Materials and Tools:
A sweater: Mens large or bigger or a Woman's equivelant size
A doll for fitting (This is designed for an 18" American doll)
Pinking Shears (optional)
Optional Materials (see Accessorize)
Cutting: First measure and cut about 12" up from the bottom of the sleeve (this will be the body of the dress). Next measure about 6" up from the remaining sleeve and cut again (the arms of the dress). None of these measurements are real exact for 2 reasons, 1) you're dealing with sweaters that stretch, and 2) dolls will vary in size. Feel free to trim during this process to make a better fit for your doll.
While the dress is still on her, pin the back to fit, sort of a dart, but instead of sewing up the triangle, you'll be cutting instead (I used pinking shears).
Sew: Right sides together, sew the long end of the sleeve (see picture below). I used a zig zag stitch as well as a top stitch. You'll probably need a lot of reinforcement because of the nature of the fabric. With the body of the dress inside out, slip the sleeve through the hole with the right sides out. Pin the sleeve around the hole. Pin the top and bottom of the hole first and stretch the rest of the fabric to meet the sides (see picture below). Zig zag and top stitch around, attaching the sleeve. This can be tricky, so take your time and make sure you're not sewing layers together that don't belong.
You may finish your rough edges with hems, zig zag stitches, or even pinking shears . I chose to leave mine raw... my preference.
Assemble: Where you've cut a slit in the back of the dress, attach snaps.
I created a cowl neckline in front by hand stitching a few stitches to secure the shape of the fold. There is a lot of fabric, so you can shape your neckline however you'd like.
Accessorize: Side ponytail... optional, but encouraged.
You should have a small scrap piece from the center of the sleeve, great for making embellishments for your dress (possibly a belt or tie). I used a scrap piece of leather and a metal rectangle ring for the belt. I sewed one end and used sticky "hook and loop" at the other.You have only used one sleeve, you have the rest of the sweater still to up-cycle, a matching beanie hat, headband, leg warmers or fingerless gloves would finish the look nicely. Good luck!
In the comments, We'd love to see your finished sweater dresses, please post links!
Please join our flickr group and upload pictures of your Sweater Dress or any other Finding Pins and Needles projects. I'd love to see them!