How to Fillet a Sweater and a few other things you might want to know

We are just about at the 48 hour point with me, my dress, and Object Runway.

You will have to trust me when I say that I am ALMOST finished with the dress. Once I complete the front, back, and two sleeves, which I have done. I then top stitch the entire garment. I used to top stitch as I completed each seam, but if I make a mistake I have to take it remove the stitching from the felted wool.. Let’s just say this is difficult although in the privacy of my studio I have used much stronger language to describe the process–it’s not easy folks.

Here is a close-up of some of the top stitching for the Queen of the North dress.

Here is a close-up of some of the top stitching for the Queen of the North dress.

Here are a few sketches of the dress–none of the them are exactly the dress, but you get idea. I wanted something that a fierce, mod, northern ruler would wear as she traversed her arctic kingdom.

Can you believe I am showing you my drawings? It is part of my plan to shame myself into improving my drawing skills!

Can you believe I am showing you my drawings? It is part of my plan to shame myself into improving my drawing skills!

In a previous post I showed a very simple set of pattern pieces. In reality these are all the pattern pieces I made for the garment. Each time I change a line, I have to rework the pattern. the good thing about this, is that when I am done, I will have one good solid working pattern that I can use again and again.

In a previous post, I showed a very simple set of pattern pieces. In reality these are all the pattern pieces I have made for the garment. Each time I change a line, I have to rework the pattern. The good thing about this, is that when I am done, I will have one good solid working pattern that I can use again and again.

I could not help myself, and I did already start working on the head dress for the piece. One of my readers Cathy Torrence from the Valley asked if I would share a bit about the head dress.

Here is the inspiration.Sweater Seams

These are the seams from felted sweaters. At first I threw them away,  but the more I thought about it, the more I thought–there has got to be a use for these things, so  I began saving them. I tied them end to end and rolled them into balls. I used them for ribbon on Christmas presents this year which I thought was a nice folksy touch.Ball of Sweater Seams

Then I started thinking that I might want to keep my sweater seams with the sweater they belong to. Don’t ask me why.  Maybe Maria 2012 knew that Maria 2013 would need them saved that way to make the head dress for Queen of the North.

Here is how I prep my sweaters once I felt them in the washing machine.

Here is a sweet  innocent sweater about to get filleted. This sweater was made by LIZSPORT and is 88% Lambswool, 11% Nylon, and 1 % other fibers.

Here is a sweet innocent sweater about to get filleted. This sweater was made by LIZSPORT and is 88% Lambswool, 11% Nylon, and 1 % other fibers.

I cut carefully along both sides of the seam.

I cut carefully along both sides of the seam.

As I remove the seams they look like this.

As I remove the seams they look like this.

In the end I have a nice bit of yarn aka sweater seams.

In the end I have a nice bit of yarn aka sweater seams.

I then roll the cut sweater into a little bundle and tie it with one of its seams. ARen't these just beautiful to look at?

I then roll the cut sweater into a little bundle and tie it with one of its seams. Aren’t these just beautiful to look at?

Once I have properly filleted a sweater, I put it in its color cubby. Walt just built this storage unit for me. It is perfect. And I think the sweaters look lovely all together in their cubbies.

I know some of you are probably freaking out on how many sweaters I have managed collect. If so, get in line behind my husband. He is trying to put the cabash on  my collecting.

I know some of you are probably freaking out on how many sweaters I have managed collect. If so, get in line behind my husband. He is trying to put the kibosh on my collecting.

I just like to look at them.

I just like to look at them.

Here is a lovely close up of the reds.

Here is a lovely close up of the reds.

So the sweater seams are the key to the head dress. What would you do with them?

Thank you Cathy for the idea to share my sweater seams. If any of you have ideas for posts, just let me know.

This entry was published on January 22, 2013 at 1:46 PM. It’s filed under My Process- Clothing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

11 thoughts on “How to Fillet a Sweater and a few other things you might want to know

  1. Joanne Peyton (Thompson) on said:

    extremely cool…….

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  2. As I look at this dress today, it reminds me of the silhouette of Michelle Obama’s coat yesterday at the inauguration. Nice!

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  3. Cathy Torrence on said:

    OMG are there any sweaters left in the Anchorage area??? Sweater seams, you called them yarn at one point, a creative, Freudian slip? Maybe knit a cap? Or of course Norse braids coming out of a cap? Have you seen the knit caps that look like hair for chemo folks? Just a few thoughts, can’t wait to see what you come up with. Cathy

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  4. Ann Manees on said:

    Freaky!!!! I have found another person who saves sweater seams! I use sweaters for rug hooking and had all these seams in a sack. What to do?? I roll or twist them up, seam side out, and make flowerettes for hats, clothing, scarfs, even jewelry. I also quilt, LOVE your color grid quilts. The remind me of the exhuberance of the Quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama.. If you have never seen them, do a search. Also a great human spirit story about the women who made them and how they came to be “art” in museum in New York and traveled through out the country.

    I was charmed by your writing and read all your blog. I came across it through Linda Robinson who works with my daughter, Amanda Johnson in Anchorage. I am in Little Rock, Arkansas and am sharing with my creative friends! Love your spirit. Thanks for sharing.

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    • What a lovely post Ann. Thank you. Yes, I would say my work directly descends from the Quilters of Gee’s Bend. I have all their books. Their work is so beautiful. The highest art in my mind, is taking things that are old and used and making them into new objects of beauty. I’ve been thinking about using the seams to rugs. I will have to try that.Thaks again.

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  5. Pingback: The Making of the Mod « Maria Shell

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  7. Artist Susan Dingman makes vessels from similar strands of fabric by zig-zagging them together like clay coils. Great for holding notions like bobbins, spools, balls of yarn etc. Seems like a natural for your leftovers.

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  8. Pingback: Favorite Garment of 2013 | Maria Shell

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