is a bit different than the topics I usually discuss here, but I kind of like branching out into new topics, and this definitely fits into the “lifestyle’ category.

I don’t know where I found this recipe- I think from a zero waste blogger or Instagrammer, but you can easily find these sorts of recipes with a quick google search of “diy natural body butter”. This is just the one I make because I bought a huge pail of shea butter several years ago, and I am trying to work my way through it (slowly!).

Easy Homemade Natural Body Butter

1 part coconut oil

1 part sweet almond oil (or light olive oil)

2 parts shea butter

Optional: essential oil of your choice

I usually make this recipe with sweet almond oil, but since I used up all of my almond oil while making soap, I couldn’t find any more! Usually I would get it at the health food store, but they didn’t have any. After a bit of research it appears that light olive oil works as a substitute, and it seems to be working just as well. I would definitely recommend light, not regular oil, so there isn’t a strong olive smell.

Also, I used lavender essential oil, but you can definitely make it unscented.

I also saw several other recipes used cocoa butter instead of shea, so you could probably try that too. Basically the most important part is that you need to have equal parts oil to butter.

Heat your oils and butter in a double boiler until it is completely melted, then place in the refrigerator to cool. I forgot to take any photos of this process, but it is pretty straightforward. Once it has solidified (several hours depending on how much you have made), then take it out and immediately whip with a blender until it is white and fluffy. It’s like magic how quickly it beats up! Then add some essential oils, 4-5 drops, if desired and mix in completely.

I am sure there is a shelf life on homemade body butters (probably a few months?) but to be honest I haven’t had any problems with it going rancid. I keep mine in my nightstand drawer, and I have had this last batch for probably 9 months, and I’ve never had any bacteria growth or funky smells or anything. This is a very moisturizing (albeit greasy) body butter, perfect for winter dryness; I use it on my feet, or as a lip balm.

Once you’ve whipped up the butter, then you are ready to decant it into jars.

I have been collecting these face lotion jars for the past few years, because I hate throwing things out, and I was sure I could find a use for them, even if for just organizing/storage. However a few months ago, I thought of an even better use- to repurpose as gifts (a zero waste win!). I used nail polish remover to take the labels off, and then sterilized the jars by running them through the dishwasher and heating the lids with boiling water.

They worked perfectly to hold about 3 tbsp of body butter- the perfect amount to try it out, without having to commit to using for the next few years! Any small jar would work great, maybe a small spice jar? Or a tiny canning jar?

I also decided to include the recipe in with the gift. I purchased this recipe card printable in the spring from local-ish artist Jenni Haikonen, as it’s so nice to give people recipes written on a pretty card, rather than any old paper, isn’t it?

I wrapped the gift up in some brown paper bags I have had for years, tied them with some recycled ribbons and twine (I always save ribbons and string whenever I get a package etc. in order to reuse them) and added some homemade Victorian Christmas tags. And there you have a lovely little gift for friends, coworkers or anyone else you want to give a gift to this season!

Well, I hope you enjoy making this recipe, if you decide to, and also hope that you have a very Merry Christmas season!

How to Make a Folded Heart Valentine Card

how to make a folded heart valentine card, the artyologist

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Valentines Day is one of my favourite holidays in the year! It’s just so lovely to send people cards and notes to tell them how much you love them, don’t you think?

This year, I decided to try something a little different and make some folded heart cards. Years ago my sister made me a card like this (out of neon yellow paper!). I thought it was so cute, so I thought I’d replicate them this year to give to people…but not in neon yellow! If you need a last minute card, this is a nice and simple one that only takes a few minutes. It is similar to origami, but since you cut the paper, I don’t think it truly counts as origami. Nevertheless, it is a cute design and only requires a rectangle of paper and a ribbon if you’d like to tie it shut…keep reading for how to!

