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You know those kinda crazy, upcycled sweater coats that have been all the rage lately on Etsy? I’ve been eyeing them for a year now, but never seriously — they are expensive! But last week it turned chilly at just about the same time I decided I needed a new project to keep me from overworking. I poked around again, looking for a tutorial, and found an e-book for sale by the original sweater coat lady, Katwise. (This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
And here’s a video you can watch if you’re curious about her coats.)You know I support books and authors, so I bought her e-book, read it through, and have decided — I’m making my very own sweater coat!! This will be my birthday present to myself, satisfying my yearly tradition.

That was Friday night. On Saturday afternoon, I went sweater shopping at our local Salvation Army. I decided I wanted only wool, which limited the selection but resulted in some beautiful fibers. I bought way too many sweaters (16, I think — it came out to two gigantic bags full). I dumped them all into the washer, on hot water and with extra detergent — not once, but twice I washed them. Then dried them on extra heat. They shrunk quite a bit, but they also felted up a fair amount, too. Here’s some of the sweaters after washing them.


I LOVE these colors! But now I had to figure out how to turns these old sweaters into a coat that reflected my personality and tastes. I told Alexa about my idea for the sweater coat and she was skeptical — she didn’t think it was really my style. I explained that I rarely indulged my style as a busy mom and it was high time I did. But I still wanted her on board with this crazy idea, if possible, so I asked if she wanted to figure out where to put the various sweater colors. I made swatches of each color in Adobe Illustrator, made a little drawing, and set her to work. This is what she came up with:


She did good and I approved her design! So this evening I set out to cut the bodice, waistband, and skirt panels. It didn’t take too long. I pinned the bodice and waistband together to see how they looked, and I’m very pleased:


I should note that I originally thought of going with a greenish color for the bodice, but it was a little too big and I was concerned it would just be too droopy after adding the skirt. Also, it was a little too muted. Plus I think the burgundy looked a little better on me. So burgundy it is!

Tomorrow night after Alexa goes to bed I’ll start serging the skirt panels together! Watch for more photos and posts.

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