________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 6 . . . . November 10, 2005


Second-Time Cool: The Art of Chopping Up a Sweater.

Anna-Stina Lindén Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis and Katarina Evans.
Translated by Maria Lundin.
Toronto, ON: Annick, 2005.
92 pp., pbk. & cl., $14.95 (pbk.), $24.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-910-0 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-911-9 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Clothing and dress-Remaking-Juvenile literature.
Knitting-Juvenile literature.
Crocheting-Juvenile literature.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

** /4



Just take an old wool sweater, put it in the wash on the hot cycle, and make something new. Don't be inhibited by rules and convention - let your hands lead the way and inspiration will follow. Get those scissors chopping! That old sweater will be transformed, even if the result is not what you imagined at the beginning. Ideas are everywhere: on TV, on the street, in the stores, in old books and magazines...even in museums. The way people used to do things is a great way to ignite your imagination.

Working with your hands is fun. And it's good for your soul. New ideas are often born when your hands are busy. You don't have to work fast. Be sure to enjoy the process, and forget about any pressure to perform - there are no rules. You're in charge!


This guide was first published in Sweden, and it is full of ideas for “customization” or recreation of clothing. The authors present very good reasons for purchasing second hand clothing and refashioning these “castoffs” into one of a kind items. They explain that in the past people often used every piece of clothing again and again as materials were so scarce. Nowadays, clothing is tossed away into landfills or donated, and by reusing it, you are reducing waste in the environment. If you purchase the items at a charity shop, you are donating to a good cause plus having fun doing the shopping!

     The book focuses on remaking wool objects and explains how you can make vests, leg warmers, mitts, unusual hats, slippers and handbags out of used clothing. Tidbits and pictures from the history of fashion and from today's runways are included which are very interesting as they show a wide array of fashion styles and ideas.

     There are some problems with a few of the details in the book on techniques. The authors give instructions on how to felt woolen items, but they could have included more information on the technique. It would have been helpful to explain that “super wash” wool will not felt and that small items can go in a net bag or pillow case. It is helpful to add a pair of jeans to the load to help with the agitation. They have good ideas in the sections on knitting and crocheting, but some of the details could have been made clearer. They show the continental thumb style of cast-on, and it would have been helpful to have included more step by step illustrations rather than text and just one picture. In their bibliography, Judy Ann Sadler's book, Knitting (Kids Can, 2002) is cited, and it has very clear instructions for starting to knit. For a visual learner, the text description on knitting cords would be aided by an illustration. The knit technique shown is not the one predominantly used in North America as the book shows the wool held behind the stitch as is done in Europe. There is nothing wrong with this, but the authors cite Stitch'n Bitch by Stoller (Workman, 2004) in their bibliography for more advice which shows a very easy cast-on. But if new knitters looked in the Sadler or Stoller books, they would find a different kind of knit style which might confuse them.

       This is an enthusiastic presentation which would be of great interest to those who really have developed their own sense of style. There are also many interesting ideas for embellishments in embroidery and applique. Second-Time Cool is a great resource for ideas, but teens might need a little help from other sources with some of the techniques presented. One great plus for the book is that it shows real teens as models - including young men and women in their new creations! This is a book for the adventurous teen fashion spirit.

Recommended with reservations.

Lorraine Douglas is a writer and artist living in Sidney, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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