How to Make a Folded Heart Valentine Card

Step 1: All you’ll need for this card is a piece of paper that is twice as wide as it is tall- example 3” x 6”, 4” x 8” etc. You can make it as small or as large as you’d like! If you’re sending it in the mail, make sure you don’t make your card too big to fit in an envelope!

folded heart valentine card step 1

Step 2. Mark the centre of the paper. You don’t have to make a line all the way down like I have in the photo- a small tick at the top will be fine, since this will be the inside of the card!

folded heart valentine card step 3

Step 3. Fold one edge of the paper into the centre and crease

Step 4. Repeat with the other edge of the paper.

folded heart valentine card step 5

Step 5. Fold the bottom edge diagonally into the centre to form the bottom of the heart.

Step 6: Repeat on the other side, to finish forming the bottom of the heart.

folded heart valentine card step 7

Step 7: Take your ruler and mark where the middle of each side is. For example, this card is 3” wide, so I am marking at 3/4” and 2 1/4” .

Step 8: Fold the top edge diagonally where you have marked, to start creating the top of the heart.

folded heart valentine card step 9

Step 9: Repeat with the other side.

Step 10: Now fold down the flaps diagonally. You won’t be able to fold the back of the card yet, but we’ll do that in the next step! We will now cut where the dashed line is in the photo.

folded heart valentine card step 11

Step 11: Now that the back of the card has had a small cut, it will be able to fold diagonally to finish forming the top of the heart.

Step 12: Repeat on the other side.

folded heart valentine card step 13

Step 13: I had a hard time photographing this step, but open the card slightly and “pop” the folded parts inside out, so they are now folded inside the card.

Step 14: Now you are finished folding! Go along all the edges and crease them again, so you’ve got a nice crisp edge.

folded heart valentine card step 15

Step 15: If you’d like. You can tie a ribbon around the card to hold it shut. You could also seal it with a sticker (or a wax seal if you’ve got one!).

There you go: a quick, easy Valentine card to show someone you care!

valentine envelopes

Another special touch, is a matching envelope. I made these envelopes out of coordinating papers- they’ll add such a cheerful pop of colour in my friends’ mailboxes!

Do you like Valentines Day? What are your plans this year? Did you send cards or plan on giving cards to your friends?

How to Sew Your Own Mittens out of a Felted Sweater

Goodness, it’s been cold lately! It was -38 yesterday and this morning! I’m not used to it (am I ever used to the cold?) because we’ve had such a mild winter (so mild that I was wearing my raincoat in January, because my cashmere coat was too hot!)

But, this past week we got a huge amount of snow and chilly temperatures along with it- so it’s winter again in Alberta! All that to say- it seems like the perfect time to share a tutorial for felted woolen mittens! 

I made these mittens a few weeks ago for my best friend’s birthday gift (and I couldn’t post this tutorial until she opened them today!) I wanted to give her a pair of mittens, since hers have sadly reached the end of their life, but the only problem is that I don’t knit! I also didn’t think of giving her mittens a few months ago and looking at all the Christmas craft fairs, where I was sure to have found plenty. I didn’t want to give her “store-bought” ones, and I also didn’t have time to order any from Etsy or someplace like that.

So, what to do? Felt them! 

As I was figuring out how to make them, through much trial and error, I had the forethought to take a few quick pictures to share with you, so today is a tutorial on making your own mittens out of felted wool!

This is the first project I have ever made out of felted wool (I think. . . ) so it was a completely new experience. When I had the idea to make some mittens, I started looking for a pattern, but couldn’t find one that seemed to work. Many of the patterns I saw had the bottom of the palm and the thumb as one piece with a seam across the palm. I made up a test version with this style, and I didn’t like how it fit. There was a lot of excess fabric on the palm and the thumb was not off to the side enough to fit well.

So, as I was scrolling through pictures of felted mittens, I found a pair for sale that had a separate piece on the side for the thumb. I decided to attempt making this style, so I took a scrap piece of fabric, sewed a test mitten, created a pattern from it- and here is the result! 

