Sewing and Crafts : Old Sweater To New Cardigan

I am currently working on some tweaks in my own wardrobe for the fall and winter.  As I mentioned earlier this week, I shopped The Clothesline Consignment Sale and I did manage to come home with a few things to help revive my closet.  Most of what I purchased will end up being altered in some way, but I could not pass up the rock bottom prices on some very nice labels.  I will get to those tweaks later, but first I wanted to share how I transformed one of my old, tired sweaters into a fun cardigan.

I used a basic dark brown cable knit sweater that was always a bit to big, especially around the neck.

I layed it out and eyeballed determined the middle, marking it with Taylor’s chalk.

I found some polka-dotted ribbon that matched and placed it along the middle line of the sweater.

The cables in the sweater became the guide, so pinning the ribbon in place went very quickly.  By the way, the ribbon is roughly 2 inches wide and I was sure to leave a couple of inches at both ends to make a clean edge when hemming.

After pinning down and securing both sides of the ribbon, I cut down the center between each ribbon strip.  Then I ran the sweater through the serger making a seam along the inner edge of the pinned ribbons.  I kept the cutter in place, so the extra sweater material was cut away, leaving a nice clean edge that will not unravel with cleaning and use.

To keep this as nice as possible, be sure to only cut away the sweater material while just catching the ribbon.  That way the ribbon edge stays intact and helps to strengthen the whole seam.  Please Note: If you do not have a serger, just use a zigzag stitch to help bind the cut edge of the sweater material, then a straight stitch to attach the ribbon along the inside of the zigzag stitching.

Next, I folded the ribbon edges back into the sweater, tucked in the ends to make a clean edge along the top and bottom, then hand stitched them into place along the inner front flaps.

The last steps were to add a closure.  First I put the sweater on and determined where I wanted the cardigan to close.  I decided to use a large dark brown button that I had in my stash and an embroidered thread loop, rather than stitching a buttonhole.  (I followed the Loop-de-Loop guide in Anna Maria Horner’s book, Seams To Me.)

Now I have what feels like a whole new sweater to help fill out my wardrobe.  Not to mention that the tweaks make the fit so much better!

Happy Tweaking!



7 thoughts on “Sewing and Crafts : Old Sweater To New Cardigan

  1. this is a beautiful refresh. I love the idea of doing it. I don’t have a serger. Would there be another way to finish it?

    • Hi Lorna,
      Thanks! I would have just used one of the zigzag stitches on my machine if I did not have a serger. Usually those will help secure all those lose edges and keep them nice. Honestly just a straight stitch will secure the actual weave of the sweater, but the serger or zigzag helps to hold in all those little frayed edges. Good luck!

  2. My husband “outgrew” a beautiful gray sweater that I have been keeping in hopes of finding a way to restyle it for myself. This is it!

  3. I can never find just the right colors to match boots, or whatever my slight case of OCD declares is an amazing thing to match… this opens up an e tire new world for this beginner! Thank you so much!

  4. When you fold back and see bottom and top edge ,do you sew from the bottom to top also so it will stay into place ??? Thank u 😊

    • Hi Loretta,
      I’m not entirely sure what you are asking about. I’m thinking it’s the ribbon that runs along the edge of the cut opening. I stitched all the way around it, along the bottom and top edge so that it stayed in place. Aside from the button closure that is the only area I stitched. I hope this helps!

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