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DIY Ottolinger Deconstructed Sweater Knockoff

Happy Thanksgiving Romper to Dress DIY
Easy Bell Sleeve to Puff Sleeve Dress Refashion

I find it amusing that I’ve been aggressively targeted with luxury fashion ads as of late.

Don’t they know I rarely spend more than $1 on any item of clothing?

One such luxury item is this deconstructed sweater by Ottolinger.

ottolinger deconstructed white sweater
It’s strange, but I dig it!

I know the deconstructed/distressed look isn’t for everyone, but I really like this avant-garde sweater! It’s unique, fashion-forward, and really makes a statement.

Unfortunately, it comes with a hefty price tag. :/

Ottolinger sweater listed online for $1000

$975 for one sweater??? What the what?!?! I’ve driven cars that cost less than that!

The old southern adage, Some people got more money than sense appears to apply here.

According to its product listing on the Selfridges website,

Drawing on its native Berlin, Ottolinger’s aesthetic combines elements of the city’s rave scene with impeccable construction and juxtaposing destruction. Take this jumper for example: spun from pure wool, it’s knitted with an intricate cable pattern then deconstructed with raw frayed edges and an asymmetric hem. Take your styling cues from the brand’s runway presentation and slip it on with its strappy trousers and backless mules.

Selfridges Says

You can probably guess where I’m going with this. I mean, I just love refashioning old sweaters!

It’s time for an Ottolinger-inspired deconstructed sweater refashion!

I needed to find a white sweater that was similar to my inspiration piece, which I found hanging on the $1 clearance rack at the thrift store.

DIY Ottolinger Deconstructed Sweater Knockoff before
I think it’ll do nicely!

It even features a similar diamond pattern!

closeup of diamond pattern on sweater

There’s nothing technically wrong with this sweater, but it is a little boring for my tastes.

sweater refashion before
I could rock it as-is!
sweater refashion before
But why tho?

My sweater is made of cotton rather than wool, but I still think I can create a refashion that evokes Ottolinger’s aesthetic with elements of the city’s rave scene with impeccable construction and juxtaposing destruction.

Or something…?

closeup of fabric content label
We’re about go upscale, Liz!

I cut off the neck of my sweater right below where the top part was seamed to the rest of the sweater.

cutting off neck of sweater

Then, I cut a jagged line on the bottom hem of my sweater.

cutting off bottom of sweater
That was easy!

Now for the fun part…the deconstruction!

I used a combination of my scissors, a seam ripper, a chopstick, and my bare hands to unravel and distress the neckline and bottom hem.

using seam ripper to distress sweater
Ripping horizontally, rather than vertically works better!
using chopstick to unravel sweater
If you want to destroy my sweater…

This took waaaay longer than I thought it would…about 40 minutes.

When I was done, the neckline was made much wider in the process, which served me well for the next step.

I folded the front right fabric of the sweater together to make a flap.

pinning a flap
Just like this.

If you look at my inspiration piece, you can see there’s a deconstructed vertical seam on the right side. That’s what I’m trying to replicate.

I stitched a single seam down the pinned line.

sewing vertical seam on sweater

Then, I sewed a single line along the neck of my sweater to keep it from unraveling/stretching out any more than I wanted it to.

sewing neck of sweater
I’m in control!

I cut open my newly-sewn flap and used the same seam ripper, scissor, chopstick, & bare hands combo to unravel both flappy bits.

using chopstick to unravel sweater
Just push through the holes and pull!

I grabbed my sweater and shook it aggressively to get rid of all those loose threads (so it wouldn’t shed them while I was wearing it).

threads all over floor
Yes, I had to vacuum afterwards.

Look at my Ottolinger Deconstructed Sweater imposter now!

ottolinger inspired sweater
I am pleased.