You will need:

  • A piece of 100% wool, such as an old felted sweater. Check out the thrift shop for wool- just make sure it is 100%  wool content, so it will felt for you.
  • Lining fabric- make sure it is stretchy. I used a scrap of t-shirt fabric. For extra “eco cred”, you could even recycle an old t-shirt! 
  • Needle and Thread

Optional: 

  • Woolen thread of the same colour, for handstitching
  • Elasticized thread for sewing in lining, if you are lining them

STEP ONE:

Felt your wool if it isn’t already felted. You can put it in your washing machine on hot, with a bit of detergent and then wash as normal. If you put in a few sweaters, they will felt faster, because of the agitation. Check your wool once washed, and see if it is felted enough- if not you can repeat the process until it is. Then let it dry.

STEP TWO:

I don’t have an actual pattern to share with you, because as I was sewing, I changed things along the way, and had to cut out excess fabric etc. but this is the original shape that I started out with. Measure and trace your own hand to create a pattern that will fit you. I made the underside/palm of my mitten slightly smaller, so the seam wouldn’t show as much, but once I made them, the wool was so forgiving I don’t know if it made any difference. If you include a 1/2” seam allowance and start out with pieces shaped somewhat like this, you will have room to tweak as you go along! 

ps- this is the size I made it for my hand. The measurements might be different for you.

STEP THREE:

Lay the wool out flat, and decide where you want your mittens to be. Look to see if you can use some of the existing elements, such as cuffs or collars in the design of the mittens. If you have a patterned sweater, like mine, choose where you want the pattern to run. I ended up placing my pattern pieces along the hem, so I could incorporate the finished edge as a cuff. I also made sure to line up the edges of the pattern along the bottom, so the pattern would be consistent from front to back and across the thumb.

STEP FOUR:

Cut out your pieces!

STEP FIVE:

Pin along the top curve of the mitten and sew, either by hand or by machine.

Once you get over to the side, you’ll have to feather out your stitching, like a dart. If, when you turn the mitten right side out, the curve isn’t smooth, use a thread to hand stitch the pieces and soften out the curve and pull the pieces together nicely.

STEP SIX:

Sew the curve of the thumb piece. 

Try on the mitten, to see how it’s progressing for fit. If you need to make any adjustments to size, do so now. It’s easier to make changes before it’s completely sewn together.

STEP SEVEN:

Turn inside out and pin thumb to the hand piece. Line up the bottom edges and then sew together. You probably won’t be able to sew all the way around with the machine, because the pieces are so small. Finish attaching the thumb piece on with a hand stitch. I found it was easiest to put the mitten on my hand, right side out and then hand stitch the pieces together.

STEP EIGHT:

Turn the mitten inside out! 

If you are not creating a lining, then you are done! Simply tack the seam allowances down at the edge of the mitten, and steam into shape if there are any bulges etc. 

STEP NINE:

If you are creating a lining, repeat the steps with the lining fabric, but don’t worry about shaping (as long as it’s not too big), as it’s going to be hidden inside the mitten. 

STEP TEN:

Once you have finished the lining, leave it inside out, and fit inside the woolen mitten. Turn under the edge and then stitch to the outer mitten with some elastic thread. 

And there you have it!

The nice thing about making mittens out of felted wool is that the fabric is very moldable, so it will soon conform to your hand.

This was a relatively quick project. I finished them in several hours- and that includes the trial and error of fitting them. Now that I have sewn with felted wool, I am thinking up other projects I can make. . . earbands, slippers, baby boots. . . what else?

Have you ever made anything with felted wool before? Do you think you’ll try making some mittens of your own? What other projects would be good to make out of felted recycled wool?

Operation: Save the Petticoat! (Or, A Simple Petticoat Alteration)

Operation Save the Petticoat (Or a Simple Petticoat Alteration), the artyologist

Less than a week before Easter, I realized that the dress I was planning to wear on Easter Sunday required a petticoat, and that I did not have a petticoat which I could wear under it.

