Wardrobe Update: Sweater Upcycling with KnitYorkCity!
by Kollabora Follow

posted 8 years ago

Sarah Hurwitz, the talented lady behind Knit York City, is one of our fave knitting bloggers and needless to say there is always a collective of ooo's and ahhhh's around the office whenever she posts a new project to the site. 

In her inaugural post as one of our first guest writers, Sarah shows you how to give new life to an old sweater with just a few hand stitiches. And make sure to stay on the lookout for more of her wit, wisdom, and killer DIY ideas to come!

As part of starting clean for the new year, I want to go through my wardrobe. In fact, I want to have a wardrobe that includes more DIY. The more work I put into a piece of clothing, the more special it is to me and the more I want to wear it. While I found a lot of pieces that are going to the thrift store, most of them I want to alter or upcycle into something that I'd actually be excited to wear.

I found this boring, oversized sweater in the back of my closet and it was dying for a bit of color. I decided to use a duplicate stitch to make an otherwise plain piece of clothing into something customized.

The duplicate stitch is a really easy way to add a graphic to any stockinette stitch knit (any piece where you can see the V's not just bumps). The duplicate stitch does just what it's name suggests: you sew over a stitch using contrasting yarn to "change" its color. Put a long length of yarn onto a tapestry needle. Begin the stitch by inserting the needle from the wrong side through the base of the stitch that you want to duplicate. (This is the where the two diagonal parts of the stitch's V meet.) Next, insert the needle across the bottom of the stitch ABOVE the one that you want to duplicate. You'll be passing under the V of that stitch. Finally, insert the needle back where you started at the bottom of the V.


I used graph paper to draw out an abstract shape that I wanted to put on my plain Jane sweater. If you're feeling confident, you can go freehand or if you want a better guide, cut out a template and trace the outline in a quick basting stitch that you can remove at the end. Pick a contrasting yarn in a similar thickness to the piece you want to customize (I used Nora's Pantry Superfine Alpaca in Paprika). If the original sweater is chunky, you'll need a thicker yarn or you can double up, but it doesn't have to be exact. If the yarn is thinner, you'll be able to see a little bit of the colors blending, a look that I happen to like.

I went with a geometric design but you can add a letter, shape, or silhouette. Animal graphics are everywhere this season, if you want to do something a little more complicated. You can even use multiple colors of yarn. The possibilities are endless now. Duplicate stitch is a quick and simple tool for making something boring into something better!

Discussion 4

  • Maddie commented 8 years ago

    Okay stop it! This is super cute

  • Ashley commented 8 years ago

    I love this. And it's so simple. Maybe I'll actually give it a try!

  • Nora commented 8 years ago

    So smart. Love it!

  • mercedesknits commented 8 years ago

    Very cool! It's like a graphic tee.

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