Alice + Olivia Sweater Cape

alice + olivia sweater cape | mood sewing network | oonaballoona

I think I look smug here. I know I FEEL smug here. I’m grinning like the cat that ate the canary all throughout these photos, and I don’t care. Just a few short days ago, I was certain I’d completely wrecked this Alice + Olivia sweater knit, found on the top floor of Mood Fabric’s NY location. For this summer girl, Mood’s magical top floor is one of the few reasons to celebrate the drop in temperatures. (Though this yardage was found in-store, here’s some sweater knit offerings if your fingers are doing the walking!)

alice + olivia sweater cape | mood sewing network | oonaballoona

Cold weather. Short days. UGH. Invariably, my summer-lorn mindset affects my sewing, and the first few fall/winter makes turn out be complete and utter fails. This one was well on its way to the recycle pile, until I turned it upside down. LIKE A COLD WEATHER FROWN. Let me explain.

alice + olivia sweater cape | mood sewing network | oonaballoona

This stripey-fringey-sparkly-woven goodness began life as a Ralph Pink Fari coat, a great pattern that has a lovely cocoon shape to it. I’ve made it up before in felted wool, a perfect match, as the fabric had some stiffness to it. This sweater knit, obviously way more drapey, was not meant for this pattern. The outward curved side seam bagged and sagged to what Rob likes to call “ruinaballoona proportions.” Adding insult to injury, I had lengthened the pattern to ground grazing level, using up every bit of my yardage.

I stuffed it back on a shelf to simmer.

alice + olivia sweater cape | mood sewing network | oonaballoona

My favorite little trick for salvaging a botched project (after shoving it out of sight for a good bit) is to try it on upside down, backwards, sideways…any other way possible than originally intended. Gives a different perspective on a fail. I went upside down with this one, putting the raglan sleeves on so that the hemline of the coat was over my head. With a metric ton of sweater knit piled up on top of my curls, I glared into the mirror, and thought I could get away with some Frankensteining. At that point, there was nothing to lose anyway! The game of topsy turvy began.

After opening the side seams up to the armsyce, I had my new front drape. I then sliced the back panel apart at the waistline, found the widest part of the removed section, and reattached it to the back, gently curving the new hemline to meet the front drape.

alice + olivia sweater cape | mood sewing network | oonaballoona

Then I used what was left to add some crazy cuffs to the sleeves. There’s a hand under there somewhere!

alice + olivia sweater cape | mood sewing network | oonaballoona

Basically, what was the hem of the floor length coat is now the neckline. In its new form, it serves as both scarf and cardi-cape, and I’m thrilled I didn’t end up with something for the scraps pile!

alice + olivia sweater cape | mood sewing network | oonaballoona


To be honest, when I do a 180 from a fail of this proportion, I always wonder if I’m looking at the “save” with rose colored glasses. However, a trip to the lower east side garnered many appreciative stares and a few unprovoked compliments, so I’m calling it a win. East side peeps do not play.

But we should play! WE SHOULD PLAY ALL THE TIME! Hard to describe what the blazes I did here, but what I’m saying is, if you’ve got something stuffed in a time out (we all do, right?),  just try playing topsy turvy with it! I dare ya. I DOUBLE DOG DARE YA.



  • Sarah webb
    October 26, 2016

    This is fabulous Marcy! I have just started turning my old card is upside down to give them a new lease of life- such fun!

    • and it applies to everything…. i once made a summer maxi work as a mini dress after flipping it.

  • Peter
    October 26, 2016

    I’m not sure what I’m looking at here — it sounds like an upside-down coat — but it your inimitable way you make it look chic and fabulous. Inspiring as always, Miss Marce!

  • Cissie
    October 26, 2016

    Looks fab on you. And cozy too.

  • Girls in the Garden
    October 26, 2016

    This is so fabulous on you. I don’t consider this a save, it is a home run type of garment.

  • Fiona
    October 27, 2016

    I LOVE the way you think and sew Marcy! Sewing should totally be about playing and being creative and you absolutely epitomise that for me. This is awesome!

  • Erica Bunker
    October 27, 2016

    I’m so ready for sweater knits, if it ever gets chilly here! That’s a great sweater and I love everything about it!

  • Margo
    November 1, 2016

    Very very cool as always. Good advice…I’m off to put my arms in a few pant legs.

  • shelly caldwell
    November 16, 2016

    I LOVE this… but Im confused. I’m such a visual person – I wonder what a sketch of this would look like…maybe then I could figure it out.