I have one longer length 29″ starched crinoline which I got at a thrift store a few years ago, and it works perfectly for the few 1950’s tea length gowns I have. Because of the longer length, this crinoline doesn’t work for my “regular” length skirts and dresses though, which are usually somewhere around 24″-25″ long, so a few years ago, I also invested in a Doris Petticoat. I decided to buy a Doris Petticoat because I had seen several other bloggers wearing them, and they are so, so pretty since they are made of over 36 metres of fluffy and soft nylon lingerie netting and ruffles. There could be nothing more perfect in my mind than a peach coloured ruffled petticoat, so I decided to buy the 21″ length one, and then waited expectantly for it to arrive. Imagine my disappointment when it arrived and I discovered, when I tried it on, that it was simply too full for the majority of my dresses! I did have one circle skirted dress it fit under, so I wore it with the petticoat a few times. I realized though, that while I do love the extremely full and dramatic silhouette of the 1950’s, for some reason, I felt very self conscious when wearing an extremely pouffy skirt for daywear. When I see pictures of other vintage ladies, I never think that their skirts are too full- but as soon as I am wearing one, I feel a bit unsettled. Give me a ridiculous hat and I will walk tall and proud- but an extremely wide petticoat makes me nervous! (Oh, and so sorry that my massive skirt with a mind of it’s own just bumped into your priceless vase. . . )

So, with great reluctance, I stuffed the petticoat back into it’s bag and hid it in the back of my closet so I wouldn’t feel bad every time I looked at it. It came out of hiding a few times for costumes etc. but not as a regular part of my wardrobe.

Well, back in October I was reading Lily’s blog, Mode-De-Lis, and she shared a post about different styles of petticoats and what kind of shape they give and how she liked them. She had altered her Hell Bunny petticoat with a cotton yoke, so that it would be more comfortable, and suddenly I realized that I should alter my petticoat! Fast forward to the week before Easter, and I realized that it was time to enact Operation: Save the Petticoat.

I was a bit nervous cutting apart my petticoat: after all what if I ruined it?! But then I realized that it wasn’t doing any good unloved and unworn in the back of my closet, so I decided to go ahead with the petticoat alteration. Here is how I altered it and ended up turning it into two separate petticoats of different lengths, which can also be worn together, if needed someday in the future.

The first step in the petticoat alteration, was in creating a yoke. I decided to create a yoke because, like Lily, I found the elastic waist to be rather bulky, as well as shifty. I was always afraid that it was going to slide down and poke out the bottom of my skirt. Creating a yoke, solved this problem by making the top fit smoothly and securely, while also reducing bulk. (Because who wants bulk right at their waist?)

Operation Save the Petticoat- materials, the artyologist

I made the top out of a few scraps of cotton in our scrap bin (exactly enough to make this yoke- so keep those scraps- you never know when you might need them!) In order to create the shape, I took a basic skirt pattern, traced it and then figured out where I wanted the yoke to end, which was 8 inches down. I then cut out the fabric at this length.

I decided to French seam the side seam, as I wanted this to be perfectly finished inside and out. For the other side (the opening) I pressed the seam allowance in, to cover all the raw edges, and then sewed up from the bottom about an inch. At this stage, I tried it on to see if I could pull it up over my hips, and over my head (before I got it all sewn together and discovered that it was too short or something).

Simple Petticoat Alteration, the artyologist, how to yoke

Once I had made sure that the yoke fit well, I turned under the seams and topstitched to finish neatly. To finish the top edge, I had thought about creating a facing, but then decided to cover the raw edge with bias tape instead. Bias tape was my mom’s idea and was a lot quicker than creating a facing, and it made a nice edge without too much bulk. Once that was done, it was time to add the petticoat ruffles.

