Hand-Knit Sweater Dress – I highly doubt I’d wear this dress if I hadn’t knit it

hand knit sweater dress 2

hand knit sweater dress

The minute I decided I was actually going to do the self-made wardrobe project I started rummaging through my yarn and fabric to see what I already had on hand.

I came across a huge ball of lace weight yarn in fairly ghastly colors, but it was a beautiful yarn, with a great drape, so I figured I would just overdye* whatever I made with it.
*overdying is when you re-dye something (yarn, fabric, clothes, whatever) that’s already been dyed, so it’s a different color than it was originally dyed

The results were unexpected, and pretty spectacular. That being said, I would never wear this dress if I hadn’t knit it.

Never, ever, ever.

I don’t do pink.
I don’t do brown.
I don’t do tan.
I don’t do green.

I guess this is the exception that proves the rule…

sweater dress

Unfortunately the ball was unlabeled when I pulled it out of my yarn stash (oops), so I don’t know what the yarn is, or what the color way is, or what the yardage is. But I’m guessing that it’s a wool/silk blend, and that the yardage was around 1,000 yards.

ETA 10/25/14: I did a little digging and I think the yarn just might be “Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace” in the colorway “Vera.” In which case it’s a 50/50 wool/silk blend, with 1,250 yards per skein.

I wanted a simple straightforward lace weight sweater pattern, and the “Silken Straw Summer Sweater” from The Purl Bee was perfect. I loved how simple the design was,  that it was written for a lace weight, and that I got gauge (almost).

Since I didn’t know how much yardage I had, I wanted to knit my sweater from the top-down, so I reworked the pattern to be top-down. I also eliminated some of the neckline shaping so that the front and back scooped evenly.

Other than that I basically worked the pattern as written – but backwards.
So increases became decreases, decreases became increases, cast-ons became bind-offs, and bind-offs became cast-ons, etc.

(I also did a garter ridge around each hem just before attaching the i-cord – I don’t remember if that’s in the original pattern or not.)


Because I kept going back and forth on over-dyeing I finished knitting this sweater way back in May, but then it sat on my desk unblocked until a couple weeks ago.

hand knit sweater dress 3

Overall, I really love how it turned out. It’s a weird, funky, unexpected, (hard to style), self-made wardrobe win.

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4 Responses

  1. Joan

    The dress looks good on you. You must be very tiny to make a dress with only 1,000 yds! But why do you have a bedsheet under it? Tights or leggings would make this a sleek outfit. And also would show off your other lovely creations better.

    1. Holly

      Thanks Joan!

      1,000 does seem like not enough, doesn’t it! So I did a little bit of digging and think the yarn might be Lorna’s Laces “Helen’s Lace,” (I got it from a friend who didn’t want it, and it wasn’t labeled) in which case the skein would have been 1250 yards, which makes more sense – still not a ton of yardage. While I wouldn’t say I’m tiny, I am small, and it is a very close fitting, quite short dress. So I would say 1250 yards seems right. 🙂

      I wore the underskirt because I wanted more “swish,” next time I want a sleeker silhouette, I’ll try it with leggings.

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