I felt quite artsy in my new sweater, so I opted for a white beret over a wig.

sweater styled with black leggings and simple black boots.
Styled with black leggings and simple black boots.
DIY Ottolinger Deconstructed Sweater Knockoff after
Pretty spot-on, I say!

I ended up liking this refashion even more than I thought I would! I really like how edgy it looks with my shaved head. 🙂

ottolinger inspired sweater
Thoroughly chuffed to have saved almost $1k!

I wore my new sweater to lunch at Za’s with a friend (who was impressed by my sweater doppleganging skills)!

refashionista with wine
Do I look $1,000 sweater-level rich?
Spinach & mushrooms…my favorite toppings!

I think my new sweater looks just as cool as the real thing!

Refashionista Ottolinger 2020 Deconstructed Sweater Knockoff
Which would you choose?

And to think it started off as a humble $1 thrift store sweater!


refashionista DIY Ottolinger Deconstructed Sweater Knockoff before and after
Happy Thanksgiving Romper to Dress DIY
Easy Bell Sleeve to Puff Sleeve Dress Refashion

93 thoughts on “DIY Ottolinger Deconstructed Sweater Knockoff”

  1. I like yours better than the Otto-whatcha-ma-callit, which I’ve never heard of BTW! I wouldn’t pay $100 for a sweater, let alone $975!!! I paid $70 once I think, and I thought that was exorbitant!

  2. Hey hun, ur new wrap shirt link isn’t working! Its telling me page not found&I follow all ur stuff these past yrs, its never happened before!

  3. Haha, the city raven / junxtapositional desconstructive approach really made the difference here! The agrressive shaking made this better than just being a Ottolenghi ‘interpretation’. (Yes, I know… couldn’t resist).

  4. Breast cancer patient here. Though I finished chemo, surgeries and radiation in 2018, I still get antibodies every three weeks until forever…. I agree that the time between the diagnosis and treatment is the most stressful because of the unknown.

  5. You are so excellent! Thank you for responding and for your kindness and support, even as you fight your own battle. I so respect your beautiful attitude and equally beautiful soul. Looking forward to more of your posts! Blessings!

  6. Josrlin, thank you so much for the info! I really appreciate you all taking the time to reach out to me. All of the best to you as well. Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving! 🙂

  7. I do not like the original and thought I would dislike your version but nope, I love it! It’s much more intentional and structured. Well done!

  8. Truly, I find your rendition way more interesting and attractive than the original inspiration. Against all the I hold holy, I felt oh so sorry for the sweater… It wasn’t hurting anybody, just minding it’s own business when, all of a sudden, it started to fall apart…! The shock… OMG! LOL! Seriously, you are a restyle wizard and everything you touch comes out looking stylish and pricy! 🙂 You rock!

  9. ha, I love targeted advertisement! I always try to get them on the wrong foot. Lately, it has been a lot of diapers and afro-hair products, so I think I’ve won this time 😉

    I dig the distressed sweater! Didn’t think I would, but it looks rather cute! and with a bit of luck, it will only get better in time, as it unravels here and there ( or you’ll be that lady that gets the yarn of her sweater stuck on something, obliviously walking on with slowly unraveling sweater trailing behind her, but hey, that just adds to the excitement!)

  10. Wow. Didn’t think I‘d like this! The inspiration piece looks dingy, dirty and like it had been mangled in a dog attack. Yours, in contrast, is bright, fresh, charming and flattering. The neckline, the artful distressing and the fringe seam down the front are all brilliant. I think this is one of your top refashions of all time. And this comes from an older lady!

  11. This reminds me of a frame that I got for a wedding present. It was very boring so my mom made it “distressed”. She really enjoyed the process. It seems like it would not only be fun, but cathartic to deliberately trash something. You would be all relaxed and then you would have a unique piece of clothing to add to your wardrobe.

  12. I totally agree….sheer genius indeed. You totally rocked it. And as always you look amazing. That look suits you wonderfully. Big hugs.

