cardigan conversion

This is a re-post of my guest post at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar, for Cheri’s Refashionista series.I hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving holiday.
_____________________________________________________Hi I Am Momma readers! I am thrilled to be here today.
Cheri’s blog is full of wonderful creative inspiration for crafting, for motherhood, and for life. So I’m pretty honored to be her guest today!

I love re-purposing projects, because you get to take something useless to you and make it useful again…or maybe even something you love. :)
Such is the case with some too tight, too short sweaters I had, that I converted to cardigans.
I know, I know…this has been done before – a lot,
but this is my version of a:

 

With most cardigans you have buttons that line the length of it so you could technically wear it as a blouse if needed.

 

With these cardigans, because they are starting out as too tight and too short sweaters, there are only two to three buttons that clasp the cardigan partially closed. This is how I wear most of my cardigans anyway…so it works!

 

This idea is really simple, but I provide some tips and detailed methods to help you achieve a durable, beautiful outcome.
Materials:
You just need two strips of matching or complimentary fabric, about 2 inches wide and at least 2 inches longer than the length of your sweater down the middle. A cute fat quarter will work for many sweater lengths and gives you plenty of fabric. If you want your cardigan to clasp close you will also need some buttons, or toggles and some elastic.Matching thread looks best…but as you’ll see I didn’t for two of my cardigans. You use so little thread with this project…and I’m cheap. :)Let’s begin.

 

1. MAKE SURE you pre-wash your fabric. This is an absolutely must. If you skip this step, the fabric will shrink, and pucker and pull on the sweater in unattractive ways when you wash it.
2. Measure and cut your fabric strips. Two inches wide and at least two inches longer than the length of your sweater down the middle.
3. Cut your sweater down the middle. I made some faint marks with a ruler and pencil to make sure I cut it nice and straight. *Be careful not to stretch your sweater as you measure and cut.
4. Iron one long side of your fabric strips under about 1/4 of an inch.

 

5. Pin and sew the fabric strips to the cut portion of your sweater. You want right sides together. The side with the fabric ironed over is the wrong side. Don’t skip the pinning. Sweaters often stretch and pull. Pinning will help you keep everything even and where it should be.
Also, I highly recommend you increase your stitch length a bit since you are working with sweater knit. It will pull on the fabric less, create more even stitches with no skipping…just a good idea. You probably should also use a ball point needle made for knits…but I didn’t. I just used a universal needle with an increased stitch length.

 

6. Flip the fabric strip over and fold under each side of the sweater/cardigan. Fold the top and bottom portions under as well. Pin {don’t skip this} and sew. You can sew near the inside seam, or not. I didn’t for this one, but did for others.

7. Last step! :) You can just leave it as is, or add buttons. Remember what I said about increasing your stitch length? Well…I should have done it with my button holer too. I didn’t with this yellow cardigan and the button holer kept breaking my thread, stretching my fabric and ended up giving me less than desirable results.

I increased my stitch length as much as I could with this purple cardigan and achieved MUCH better results. This is also a thick knit shirt, instead of a sweater knit, so that might have helped too.

Don’t know how to use a button holer? This tutorial from MADE or this one from Grosgrain can help you. I learned from the Grosgrain one because I have a Brother sewing machine like Kathleen.

 

For this tan cardigan I put in toggles. I just picked up some toggles in the buttons/notions aisle at Jo-Ann and snagged some tan ponytail holders from Walmart. For my sweater I only needed two ponytail elastics, half of one elastic for each loop.

At step 5, just sandwich the elastic in between the fabric strip and sweater and sew it in. Make sure to go back and forth over it a few times to strengthen the seam where the toggles are.  It can be fussy to get the elastic sewn in initially, but with a little patience it turns out quite nicely.

I also top stitched over the inside seam when I was done, to strengthen the seam and toggles even more.

 

And now, I have three cardigans I love…

…instead of of three sweaters/shirts I was going to give away.

Bonus…I don’t have to worry about them fitting over my ever growing belly either. :)

 

P.S. If you’re wondering how these wash. I just washed mine and they did great. Just remember to follow original washing instructions for the sweater you re-fashioned. Depending on what fabric you choose to line the inside with, you might need to re-press it after each wash. If you use a cotton fabric like I did you shouldn’t have to worry about that.

Thanks for having me over Cheri!

Happy Re-fashioning!

 


Comments

  1. says

    can you tell i'm super behind on blogs? :). I love this post. I remember being wowed when I saw it on I am Momma. Very creative and you look totally adorable.

  2. says

    Thanks for this tutorial! I needed a cardigan, and now I have one fewer sweater I never wear. (And I like the new cardigan better than any I've found in the store so far!) Thanks again!

  3. says

    Hi Delia,

    I have just been inspired by this blog post and have done a similar thing with one of my v-neck jumpers…such an incredible change! It was destined for the charity shop, now has a new lease of life!

    I was in a motorcycle accident last week and have been trawling the internet for cheap ways to keep myself occupied in my sewing room whilst I'm off work. This was

  4. Tammy says

    Hi Delia,
    Thank you so much for your tutorial. I have thought about doing this with my sweaters but didnt know how to go about doing it. Thank you so much for the help!

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