Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fabulous New Refashion/Recycle Book: “The Sweater Chop Shop”


Just released two days ago:  this colorful book on turning recycled wool sweaters into new, beautiful garments and useful objects for the house.   

The Sweater Chop Shop is my new favorite book on clothing recycling and wardrobe refashioning.   It’s well written with clear instructions and illustrations.  It has a wonderful balance of introductory information and let’s-get-started enthusiasm.

Ms ffrench’s basic method is to create felted fabric from good quality wool sweaters in your washing machine and dryer, and then using the resulting fabric to create garments and household items. 

You can make the Renaissance Top with Bell Sleeves pictured on the book cover.  Or a Basic Pullover, or an Empire Vest with Gathers.  For the home, how about this:   

The processes involved are so simple that one doesn’t even need a sewing machine.  All the projects are designed to be sewn by hand; in fact, the hand sewing is a design element. 

Also—and this is important—the designs in this book are just cool, fresh, and funky.  Having now looked at several wardrobe refashioning books, I’m not interested in another way to cut up a t-shirt or make a halter top out of a scarf.  Those might be fine for twenty-something women, but I need something more substantial and higher-quality.  I found some truly new, innovative ideas here.   


Crispina ffrench photo from her blog,

Best of all, the designs are adaptable to pretty much any body, personality, age, or gender.  The author gives detailed instructions on how to make basic garments, then follows with a chapter on individual elements to personalize them, such as hoods, various pockets, etc.  If you don’t care for the rough-hewn, handmade look that’s pictured in the book, it would be easy to refine the designs by using a sewing machine and hiding the stitching. 

I’m sold.  I have to run to the basement now, to get my four old sweaters out of the washing machine and into the dryer for the next step in the Sweater Chop.  


Eleonora Baldwin said...

I love it!
Maybe a little craft work is what I need to creep out of this hole I've dug myself into lately.

Thanks for the pointer!

~Lola xx

Zuzana said...

Don't you just love when you discover something that fits you and your likes?
I love the idea of recycling, but unfortunately I am not very good at re-sewing or redoing my clothes. Instead, I think I rather donate some of my old clothes to charity. Or if I save it long enough, I have found that I can re-discover some of my old clothing, as fashion goes around.;))

Seeker said...

I have something in my blog for you, please check it.
Thank you

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I absolutely love the pillows I've seen made from old sweaters. With the buttons still attached. Lovely.

Crispina ffrench said...

thanks for the great review! If you would like to stay on top of all the happenings and workshops around the studio you can fan me on facebook. The business is listed as Crispina there.
thanks again!
Happy Creating!
Crispina ffrench

Cynthia L. H. said...

Oooooooohhhh, nice! I love those sweaters in the last shot. I've been collecting wool sweaters and felting them for some time now...I need to get to work on them!

Mardel said...

The book looks wonderful. I'll go check it out now.

Barbara said...

Hello from Zagreb, Croatia! :-)

I so love the dress on the cover I think I'm going to look for some sweaters to chop right away!


angela recada said...

I love this! I have so many felted wool sweaters just waiting for me to do something with them. I'm all for hand sewing things! Thanks!

Maria Killam said...

That dress is so beautiful!

The WalMart Vegan said...

I love this! I don't do much wool because hubby has allergies, but I am going to try my hand with the acrylics and cottons I buy.