I took apart the elastic waistband/casing of the petticoat, which left me with a tube of tricot with ruffles sewn on either end. I then measured up from the hem to the length that was required. Since the yoke was 8″ and the finished length I wanted was 24″, I measured up 16″ and added 1/2 inch for a seam allowance. I pinned all the way around, (since I currently don’t have a fabric marker) and then cut neatly all the way around.

Simple Petticoat Alteration, the artyologist, petticoat ruffles

Once the piece was cut, I was left with a very short and wide petticoat 🙂 Now it was time to sew the petticoat to the yoke. As the petticoat was wider than the yoke, I just eased it in as I sewed without worrying too much about it if I got some pleats in the fabric. Once I had sewed the petticoat on, I serged the edge of the seam to give it a nice finished edge.

With that, the petticoat was done, except for buttons. I decided to do small buttons and button loops, so I marked where my buttons needed to be, and then created thread loops using this method below. With that, the first petticoat alteration was done!

Simple Petticoat Alteration, the artyologist, button loop instructions

Simple Petticoat Alteration, the artyologist, button-details

After I had made this first petticoat, I decided I might as well take the remaining half and create a shorter one. I don’t like my petticoats sticking out below the skirt, so I thought that creating a 21″ petticoat would be perfect for those few dresses I have which fall at exactly knee length. For this one, I decided to simply sew some wide lingerie elastic around the top and call it done. But, of course that would have been too easy, right? When I tried this shorter petticoat with my dresses, I realized that the fullness had too much of a rockabilly flair and I am simply not a rockabilly girl. The petticoat was too full for it’s length, and so I realized that (horror of horrors!) I needed to reduce the fullness. So, now began Operation: Dismantle the Petticoat.

When Doris Petticoats tells you that their petticoats are made up of more than 36 metres of fabric, they are not kidding. The first step in this petticoat alteration was in taking the bottom tier off of the petticoat, which resulted in more than 17 metres of ruffles!

Simple Petticoat Alteration, the artyologist, ruffles and second petticoat

I decided to reduce the fullness of the petticoat by about a 1/3 as I figured that would be enough, and I wasn’t sure whether reducing it by 1/2 would be too much. I cut the bottom tier at 12 metres and then came to the odious task of regathering the nylon back onto the top tier (while also distributing the fullness evenly all the way around; so I wouldn’t end up with an unevenly shaped petticoat that was fuller on one side!) This probably took the better part of 2 hours to do. Once it was all regathered, I pinned it within an inch of it’s life- and then went to bed! 🙂

In the morning, when I was ready to tackle the job again, I took the petticoat and ran it through the serger. This took care of the edge seams, as well as sewing both pieces together all in one step. I did end up with some areas that missed the stitching, since it was a massive amount of fabric to work with- so I ran it through twice.

Once the tiers were all gathered back together, I was almost done. All that was left was to sew the skirt back onto the elastic waistband. I sewed it near the top, to get the proper length, and was initially planning to sew two rows- one at the top and one at the bottom of the elastic for stability. However, when I tried it on, the elastic accidentally flipped inside out and I realized that if I left it with one row of stitching I could flip it in or out depending on which length of skirt I was wearing. It is now essentially a convertible petticoat! Yay!

Simple Petticoat Alteration, the artyologist, altered tops

So, after all that, I ended up wearing the convertible petticoat for Easter Sunday, as it turned out to be the perfect length to wear with my Easter dress which is a bit on the shorter side.

I was at first nervous to cut it apart and attempt a petticoat alteration, but I am so glad I did! After two years of owning it, I now have a petticoat that I can actually wear. I have worn it a couple of times now with my knee length skirts, and it adds such a nice fullness, shape and swish to my skirts. It was amazing how simply reducing the amount of ruffles in half made such a difference. I think now, that my petticoats are going to get a lot more wear from now on!

Have you ever altered something you purchased that didn’t work out for you the way you had hoped? Would you ever make or alter a petticoat?

You can see what a difference the petticoat gives to the shape of this dress. The perfect amount of “pouf”!

Simple Petticoat Alteration, the artyologist, before and after with petticoat