I found this lovely sweater at a local thrift store.
I think someone might have shrunk it too much, because it would have fit my 7 year old if the sleeves weren't so long! Anywho, when I saw it, I immediately thought: "CARDIGAN FOR BABY!" So I snatched it up and it sat on my closet shelf for a few months. Hooray for SYTYC for the motivation to put it together!
To begin, you need another item similar to what you want to make to draft a pattern. For me, I had this gorgeous Gymboree sweater on loan from my sister-in-law.
Preliminary Step . Make a pattern.
I turned the sweater wrong side out (especially important for tracing the sleeves!), and traced the basic shape of the sweater pieces onto some newsprint.
For the main body of the sweater, I only traced half, and then folded that half over and traced it to make a complete pattern piece that was symmetrical. I didn't worry about the neckline, since I knew I was reusing the neckline of the original sweater. I also traced the sleeves so I knew the length I needed to cut the sleeves.
With the pattern pieces created, I was ready to begin.
To make a sweater into a cardigan, you'll need the following supplies:
- Your pattern.
- The sweater you are reusing.
- One yard of 1" wide grosgrain ribbon that coordinates.
- Five buttons that also coordinate.
- Matching thread for sewing and contrasting thread for basting.
- Scissors and seam ripper.
- Sewing machine.
- For optional flower, vintage lace and button.
- Hand needle and pins.
Step One. Cut your sweater using your pattern pieces.
Lay your pattern pieces over the sweater, and pin in place.
Please note the neckline and shoulder seams remain in tact. Less sewing for later!
Hang onto the original hem of the sweater...you will be reusing it.
Step Two. Sew the side seams together.
Flipping your sweater so the right sides are together, pin each side into place.
To sew stretchy sweater on a regular ol' sewing machine, I found sewing a medium zigzag stitch for the initial pass worked best. I then sewed a second regular straight stitch. I used 1/4" seams throughout this project.
The seams are a little rippled at this point. That is ok. It becomes much less prominent with the finishing.
Step Three. Add the sleeves.
With the sweater still wrong side out and the sleeves right side out, match the sweater seam and side seam together, and then pin the rest of the sleeve in place. The right sides of each piece should be together.
Sew together with a zigzag stitch first, and then straight stitch at 1/4". Repeat for the second sleeve.
Step Four. Finish the hem.
Take the reserved portion of the hem, and trim it so that it matches the width of the sweater.
You may have to pull the sweater or hem a little to get everything to match up. That is alright. Sew together with the zigzag first and then a straight stitch at 1/4".
Step Five. Create the cardigan opening, facings, and add the buttons.
This is by far the trickiest thing you'll have to complete. Begin by identifying the center of the sweater front, and then cut that line from hem to neck, as straight as you can.
You're ready for making your button placket facings. I used grosgrain ribbon. Cut two pieces of ribbon that extend 1/4" beyond the hem and neckline, and pin in place, right sides together.
Carefully sew the ribbon to the sweater, with 1/4" seam.
Ready to make button holes? First off, using a thread that is easy to see, baste the plackets closed. I used a double threaded hand sewing needle to do so. Then, I marked where I wanted the buttons to be placed.
For my first attempt, I marked where I wanted the buttons on the grosgrain ribbon and then ATTEMPTED to sew them from the grosgrain stide...but the sweater got caught in the feed dog. So, I had to get creative to mark where to sew the button holes, since marks on the sweater were difficult to see. I used the same easy to see thread and hand needle, and basted the position of the button holes on the sweater side...like this:
I sewed the button holes using the button hole routine on my sewing machine.
Once the button holes were completed, I removed the basting threads and trimmed the button hole threads. CAREFULLY cut open each button hole. Leave the button placket basted for now. Pin the button placket closed, so it is the way you want it when the sweater is buttoned up. Then insert a pen through the center of the button hole to mark the button placement.
With placement marked, hand sew the buttons in place. I always double my thread to do so.
Step Six. Finishing touches.
My sewing machine has an overlock stitch. I used this to topstitch all of the seams of the sweater, including the arm seams, sides, and hem. To do so, I sewed on the front of the garment, making sure the seams were pressed toward the inside or back. If you don't have such a stitch, a lovely zigzag would work. This gives the seams strength and helps keep everything in place.
Optional Detail. Lace flower.
After I completed the sweater, it was missing a little something. I glanced up at my notions stash, and up in front was some old seam tape lace from my great-grandmother. It was the perfect color.
I sewed it with a long basting/gathering stitch on my machine with the tension on high, and it gathered perfectly. Then I folded the short edge together to make a center and wound the lace around that center. I used my a hand needle to sew the gathers together.
I have had this special button in my possession since I was a child. It's also from my great-grandmother.
I sewed it into the center of the lace flower, and then sewed the whole thing securely to the sweater.
Ready to keep baby warm and stylish this fall.
Special note: Thank you to all who voted and supported me through SYTYC. I made it a lot further than I ever thought I would! I actually prepared this tutorial earlier this week because I had been in the lead for the first time ever. I'd hoped I might win one week...but it was not to be. So, enjoy this, and as always, I LOVE to see what you come up with!
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Linking to Along for the Ride, Creative Jewish Mom and Under the Table and Dreaming, DillyDally and Flitter, Sew Can Do, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, V and Co, House of Grace, and Today's Creative Blog.