Quick Project – Turning a Sweater Into a Cardigan

On Monday, my old college roommate Mackenzie sent me a link to A New Dress a Day, a blog by a young woman who’s spending 365 days transforming 365 thrift-store/flea market dresses into something cute and wearable and only spending $365.

I’ve been sewing clothes off and on since I was twelve. I’ve done easy stuff and super-complicated stuff. But I’ve never been much good at tailoring, mostly because I’ve been too afraid to try. I was very very impressed by Marisa’s creativity and skill in this area that I’ve rarely breached.

After reading four or five pages back in the archives, I started to feel ambitious and started taking mental roll of the old items I’ve been meaning to give away for years. Either they were out-of-style, they didn’t fit right, or I just didn’t want them any more.

My mind hit on a sweater I’d tossed aside about a year ago. I liked the colors, the fit was kind of hot (and a little too hot for my workplace), but it just wasn’t right for me any more. As you can see in the picture below, the bell sleeves completely cover my hands. It felt weird to have something at the same time so tight & so baggy, plus it was getting worn.

The gallery below shows the steps I took:

1. I cut down the center front and cut off the sleeves. The shortened sleeve still had an inch or so of hem left.

2 & 3. Then I got out my trusty serger and serged the sleeves and the front opening so that the knit wouldn’t unravel. I used a light-gray thread because the inside front would be turned double and and the sleeves had a thick hem.

4 & 5. Next, I moved to my sewing machine and sewed the front edges.

6. [Not pictured] I sewed the sleeves so that they now ran straight to the wrists instead of folding into bell curves. Then I cut the excess, serged it, and sewed the cuffs.

The whole project took 1.25 hours. Some of that was setting up my serger, since I use it so rarely.

Et voilá!

It looks best if held together where the safety-pin is right now (it was designed to fit tight across the chest & and still curves out there a little). I’m going to look through what I’ve got for a clasp and keep my eyes open elsewhere. The safety-pin fits the black & red look pretty well too.

It’s not perfect, but I really like it. I wasn’t going to wear it any more, either, so I chalk this one up as a win. Even if I only wear it a few times, it’ll be an improvement.

I don’t plan to do many of these clothes-edits, at least not right now. I don’t really have the time with my current projects which are already being interrupted. But now I know that I can do it if I try, and that it’s fun.

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