Restyling old clothes is a great way to make new clothes out of old outfits. If you are looking for clothing makeover ideas to restyle old clothes, sewing buttons on an open-front cardigan is a fun and easy option. You can upcycle your old cardigan with a little bit of hand-sewing and without using a sewing machine.
Open-front cardigans are great for the fall and the spring, and they definitely go well with jeans, dresses, you name it. We love open-front cardigans, but unfortunately they are not very functional. If it is cold or windy outside, you probably find yourself scrambling to hold on to the cardigan. Luckily, you can easily restyle an old cardigan by sewing buttons and turning it into a cute button-front cardigan.
For this restyling idea, I will be using an old open-front knit cardigan, large wooden buttons, and a small plain button (see links below):
My first though was to make button holes on the cardigan. However, because I am working with knitted fabric, making button holes is close to impossible. The fabric will stretch, unravel, and look all kinds of bad. Instead of making button holes, I decided to use elastic loops. To make these loops, I used black hair ties from the assorted packs below and a crochet hook for pulling the ties through the knit:
Once you have these basic supplies, follow the 3 easy steps below to restyle the cardigan. For better results, make sure to stop and try on the outfit after sewing each button and making each loop. Regular checks will help you adjust things along the way if necessary.
1. Put the cardigan on and use pins or vanishing fabric marker to mark where you want the buttons to be.
Keep in mind that in addition to the buttons that will be visible on the front of the cardigan, you will also need to sew a small button on the reverse side of the fabric. The buttons on the front (placed near and below your shoulder) will hold the front side of the cardigan. The button on the reverse side (placed near and below the base of the sleeve) will hold the other end of the cardigan.
2. Sew the buttons using a matching thread. Try to make the stitches as tight as possible and end them with a tight knot.
3. Use a crochet hook to pull the hair ties through the fabric.
The hair ties will be the loops we use to button the cardigan. If you do not have a crochet hook, you can also use a large knitting needle (or even a pen or a screwdriver) to push the hair ties through the fabric. Note that if the knit is very tight, you might have to use thin elastics for all three buttons. If the knit is loose enough, you can use the wider knotted hair ties for the larger buttons on the front. The thin elastic will be the loop for the small button on the reverse side. If the hair ties are not knotted, tie a knot once you pull them through the fabric. Make sure that all knots are on the reverse side of the cardigan. If the knots are small and are coming through the knit, use a matching thread to sew them on the fabric.
Below you can see how I restyled this outfit, up-cycling it into a new button-front cardigan. For more spring and fall restyle clothing ideas, check out our blog post on DIY decoration for fabric boots.