Thursday, January 24, 2013

DIY: Anthro-Inspired Sweater and Skirt

What's this?! A DIY Double-Header? That's right, just for your DIY'ing pleasure, I bring to you a double dose: my felt -n- applique sweater along with my tulle-tastic skirt.
You know that whole "you can do anything you set your mind to" crap they tell you when you are a kid? I remember the very moment I realized that was all a lie.

 I grew up a pretty lanky and unsightly teen. Adolescence painted a particularly ugly picture complete with those giant round glasses all the hipsters now wear, braces/headgear and a feeble attempt at 1980's tidal wave hair all on a flat chested 72 lbs frame. There was not doubt: I was Freak Show Fugly. And, like some cruel joke, my family decided I should send in photos for Seventeen Magazine's Teen Model competition. 

Needless to say, setting my mind to becoming Seventeen's Next American Super Hot Top Pre-Teen Model just wasn't enough to make it a reality. After such a traumatic experience, you'd think a relatively intelligent person would have learned their lesson and stop wishing on a star. Since there is no intelligent life here on this blog, the wishful thinking continues in the form of the bottom half of this Anthropologie knock-off: The Tulle Skirt.
 When I first spotted this skirt in Anthropologie, I knew I had to have it in my life. I mean, look at it, it's all fluffy and soft like some sort of magical 1950's cotton candy skirt. However, the $188 price tag was enough to make me slap my mama. It was then I knew I had to attempt my own version.

When I purchased the tulle at the local craft joint, I asked for all that was on the bolt. After measuring, the fabric cuttin' gal informed me that I'd be purchasing 17 yards of the fluffy stuff. That's when this convo transpired: 

Fab Cuttin' Gal: 17 yards is a lot (duh, lady). Are you sure you need that much?
Me: Well, yeah. And it's only like a dollar a yard so I'll just take it all.
FCG: What are you making? (do they pay them to ask that question?)
Me: Oh, a tulle skirt! I'm so excited.
FCG: Oh, for some little girls? That will be so cute. Little girls just love their tutus!
Me: Oh, I know. Don't they though?!

Humph. Tulle skirts are for kids?! Me thinks not. 
After some serious trouble shooting, I decided to create my skirt using the same pattern I did for this DIY skirt. I layered seven pieces of tulle for each of the three pattern pieces (one large front panel and two back panels) with a gathered-waisted slip underneath. Now the thing about working with tulle is that is should come with some warning labels. Might I recommend the following:

WARNING: So Super Staticy. Like, super duper. A close look at my skirt and you'll find thread, bits of paper and maybe a cat hair or twenty between the layers of tulle-tasticness.
WARNING: Do Not Iron. Okay, really, I know I should have known this but I thought a quick hit on a low setting would be okay. Turns out it's not. 
WARNING: No Tools Should Work with Tulle. And I am a serious tool. I realized that when I was seam-ripping the waist band, my hand slipped and I put a hole in the front of this skirt. It was then that I put down the seam ripper and said, "Tulle, you've won." And I decided the skirt was complete.
Thus ending my long-winded story of my DIY tulle skirt. I'm happy-ish with the end result but most excited that I never-ever-ever have to work on it again. 

Can we please talk about happy DIY's now? Like my latest felted sweater (you can see my other felted creations here and here). I know it doesn't look a think like the Anthro-version (which I spotted on the sale rack for the still-too-high price of $69) but I wasn't in love with that one anyway. I mean, those little gold thinger-mabobbers just look awkward. To me. Pardon me if you are a proud owner of said Gold Thinger-Mabobber Sweater. 

But I do love the idea of having three-dimensional flowers on an otherwise boring gray cardi. Which is how my version came to be.
 AND just in time for Valentine's Day I decided to add a little love to the back of my sweater. What's that Gold Thinger-Mabobber Sweater? You don't have anything on the backside? Oh, too bad.

 Because this sweater was pretty easy and trouble-shooting free to complete, I thought I'd share the process with you. I began by purchasing a couple of 100% wool sweaters at the thrift store. I scored a green sweater for the leaves and a dark gray sweater that I used for the flower pedals. I washed them both in hot water which felted the fibers. This made it so I could cut out the leaf and petal shapes and without fraying. From there I used 100% wool yarn and needle-felted the veins of the leaves as shown above.
 I felted some buttons for the sweater also. For this process I took an inch wide button and wrapped wool roving around it. Then I began the process of wet felting it. Using hot water and soap, I gently rubbed the button between my hands until I felt it shrink. Those dried overnight.
 After crafting a dozen leaves, a half dozen flower petals and a couple buttons, I set to work adding them to my thrift store cardi. Using an applique stitch, I added the flower petals and leaves. I was concerned as I sewed because the the shapes looked warped. Thankfully a hit with a hot iron flattened it all back out.
 Felting the spiral design and the word love were relatively easy. I had originally picked up this wool yarn back in the day I had the silly notion I could knit. Turns out I can't knit but I can felt. As you can see above, I just spelled out the letters of the word and started punching it into place. If you are new to this lil ole blog and you'd like to see a more detailed description of needle felting, please read here.
 Ya see those spirally lines on the sweater front? Those were needle felted in the same way.
 And Ta-Da! This Tutu Skirt -n- Sweater Combo is done. And I think I'm finally ready for my Seventeen Magazine Mid-Aged-Lady Who Thinks She Can Sew closeup!

When I showed my skirt off to hubs, he said, "Oh, is that something you'll wear under your skirt like a tutu?"

Why do I suddenly think that he and FCG are in cahoots together? 

Wow, sorry for the long-winded post, ya'll! If you made it this far...thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your week.


  1. Even if you only wear it once...that skirt is fabulous! Between you and me...I have friends in my local Artist group who gather who are in their late 50's wearing tutu's right now, so hey, do what makes you happy! Seriously - I LOVE that you felted the word LOVE onto the back of that sweater. The pattern of the letters is so for lack of a word "lovely"! A sample sale at your house would bring high dollars girl! I also want to say how cool I think it is that you get inspired at Anthro and then go make your own. I look at stuff in there all the time and have the same reactions as you, but I still get sucked in there any time I am near one. I can't sew yet but I just got a machine and you are driving me to get learning! Thanks for the Inspiration!

  2. Oh Cassie! I love every aspect of this outfit! Another brilliant creation!

  3. Amazing! I love tulle skirts. I totally need a tulle skirt. I'm not sure I am patient enough to sew with tulle though ;-) I love the cardi too. It looks gorgeous!

  4. No such thing as being too old for a tulle skirt! (But then, I may be somewhat biased as I have two and I love them...!)

  5. molto bello!!

  6. Anonymous9/04/2013

    You remind me of princess Kate! Would you consider making this skirt and selling it? I'm no seamstress... meganbrisbourne @ hotmail . ca

    1. You are sweet, what a compliment! Well...the thing is, I'm no seamstress either! This skirt was an absolute nightmare...and I've not worn it much (okay, never!). I just might consider selling it in the future if you are interested :)

  7. I love your cheery blog , and you have inspired me, thank you

  8. Anonymous3/16/2017

    Did you felt the actual sweater as well?

  9. Way to regenerate interest in an old post! NOT A TOOL... A GENIUS! But seriously, I would think the words would be so hard, keeping the lines smooth as you stab?! So excited to try this. I can't wait to get felting over some of my paint stained jeans.


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