Making a Sweater Worth Using

Last winter I bought this sweater for DK at a store. I chose a size larger than the baby would fit out of thrift and my eyes told me that neckline was too small. As it turns out this 12 month sized sweater was a challenge to get over the large headed 5 month old baby boy. One of the disadvantages of being a knitter and not knitting your own baby’s sweater is having to face the reality of a poorly sewn together sweater. I have been quite spoiled with customizing baby knits.

After cramming this sweater over his head too many times I knew it had to be adjusted. I intended to take some time to open up that neckline to make better use of this sweater. Alas the mom brain 5 months postpartum didn’t quite give me the creative energy to hack a speedy solution. The sweater was set aside to be worked on later. Later was a few weeks ago. I spent an afternoon sorting the girls' winter clothes and decided to organize the baby clothes. In my work I was reminded of my initial plan. This sweater really is adorable, worth using again. I decided to really take a look at this sweater to determine the reality of my vision. While the baby napped I set to work. 

I took a moment to inspect the sweater. It is a pieced together sweater which means that it was highly likely that my idea will work. I found the neckline seam and determined that this sweater would be rather easy to take apart along the shoulder. After a few minutes carefully snipping away the threads and not the knitted parts I was able to get the shoulder and neckline free. I plan to add some snaps along the shoulder seam. This is my practical way of solving the tight neckline problem. I considered adding buttons but I decided to be honest with myself knowing full well that I am not interested in fiddling around with a garment that is already finished. (Time is a precious resource here.) I also remember how dressing toddlers is like putting clothes on an octopus. 

My imagined outcome was far different than what was functional. I envisioned a beautifully dreamy look of ornate buttons. My imagination neglected the war worn knowledge of a Mama in trenches to know buttons are not a practical solution. I thought next to try snaps. I ordered a set of snap pliers fully happy with my great idea. While I waited for the pliers I moved on to the prepping the sweater. I began sewing the raw edges of the opened neckline to make for a clean finished edge. Through this process I figured in the placement and number of snaps. 
Unfortunately I was too eager to find an easy solution to realize my idea of using snaps was not going to work. Snaps are easy to use, easy to install and are the method of choice for closure in many baby garments. I was too eager to see that as the solution to notice that snaps would make the neckline smaller!
After considering many options I learned a few things. Many of which are this boy has a large head compliments of both of his parents. The snaps option was not working out as I had imagined because it would require making the neck tighter, not a reasonable option for a toddler. After thinking on it a little longer I ended up using eyelet hooks. These hooks solved all the problem of a poorly sewn together too small neckline. The eyelet hooks are easy to sew on and once placed they are nearly invisible. My goal of keeping the sweater seemingly like it has not been mended was achieved. More importantly the eyelet hooks make putting on and taking off the sweater so much easier when dressing a baby through toddler. 

In this process I learned a few things the most important being finding ways to make a garment more useful and worth wearing is a great way to live more sustainably. 



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