  13. Sheryl, there are several Facebook pages for breast cancer. Try Double Mastectomy And DEIP flap. Also look for Blessings Box where Dawn will send a care package. Best to all of us in our cancer journeys.

  14. Reading this with the news on in the background. They just did a story on an almost $10,000 diamond-encrusted mask from Japan!
    This is from the story in the NY Post —

    “The costly Cox masks also serve as a much needed financial boost to the COVID-depressed fashion industry.

    “The jewelry and fabric industries have also been in a slump because of the coronavirus and so we did this as part of a project to help revitalize Japan,” Kajitaka said.

    Stateside, other designers have sought to capture the luxury face covering market — Brooklyn-based tailor Yosel Tiefenbrun’s bespoke masks go for up to $300 a pop. But designer Israeli jeweler Yvel holds the gold for fashioning the world’s most expensive mask, a $1.5 million piece decorated with 250 grams of 18-karat gold.”

    Oh my!!

  15. Nina – Your first three sentences expressed my feelings exactly! I’m old! “Back in the Day” we would have been embarrassed to “have” to wear clothes with holes, and shreds, and patches. I still shake my head at the “kids” paying big bucks for torn up jeans! However – fashion trends come and go! Long skirts similar to “Poodle Skirts” should be back around soon! LOL
    Jillian, you always stay on trend and do such an excellent job of refashioning $1 treasures! This is an excellent refashion, even though it is not my cup of tea! Love your blog!

  16. That is awesome! You nailed that sweater and it suits you so nicely. Great job. I love reading your posts, definitely a bright spot in these crazy times.

  17. I just love how fab this turned out. Not sure if the look is for me but on you it look fabulous. Love your beret. I just love finding your email in my inbox. You brighten up my day. I get so inspired.. gentle hugs to you.

  18. You clever girl! Really like your version! I think the ottolinger wool jumper looks rough, I wouldn’t look at it twice or wear it, yours however looks well balanced and interesting.
    Well done! Your interpretation is spot on and exciting!
    Best Jillian, Melbourne Australia.

  19. Wow, you always do such a great job!!! You look fabulous and are so creative. Please don’t take this as prying, but are you fighting cancer? I was just diagnosed three weeks ago with breast cancer and I guess I’m looking for other warriors! (You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to; I won’t be insulted!) The main thing is, I love your posts and your style!

    • Thanks Sheryl! I AM undergoing chemotherapy for Ovarian Cancer. You can read more about it in the “Ovarian Cancer & Me” section.

      I’m sorry to hear you’re in a similar situation. For me, the period right after diagnosis was the hardest. Treatment is tough, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Just trust your Cancer Care team. They’ll make this as easy as possible.

      Thinking of you.

  20. I love deconstructed fashion! For those women who think they’re too old or a bigger size than you so they can’t wear this, I disagree. I’m both and I’d definitely wear it! Own your style and you’ll look confident and happy! Of course on you, Jillian, it looks perfect with your perky self! Glad to see you having fun!

  21. Great job, Jillian, and as always, you see things that most of us could never envision, then you REconstruct them to help us see what’s possible! Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving

  22. I think your sweater looks better than the more expensive one!!!!! Keeping you in my prayers and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

  23. Wow I do like yours a lot better. The neck is much cooler style-wise and that probably results in your sweater “hanging” a whole lot better than the obscenely priced one. Amazing foresight and refashioning skills!!

  24. Wow! Love it! Crap, I bet I have taken three of these “before” sweaters to the thrift shop over the years. And our thrift shop has been closed since March! Your sweater design is the bomb! Will do this oncw they re-open. Love the beret! You are rocking it!

  25. Your refash sweater looks so much better than the designer one! Really! I don’t know why, maybe it’s the white over the ivory that makes yours look fresher. I don’t know, but it does.

