Cardigans have become pretty much a staple in my fall-winter wardrobe. There are so many different ways to style them! Love of cardigans and annoyance with an old sweater turned too tight pushed me to experiment with an easy DIY cardigan idea – turning an old sweater into an open front-cardigan. If you follow the simple steps below, you will be able to turn a sweater into a cardigan in about an hour.
A quick disclaimer first – I am not good at sewing and tend to avoid any DIY clothing projects with sewing. For the DIY cardigan, however, I made an exception, and things still turned out looking great. If you are also not handy with a needle and a thread, don’t worry! If this DIY diva was able to turn her sweater into a cardigan, so will you!
I used a sewing machine to speed things up and I strongly recommend you use one as well. Even the cheapest machine beats the tedious hand sewing experience. Sewing by hand will still work, if you want to keep it old school, but it may eat up a few hours of your afternoon.
OK, so let’s go over the stuff you will need – an old sweater, elastic lace (around 2″ wide), and a matching thread. The matching thread is a must here – I, unfortunately, got lazy and used dark grey instead of black, so my not-so-straight stitches are visible.
Below are the links to the supplies I used. Once you have these things ready, just follow the 4 steps below.
1. Cut a triangle from the front side of the sweater
Use blue tape to connect the midpoint of the neckline with the midpoint of the bottom hemline of the sweater. Then, tape two diagonal pieces, starting at the neckline of the sweater and meeting at the midpoint of its bottom hemline.
Cut along the sides of the resulting triangle. Note that I have pinned the ends of the hemline and the sleeves of the shirt, just to keep it flat and aligned.
2. Make ruffles to decorate the sleeves
Now that we have the rough shape of the DIY cardigan, we can focus on decoration, and what better way to decorate than with ruffles and lace!
Fold the sleeve flat, keep the shoulder stitch at the center, and measure the sleeve width right below the shoulder. Then, cut two pieces of lace equal to 3 times the width.
Next, weave a needle and a matching thread through the lace and gather it to make ruffles. The final ruffled piece should be match the width of the sleeve.
Follow the same steps to make a second ruffled piece. Finish up by sewing each piece right below the shoulders of the DIY cardigan.
3. Sew lace on the unfinished edges
Cut two pieces of lace equal in length to the unfinished edges of the cardigan. Sew the pieces of lace on these edges with a straight stitch.
4. Wrap the neckline with lace
The final step is sewing lace around the neckline of the cardigan. For this you will need a piece of lace 4 times the length of the neckline. Once you have the lace, pin the midpoint to the midpoint of the neckline. Then, fold the lace in half, wrapping the hemline. Sew over the edge of this lace-fabric-lace sandwich, and over the edge of the ruffled shoulder decoration. The ends of the lace can be tied in a bow for a cute vintage look.
Below is the vintage lacy new cardigan! If the open-front design is not for you, check out this really simple idea (only sewing is a button) for a DIY button-front cardigan.
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