from sweater to cardigan. a tutorial

11:38:00 PM

I decided to do a tutorial on how to turn a sweater into a cardigan because there seemed to be some interest in the how-to. So, here we go:

1 sweater
2 pieces of grosgrain ribbon (other ribbon isn't sturdy enough for buttonholes)
buttons or hook-and-eyes
lace, scrap fabric, beads, etc

Step 1:
Lay your shirt out, fold it in half vertically matching up the side seams and mark the middle at the top and bottom of the shirt.

Step 2:
Using some good scissors cut down the center of the shirt.

Step 3:
Lay out your ribbon along one edge and cut to fit length. Cut one other piece of ribbon exactly the same length.

Step 4:
Using a basting stitch (around #5 on most machines), make two rows of stitching along each edge (If your grosgrain ribbon is 3/8" thick, make rows a little less than 3/8" apart; If ribbon is 5/8" thick, rows are less than 5/8" apart, and etc...)

Step 5:
Pin ribbon to each edge. First pin at top and bottom, then pin the middle part. (The fabric may stretch out, so pull the basting threads until the length of the cardigan matches the length of the ribbon.

Step 6:
Baste the ribbon in place.

Step 7:
Now stitch down both sides of the ribbon. If you have lace to go down the sides and/or neckline, this is when you will stitch that in.

Note: If your sweater was originally a little loose on you, you could have room to turn your ribbon under so it is not visible. All you would want to do after step 7 is make an extra row of basting another equidistant from the ribbon, fold the ribbon under, and stitch along the basting.

Step 8:
Determine how many buttons (or hook-and-eyes) you would like to use, and mark where you want the buttons in equal distances.

Tip: When marking buttons, I try the shirt on and mark where the fullest part of my bust is and put a button there. That way, there is no gaping. From that point, I determine how far apart my buttons are from each other.

Step 8 (buttons):
Sew buttonholes. I start each buttonhole 1/8" above each pin. Buttonhole length is determined by adding the length and width of button.

Tip: Do a test on a scrap piece of fabric with some ribbon behind it to make sure the hole is the right size for the button.

Step 8 (hook-and-eyes):
Stitch hooks at pins on wrong side of fabric. Make sure that the hook is not protruding from the edge, but is right up against it.

Step 9 (buttons):
Sew on buttons. Sew center of the button right where pin is.

Step 9 (hook-and-eyes):
Stitch the U-shaped eyes on other side at pin marks. Make sure that the U is not protruding from the edge, but is right up against it.

Step 10:
Now add extra buttons, scrap pieces of fabric and beads to make your cardigan unique and vintage.

I wear this with a floral scarf like this and a button up oxford shirt tucked into a pencil skirt.

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  1. You are so creative. I promise I will definitely put this on my list. I'm still looking for that sewing machine. Sigh.

  2. I really like when you do stuff like this. May I make a request about taking in clothes that are too big for you. I watched you do it once but I should have payed more attention.


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