    Sadly I’m a little too old to do this, but I love the look on you. There is a point when wearing torn–even artfully torn–clothes just doesn’t translate to boomer. But that’s okay, just because I can’t wear something doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy seeing others wear it successfully. Brava! Brava!

  26. This is a good job and look at all the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ you saved. Would be really great idea for stained white sweater esp if its right in the area you shred. Happy Thanksgiving and prayers for your continued recovery from nasty big C.

  27. $1000 for a sweater that looks like a cat and a 3 year old with scissors got ahold of it while mom was in the bathroom is ridiculous ! I’ll bet there was some sort of “accident” in the design studio and the designer decided to pawn it off as a nouveau style with a pricey tag. Not into it at all, but that said, I really think your version has some merit and looks waaaaay better. Your version has a focal point, whereas the other has none—it’s all over the place and the eye doesn’t find a home to focus on. I am going to try this with a pullover sweatshirt, clipping rather than ripping though. Thanks for the inspiration. Need to search the $1 rack next week.

    You look like you are improving in health all the time. I have you on my prayer list. Praying for the total recovery.

  28. I like your version much better and to think that much creativity with chemo going on. You are awesome and almost over this cancer. I went through breast cancer 2016. You are inspiring, keep smiling. God has big plans for you.

  29. The sweater is adorable, but I’m here to say how much I love your little captions. I almost spit out my drink on “if you want to destroy my sweater.” And now Janet Jackson “Control” is stuck in my head. You’re adorable.

  30. Like everyone else, I think your version is way better! Based on the original looking like a tiger attacked, I had low expectations, but yours looks stylish and fun with the straighter hemline, and your matching beret MAKES the outfit!

  31. I like yours better than the over the top designer sweater. Good job and it looks great on you as well.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  32. Hey, It looks great on a person your age,,,but not on people my age!. I might get mistaken for a bag lady! People will think I got in a wrestling match with my lawn mower! None-the-less, it looks adorable on you! I admire your creativity and SPUNK! Have a happy Thanksgiving. I hope someone is treating you to a homemade meal.

  33. Okay, I was totally thinking the entire time I read this blog, I’m going to hate the finished sweater! Boy was I wrong! You never cease to amaze! Hold this thread as I walk away.

  34. I honestly like your version so much better. Yours looks intentional, while the original looks like it got stuck in the loom and they decided to sell it anyway. Love it!

  35. Wow… You really nailed this. I love it and it looks so good on you. I am going to try this… for absolutely sure… In spite of the fact that I am very much bigger than you… Two or three times bigger… lol
    That aside, Jillian, I am wondering if you know what an inspiration you are to others. You are proud to go bald. You go, Girl!!!! That is such a powerful statement. It silently shouts volumes to other women who have lost or have shaved their head while undergoing cancer treatment. It uplifts them. I know this.
    We have all lost someone to the big C. Some of us more then one. The most tragic loss I had was a sister of the heart, who for reasons I could not understand, refused to undergo further treatment. She stopped. She quit. But she truly lived what little time she had left and she did it totally bald. It was not all sad. When she got to weak to carry shopping bags I carried them. I was her support person up to the end. I loved her deeply and saved most of my tears for times when I was alone. I found that after her death I had no tears left. I remembered all the good times and smile when I think of her. And after all these years I still miss her but still smile thinking of her.
    But that was her choice to quit. You are a fighter with hundreds, maybe thousands, of people behind you praying and hoping and wishing and cheering you on. You will beat this, Jillian, as my friend could not. Blessed be….

  36. $1,000 for a ripped up sweater… I just don’t understand high end fashion. However, for $1 I’m all in! You did a great job, and I like the edgy look on you!

  37. Fab, fab, fab. I am going to look thru my ‘stuff’ and try to find a sweater to do this to. Your creativity is endless. I hope u r feeling as great as u look. Happy Thanksgiving.

  38. Oh, nice! I’d choose yours. And I’d choose to look at your smiling face too. That poor model looks like she lost her last best friend 😀


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