Book Review: Sweater Surgery by Stefanie Girard

Craft & Design Workshop

Picture 2.png

Sweater Surgery: How to Make New Things with Old Sweaters
by Stefanie Girard

Buy on Amazon

Sweater Surgery blog

I recently got my hands on a copy of Sweater Surgery, the new book by Stefanie Girard; it’s literally “how to make new things with old sweaters.” I never knew there were so may creative things one can make from well-loved-but-damaged sweaters, thrift store finds, or even that charming number your great aunt gave you last holiday season. If it weren’t for the “before” pictures of each sweater she used in this book, I’d hardly believe her charming creations are made from former (sometimes even downright unflattering) garments.

Stefanie provides clear instructions and techniques for deconstructing the sweaters you use. She even goes over the basic tools and supplies you’ll need. For each project, she includes a clear, concise materials list which includes brand and part numbers for accessories like handles and buttons. Cutting patterns for every project in the back of the book make it easy to get started, but my favorite part about this book are the generalizable techniques that allow you to get creative on your own. For example. use the ribbed bottom edge of a sweater to create the cuff for a new pair of mittens, or use felted sweater scraps to make adorable swirly bobbles for necklaces and other accessories.

The most dramatic transformation in this book has got to be the Snow White Scarf, where a downright ugly white bobble texture sweater is transformed into a lacy delicate scarf. The last section of the book is a gallery of projects created by Stefanie and other designers to give you plenty of inspiration and put those new skills to use.

Before reading this book, I thought I would have to know a lot about kitting to understand the projects inside, but I was completely wrong. Your sewing skills will come in most handy, as most of the projects treat the sweaters as fabric. Stefanie has a great eye for spacial transformation, and it shows in the creative ways she reworks any kind of sweater into something new and unexpected.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

View more articles by Becky Stern