Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hooded Sweater To Cardigan - Tutorial

I have a really great post for you today, a very easy sweater upcycle project I stitched up in just a little over an hour; you have to try this! In the last couple of years I have fallen in love with cardigan sweaters, they are great over blouses, tank tops, dresses, other sweaters and misc. tops.  Lately I have been seeing a number of open knit orange sweaters and thought, wow, I need one of those. Two weeks ago while doing a closet re-org project I came across an orange open knit sweater just like the ones I saw on Pinterest except mine was a pullover with a hood and not a cardigan.  It was a sweater I rarely wore because it just never fit right and drove me nuts because the hood was heavy which pulled the top backwards, it was fairly expensive so I never got rid of it thinking someday I would do something with it.  Off the shelf and out of the closet it came and into the dryer, set on air, to knock out the dust, no need to wash it since I knew it was already clean just dusty.  Once it was dust free it was time to thread my sewing machine and get to work, here is what I did.

This is my pretty orange sweater, an open weave semi cable knit, as you can see it is open enough that I always had to wear something under it or show off all my goodies.  If I made it into a cardigan I would not have to worry about that since it would always have some kind of top or dress under it, problem number one solved.

The first thing I did was run pins down the front of the sweater to indicate where I wanted to stitch and ultimately cut open the top, the pins would be my guide line. I chose the center cable as my cutting and stitching point.

The first thing you should know about working with any kind of open cotton knit is they quickly ravel if you cut them or if you get a hole in them due to their chain stitches.  To prevent that from happening on my sweater I knew I had to stitch down a line of thread on each side of where I wanted to make my center cut.  I could have chosen to just use a straight stitch but I knew a tight zig zag stitch would give extra stability and keep the knit intact when I cut it.  The only drawback is that it does cause the edges to ripple a bit and pucker up; you could try larger straight stitches and see what that does, I may do that next time.

Time to cut hoping I did the right thing, if not I just trashed an expensive sweater.  I chose to put the sweater back on my dress form to keep from accidentally cutting anything other then the front of the top. Once I cut the top it released the tension of the stitches and I got a slight ruffle down each side of the new cardigan. 

I could either leave the slight ruffle down the front or turn it under about half an inch on each side to give it some weight and lessen the wave.  I chose to pin it back and stitch it down for a bit more substance in case I wanted to add buttons.  I was very happy I chose to turn it under and give it a more polished finish, I love how it looks.

Almost all of my cardigans have buttons so I pulled out my rather large button collection to see if I had enough of any one kind of button to use all the way down the front.  Not just any button would do, I did not want brown or tan or white or black, I wanted orange to match the sweater, that way I could wear it with anything and not have them clash with my outfit.  I only found two orange ones so I decided I would put one on each side so I could use a fabric loop to close it if I wanted to.  All done and ready to wear, how cute is that!  I know the sweater will now get lots of use all winter long.  I have one just like it in black I have not been wearing; I think it will get a makeover too, only the black one will have a bit of a romantic twist. I guess you will just have to keep checking in to see what I am going to do to make a hooded sweater more feminine and romantic.

Thanks for letting me share my newest tutorial with you, what a great way to re-purpose an unused item of clothing and stretch a dollar, no shopping needed here for a new cardigan sweater or two.
See you soon.


  1. Omg....I have hundreds of these sweaters. I might just have to do this to a few of them.

  2. I would be very happy to help you restyle a few of yours, super easy if you follow my advice about doing the center stitching before cutting to avoid it unraveling.


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