Sweater Makeover

For years I haven’t been able to buy a wool sweater locally and I love wearing wool pullovers. About eight years ago I came across WoolOvers online – a British company specializing in fine cashmere, cotton and wool knitwear. I’ve been buying from them merino/cashmere pullovers which are fine enough to wear over a cotton turtleneck and under a jacket, yet warm enough to wear with a turtleneck alone. Over the years, I’ve built up a collection in a range of colours (and I’ve knit socks to “match” so I have an “outfit”).

I get regular emails from WoolOvers – I like to see what they’ve got on sale – and a couple of weeks ago they were advertising a soft pink merino/cashmere pullover – I liked the colour so I ordered one (and while I was ordering I picked out a second in “bluebell”). These crewneck sweaters were in “unisex” sizing – now I know that’s larger than the sizing for the women’s classic crewneck sweater that I’ve been buying but since I liked the colours added them to the shopping cart and finished the transaction hoping the size I selected would be in the ballpark.

Three days ago the two sweaters arrived having been intercepted by Canada Customs – to accept the sweaters I had to pay an additional $52.79! It wasn’t until I’d paid the duty, opened the parcel that I discovered just how much bigger these unisex sweaters were!



Pale Pink Unisex Crewneck

Both a lot wider and longer! Not exactly a sweater for a SHORT woman!

I’m now heavily invested in these two crewneck pullovers – so I decide to remake them (before wearing either for the first time) – first by shortening the body and the sleeves, then taking in both body and sleeves so these two pullovers will fit more or less like my others.


Women’s Classic Crewneck

I measure the body length of my classic crewneck, the length of the unisex crewneck pullover, and carefully pin and baste the bottom of the pink pullover so I end up with a seam adjacent the ribbing at the bottom (taking 9 cm out of the length). Same with the sleeves .

Now, I take a VERY DEEP BREATH. I set up my serger, and carefully stitch a seam along the bottom of the sweater, in the process cutting away the excess from body. Next I tackle the sleeves. I gently steam press the serged seam allowance away from the ribbing. So, yes there’s a seam joining ribbing to body, but when it’s on it’s not too obvious. Then I mark the excess in the width of body and lower sleeve and serge new side seams and sleeve seams.

And voilà – a sweater that fits!


Next I did the blue one:


That looks good, too. Nobody is going to notice the seams joining ribbing to sweater!

So, if like me, you love wearing wool sweaters, check out WoolOvers – but be sure you check their size guides – there’s a very big difference between the sizing of the women’s sweaters and the Unisex ones. (The sweaters are machine washable with a gentle detergent and cold water; I dry mine laid flat on the carpet in the spare room.)