The Story of a Green 3 Christmas Sweater Skirt

‘Twas a few months before Christmas, and all through the office, there was chaos in prepping for Christmas, let’s be honest. Sweaters were boxed up and on their way to Aspiro, so was the staff, ready to be heroes. Why are we heroes you ask? Because the story behind the Green 3 Christmas Sweater Skirt is so vast! So listen closely as I begin my tale…

Christmas Sweater Skirt Panels

Christmas Sweater Skirt Panels

Christmas Sweater Skirts are all made from recycled sweaters that Green 3 receives in bulk. They could be as old as from 2001 or as new as from the previous Christmas. Some sweaters even have holes in the sleeves, but Green 3 looks past that. We look at the center of the sweater and see if there’s anything of value that is either gaudy or a pattern. Any sweaters that can’t be revived because there are too many holes are sent to be turned into a recycled yarn or are taken home by a Green 3 employee in hopes of turning it into another project. Any sweaters that are still wearable, but not in Green 3’s vision of a Christmas Sweater Skirt, are donated to the local thrift shop or shelter, after being laundered with the rest of the sweaters Green 3 uses for the skirts and scarves.

Green 3's box of Christmas Sweaters

Green 3’s box of Christmas Sweaters

From there, we send them to Aspiro so we can cut them in bulk. Before we found Aspiro to help us out, we used to cut them by hand with a rotary cutter, one at a time. This used to take us 15 minutes per sweater, just to cut! As the skirts gained popularity, we knew that wasn’t a viable option anymore. With Aspiro’s big saw, we can cut anywhere between 5 and 10 sweaters at once! It makes the process a lot easier!

Imagine a long table in a big room. The table is about 30 feet long and at least 7 feet wide. It’s a colossal table that allows us to do this multi-step sorting process. Yesterday, founder Sandy Martin and our close friend, Lois, unpacked 30 boxes filled to the top with the most ridiculous sweaters you can find on planet Earth. Sandy and Lois looked through each sweater to make sure there weren’t any holes or issues with the garment before piling them into stacks. Each sweater in the stack has to be lined up seam-to-seam to ensure all pieces are cut exactly the same way. Then, Sandy and Lois clipped the sweaters together so no fabric gets loose!

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Clipped Green 3 Christmas Sweaters

Cool, right? It gets even better! From here, we have someone cut the fabrics using the Green 3 pattern. In our Christmas Sweater Skirt, there are 10 panels. When we cut the skirts, we use the gaudy or pattern on the front to make 2 panels, and then make 2 panels on the back from the plain fabric. Sometimes, the entire sweater is gaudy or patterned, so we can take 4 panels of that and use it. Green 3 also uses excess fabric from our scarves to use for plain panels.

Green 3's Christmas Sweater Skirt panel

Green 3’s Christmas Sweater Skirt panel

Above, Sandy and Lois have placed the cut-pattern on a stack of sweaters. Then, a big fabric saw is used to cut cleanly through each sweater. After a panel is created, we cut off the sleeves, too. If there are no holes or stains in the sleeve, we can use the fabric for another panel. If it’s not long enough for a panel, we use it for our Christmas Sweater Scarf. After it’s cut, it’s scooted down to another section of the table where we sort the panels by plain, pattern, gaudy, and “de-bead.” Within those categories, we also try to sort based on color. Most Christmas sweaters we receive are black, red, green, or blue.

Stacks of cut panels

Stacks of cut panels

Organized panels

Organized panels

After it’s sorted, we get into the trickiest and longest part of the Christmas Sweater Skirt process- taking off some beads. That’s right- we take off beads that someone else probably spent hours on! But we promise, we have a reason why. We create a one-inch border around the edges of the gaudy panels so that they can be sewed. A lot of beads are made of glass and when those beads get in the way of a sewing needle, it can break it. Therefore, we have to cut them off. The process is long as there could be a lot of beads around the edges, and sometimes they are put on with individual thread. We also have to take off the clumps/balls of yarn used, for example, as the puffs on Santa hats. These can cause the machine to get clogged up.

Leftover beads!

Leftover beads!

And that wasn’t even all of the beads! There were a lot more, but that’s okay. At Green 3, we take pride in our recycled Christmas Sweater Skirts. Not only are they adorably quirky, but they are perfect for any Christmas/Holiday party you have. You may think this is the end of my tale, but it’s not!

After we gather the panels, Aspiro will sew the panels’ edges to keep the knits from fraying. After that, Green 3’s sewers will sew the panels together with an elastic band. The best part of the skirts are the comfort they bring. Not only that, but each skirt is individual and there are no two alike. Usually on each skirt, we sew 2 gaudy pieces, 2 pattern pieces, and 6 plain pieces together. Sometimes when we have extra panels, you can receive a special Christmas Sweater Skirt with extra gaudy or pattern panels, to complete any festive look. Check out some reviews:

“This has quickly become one of my favorite holiday pieces! It is timeless and beyond cute. I love that no two are alike and tha mine has santas face front and center! Thanks for creating such a perfect holiday skirt!”

“One of the reviews I read said to order one size smaller than you usually wear, and I was hesitant to do so, but I went with a small, instead of my usual medium, and the small is perfect! The selection of Christmas sweaters is wonderful, plenty of festive pieces interspersed with the solids. The quality of the product is great too. I (almost) can’t wait for next December to wear it!”

The completed skirt!

The completed skirt!

How fun! We love making garments that have a story, create comfort, and are crazy fun just for you! The skirts are made knee-length and are made in the USA! They are also machine wash and dry so you don’t have to fret about dry cleaning! This is the fifth year Green 3 has been making these skirts, and we cannot wait to keep up with this tradition! To order yours, please click here!

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