Refashioning my own Christmas knitting

In the spirit of Make Do and Mend, I did something recently that I’ve done only once before that I can recall: refashioned my own knitting!

Six years ago, I knit Susan Crawford’s Perfect Christmas Jumper pattern. It’s a gorgeous, classic novelty holiday sweater.

Perfect Christmas Jumper (pattern by Susan Crawford)

As an aside, if you’re familiar with the pattern, you can see one major difference: the design is a lot bigger because I knit it in worsted weight yarn instead of fingering weight, since I knew a sweater for this time of the year needs to be truly warm where I live. I can’t believe I knit this six years ago! (And uh, six years later, I’m still bitter that the red Dream in Color Classy bled on the white, leaving some of it very so slightly pink. I’ve never knit with that brand of yarn since, although it’s worn pretty well. Time does not soften all knitting wounds.)

Anyway, the problem with this pullover was that I figured out three or more years ago that I really hate box pleated sleeve caps on me.  So sadly, my Perfect Christmas Jumper has languished unworn for years, staying packed away during the holidays. Which is a real shame, as it’s a great sweater that I otherwise loved!

So during a completely random moment last weekend, I was suddenly struck with the urge to change this. Immediately! Literally, I thought about it, and then went downstairs to pull it out. And then I did something that I did on a cardigan a couple of years ago for the same exact reason: I took the set-in sleeves out of the cardigan, ripped out the box pleated sleeve caps, knit them as normal sleeve caps, and set them back into the sweater. The most annoying things in the entire process were actually unpicking the woven in ends, and then re-doing the math for the sleeve cap. (Though I have a very, very old and painfully, arduously long but still accurate tutorial on that sleeve cap math from 2011.)

Here’s what it looked like as I was removing one of the sleeves.

removing sleeves from sweater

You don’t start to wonder if you’ve made a giant mistake and shouldn’t have done it until about the point when you’re unraveling a sleeve cap. I maintained the rest of the sleeve, which was knit flat and thus seamed shut, so I had to be really careful not to accidentally go further than the armhole bind off. To make it easier to get the stitches back on the needles though (thank goodness my old Ravelry notes told me which size I used), I unpicked a few inches of the sleeeve seaming.

Oh to make it slightly more annoying, I discovered I had alternated skeins of yarn, hence the two balls as I unwound!

unraveling sleeve cap

But re-knitting the sleeves caps was easy and fast, and pretty soon I was setting plain sleeves back into the sweater. That was after blocking just the caps, because I used the same yarn as I unwound, so it was all kinked up of course.

setting sleeves back in

It was a relatively small and painless (albeit a bit annoying) change that was well worth the effort to basically give me back my Christmas pullover, just in time to wear it this holiday season!


And not a moment too soon. Huzzah!

Christmas jumper with refashioned sleeve caps

Have you ever considered refashioning your own knitting? I’m sooo glad I did!





Filed: Knitting

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Golly, 23 Comments!

  • Sweater looks really nice. Fix looks quite painless for what you get!


  • You are too cute my goodness! I love this look!


  • Catherine Middleton December 11, 2016 at 3:33pm

    The final effect is brilliant! Can’t notice any pinkness in these photos…… wool is ordered for beret.
    From avid knitter, Brisbane, Australia. No matter some 35 degree C days!


  • Definitely an admirable cause! I personally can’t knit (not for lack of trying), but some of my me-made items could use an overhaul. This sweater is so, so gorgeous!


  • I just love this so much! Definitely a woolen jumper to make anyone smile, and it looks great with the fixed up sleeves.


  • Tasha,
    You are so stylish! Love the sweater.


  • It looks really great. Having the courage to start and tenacity to finish certainly paid off.


  • It’s great that you had that much ambition and that it actually worked great. I admire all the redoing aspect of it and am glad you’re pleased with it now. In the old days, a couple-few decades back, I knitted a lot but never with such sophistication of detail–if I had hated something I may have unravelled it but not been so math-inclined as to make it a new version.

    I think I still have half a giant Kaffe Fassett sweater-jacket in mid-creation in a bag somewhere, and ought to dig it out and finish it some year.

    But I digress. Good for you! Enjoy!


  • Woah! As a novice knitter I can’t imagine anything scarier than pulling out something I’d already finished! I already break out in a sweat even if I only have to frog a couple of rows when I don’t have a lifeline in, ha! Nicely saved 🙂


  • The fix looks great!


  • Saw this on Instagram! It’s such a gorgeous sweater! Just beautiful for the holidays. It’s such a simple tweak but it really did make all of the difference. It’s always inspiring to see what you come up with!


  • Great way to fix what you didn’t like and to make that lovely jumper come back to life.


  • The jumper looks fabulous! I had the same problem as you with the box pleated sleeves as they looked ridiculous on me. My godmother managed to sew them up for me and now they look slightly shoulderpaddy but not all out michelin man! You are braver than me to unpick your knitting – pleased it worked out for you.


  • I totally agree that it’s worth it to leap in and give it a try! After all, you’re not wearing it now so what do you have to lose?

    I knitted the Boudicca cardigan with a bunch of mods that resulted in the right size bust (gazunga size) but the shoulders were absurdly oversized. Ripped out the sleeves and re-seamed them about 15 stitches in from where the shoulder knitting ended. Wound up looking great and now I wear that sweater all the time!


  • Sarah Turnbull June 28, 2018 at 8:27pm

    Very satisfying to make a garment wearable! Which beret are you wearing? I love the colours!


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