How To Turn Your Winter Wardrobe Into Summer Pieces

Instead of buying a new warm weather wardrobe, build it with your winter pieces. From sweater to chic top and denim into a cool skirt, Julia Grieve has your guide.

Now is the time to join the re-use revolution! Sweater weather is coming to an end, and what a better way to celebrate than repurposing clothes for the summer season? We’ve all been spending a little more time on social media these days and surely we’ve become aware of how recycling clothing is making a resurgence into the fashion world.

From sweaters to dresses, we are seeing the one-shoulder trend styled everywhere. This sustainable look is affordable and environmentally-friendly. Finding a new purpose for your favourite outfits can be a valuable and exciting process. 

Pair of jeans
Good fabric cutting scissors
Seam ripper (optional)
Lots of pins
Fabric Glue or Sewing Machine 

Asymmetric Sweater 

With the right process you can take a basic sweater (hanging in your closet) and turn it into a designer cutting edge one shoulder masterpiece. The reason a sweater will be of greater benefit than a blouse or a cotton top, is because a wool sweater is very forgiving when you sew it back together. A good quality sweater will always look undeniably polished when you are finished with it. You may wonder what style of sweater is best to use. Consider using a light weight wool sweater. You can also use a chunky knit sweater, but it will be a bit harder to sew back together.

Step 1
The first thing you are going to want to do is lay your sweater onto a flat surface.  You can work with any size of sweater.  If you have a smaller sweater in your closet and you want to do this, it will work. On the other hand if you have a bigger sweater this will be as effective and will have a nice over-sized feel

Step 2
Next, using a tape measure you’ll want to measure from the underarm up to the neck – draw a line with chalk, then cut along that line. Cut across the top of the sweater to create the shoulder angle. You will cut through the front and back of your sweater at the same time (cutting through both sides.)  

Step 3
Now you should see the sweater starting to take shape. Hold up the sweater to your body or you can put the sweater on at this point. Make an assessment to see how much extra fabric there is to remove. Securely insert a pin and carefully remove the extra fabric.

Step 4
Now it’s time to sew. Turn your sweater inside-out. If you have a sewing machine that is awesome, however if do not you can use a needle and thread.  You are now going to stitch along the seam you cut.  Don’t make the stitches too big or you will have little holes in your side seams.  

Step 5
Once that’s done, now we want to tidy up the top. Here is where using fabric glue will give it a clean finish.  You can most definitely sew this step, but if you are using a thin knit sweater, you will see the stitches so you must be super straight. If this is the case you will want to iron the sweater first. To do so fold down about 1 inch, and iron. Then you’ll apply the glue along the seam and push the fabric down.   

Step 6
Once the glue is dried, this is the last and very important step. We want to have a slight gather on the side that has the sleeve. You want to pull the sleeve up a bit to the neck creating a slight draping. It will give the sweater this nice gather but most effectively, it helps secure the other side holding the dress together. You can sew the gather, or get creative and use a nice broach or even a stylish earring.

Jean Skirt

This DIY is a little more time consuming…but come on, we all have a little more time than usual, and let’s use it to create something fantastic. This exceptional piece is a staple in any wardrobe. We are going to turn a pair of jeans into a deconstructed denim mini skirt! Don’t you worry, it is so worth it!  This isn’t your basic denim skirt. We are going to deconstruct a pair of jeans, and keep as many vintage elements as possible to have this skirt looking like it popped off an Alexander Wang runway! It may seem a bit of a throw back piece to the 90s’s but it’s safe to say they’re trending again. A denim skirt, believe it or not is timeless. Let’s be real- who hasn’t had a jean skirt in their closet at one time or another. 

Step 1
To get started hold the jeans up to your waist, and measure where you want the length of the skirt to be.  You can measure your knee or a good rule for a mini skirt you is to measure at the length of your middle finger. Once you decide on the length, mark it with chalk. Then you are going to cut off one leg first, then fold it over and cut the second leg off.  This is a great way of having the legs the same length without having to measure. 

Step 2
Next step is the most time-consuming step. You must seam rip open the inner seams, and up the back and front to the waist band. This is very important to rip the stitches, and not cut the fabric. It’s the key to the deconstructed look. You’ll see as you start going, that the inside of the seam is a darker colour of denim , and that’s what looks so cool.  Alternatively if you don’t have a seam ripper you can always use scissors. Just make sure you are ripping the stitches and not the fabric. Once you are done you will see the jeans with all the threads hanging, and the raw fabric. 

Step 3
Now we are going to start pinning the skirt together. So grab your pins and start with the front. You just want to fold over the front, and put in a few pins. Then flip it over and do the same with the back. The first step is to flatten out the side of the legs, and work with the original width of the legs. Then fold over and pin along that curve. What you’ll see happen is the back seam now covering a bit of the original pockets. It’ll really start to take shape. (we are almost done)

Step 4
Lastly, we just have to fill in the space at the front. Now grab the bottom of the legs that we cut off in the first step, open them up, and use that bit of fabric to fill in the gap. You can have fun with this. Think innovative, you could use a piece of fabric from another pair of jeans, giving them a two tone look.  Perhaps even a totally different fabric altogether. To secure just pin it in. Don’t worry if it’s longer than the skirt, we will cut that off. Once it’s all pinned, you can now sew it together, or glue! Of course you can play with the length once it’s done, you may want it shorter, just cut it off and leave it raw.