Monday, September 29, 2014

I Made a Thing Monday! Sweatshirt to Precious Cardigan

Attack of the horrible sweatshirt!!

I don't even wear this around the house because of how bulky and unflattering it is. So, it's ripe for a refashion. 

I'm gonna detail below how I made this thing, but please, please forgive my awful pictures. One day I'm going to make this again, and I'll take better pictures and make a new blog post about it. Sorry!!!

Click "Read More" for the complete tutorial!

First things first: get rid of the ribbing on the neck, wrists, and bottom. 

Then remove the sleeves and set them aside:

Then carefully cut a straight line directly up the center front. Use a ruler!!

Next, turn it inside out and try it on. You'll need to figure out where to cut. 

I needed to shorten the width of the shoulders and bring in the sides. So I found the very top of my shoulder joint and made a mark with my tailor's chalk:

Then I pinned the front together so that the two halves were slightly overlapping (thinking I would be adding buttons):

Then carefully pinned the sides so the whole thing was a bit more form-fitting. 


I pinned all the way down from the underarm to the bottom, keeping it form-fitting the whole way. 


I should have just pinned right beneath the underarm then drawn a straight line down to the bottom of the sweater. That would have allowed it to retain its somewhat boxy shape and it would have fit better in the end. As it was, I ended up with this after I cut:

The way it tapers towards the bottom is no good. It makes it virtually impossible for me to add buttons all the way down. No worries! I was able to change my design idea a bit and it's going to be okay, but if you want to have buttons, be sure to keep the side seams straight and the fit loose. 

Anyway, then you'll want to draw a curved line from the mark you made on the shoulder down to a spot on the side seam. This spot is likely to change as you try it on, so err on the side of "too high" on the side seam so you can trim it until it's just right. 

Cut it off!

ATTENTION: this is basically the last chance you'll have to adjust any fit issues you may have with the body. So pin up those side seams and try it on, and trim, and repin, and try on, and trim, all the way until it feels good to wear it. 

Then sew up the side seams!

You now have a pretty badass looking vest! Stop here if you want!

Or, if you're ready to tackle sleeves, then onward we ride...

Turn your cardigan and the sleeves inside out again and lay a sleeve next to an armhole. You will probably find that it looks something like this:

You've got a lot of sleeve hanging off the bottom there! Make a mark about half an inch below where the side seam stops:

Then continue that line all the way to the wrist, following the seamline as much as possible:

And cut!

Sew up your new sleeve where you just cut and prepare to attach the sleeve to the torso. 

Now, if you've never attached a sleeve before, don't be intimidated. It's not very difficult, and there are some things you can do to make it easier and to cover up any little mistakes you make. 

First of all, turn your sleeve right side out. Slide it into the armhole from the inside of the cardigan, with right sides together, until the edge of the sleeve lines up with the armhole edge. Here is a blurry picture showing what I mean:

That's hard to see, and may be hard to understand, so here is a great tutorial by Sew Mama Sew showing the same thing, but with far better pictures.

Pin in place carefully, starting with the bottom seam of the sleeve. Sew the sleeve on. Take your time. Make sure the edges stay lined up. Start sewing from the underarm seam, that way if, for whatever reason, you end up with extra fabric at the end of your shoulder seam, you can just tuck it over or pleat it and nobody will be the wiser. 

Once you've done that for both sleeves, turn it right side out, and...

You've got a pretty adorable cardigan!

Now, again...stop there if you want! If it fits and it looks the way you want it to look, great! Go with it. Hem the sleeves and the bottom and the neckline if you want. Add some buttons if you want (and if you didn't screw up like me). It's beautiful!

But of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone...

I needed MOAR. 

I folded over and pinned the front opening edges to give them a cleaner edge:

Then, partly because it was pretty and partly because I was too lazy to change my machine thread to navy blue, I used the already-loaded white thread and sewed a neat little pattern all the way down. I was only able to do this because my machine has some cool stitches. If yours doesn't, use matching thread. Or contrasting thread. Or don't hem that part at all, who cares?? It's your cardigan!

Pretty! It also stretched the fabric out a bit. :( Oh well, good to know about that stitch in the future!

I could have stopped there, but did I?


Take some lace and pin it to the neckline:

Then try it on and see if you like it:

Do you like it? No? Good! Rip that sucker off and throw it back in your sewing basket. Yes? Good! Sew that sucker down! The only rule when embellishing something is to only add things you love. 

I loved it, so I sewed it down. But was I done YET??


I took more of that same lace and pinned it to the sleeve edges:

And sewed THAT sucker down too!

And THEN I... no wait I'm done now. :)


Strike all the poses!

I am so happy with this cardigan. I do kinda wish it wasn't so...non-closey in the front. (What? YOU tell me what the word is supposed to be!) I suppose I could add a snap or something, but instead I used a pretty antique brooch to hold it shut on the top.

But hey, this is my first time ever making something like this, and it passes my one and only "did I Make a Thing?" test: I can wear it outside the house.

So...I Made a Thing!! You should also make this Thing, because it is so much fun!!

Have a beautiful day!!



  1. This is great! Discovered you on Refashion Co-Op tonight. You've got yourself a new follower! :)

    1. Yay thank you!! I feel so fortunate to be part of such a fantastic team of folks over there! Glad to have you!

  2. So cute! Gonna have to try this soon.