This is a tutorial on how to refashion and transform a sweater into a cardigan. Just in case you got a sweater stashed away in the closet that’s been unused for many years or even decades. Or maybe someone close to you gave you one Christmas but you are not the sweater type and prefer cardigans –this simple procedure to transform a sweater into a cardigan will help you along.
We have been talking a lot about ways to save money and reuse or refashion clothing in many of our recent posts, so it’s about time we start getting to work and using the things we have around the house instead of buying more fabric or, even worse, more clothes.
I will be using this sweater I was given for Christmas this year. While I love it, I also live in the tropics and even though it’s cotton, unfortunately, I can’t wear it –at least not as a sweater. It’s just too warm here. But in a cardigan-style, I think this beautiful sweater would be much more functional. So let’s get started with the transformation!
- One sweater (of course..)
- Two (2) strips of cotton jersey knit long enough to be sewn in the front of the sweater plus two inches by 1 3/4″ wide.
- One (1) open end zipper the length of the front of the sweater. You’ll certainly find what you need at ZipperStop on Amazon.
- Ball point needle depending on the thickness of your sweater. I use Schmetz.
Transforming your sweater to a cardigan in very simple steps: Video Tutorial
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Step One: Measure the front of the sweater
You are measuring to find out how long the zipper should be and how long the strip of jersey knit needs to be that creates the edge of the cardigan and an attachment for the zipper. My cardigan is 23″ long, so I will use a 23″ long zipper.Next, I will cut two strips of cotton jersey knit 25″ long which is the length of the sweater plus two inches. Cut the two strips with the stretch going horizontally.
Mark a line down the middle of the cardigan with tailor’s chalk or a washable fabric marker.
Step Two: Attach the strips
Place one strip of jersey right on top of the line and to the right you just made making sure one inch is beyond the collar and the hem.Sew the strip at 3/8″ from the mark you made or the centerline of the sweater.
Pin the second strip next to the first one and to the left of the first strip. Sew the strips 3/8″ (1 cm).
Cut the sweater right in the middle between the 2 strips.
In case you are wondering why this method and not just sew the zipper straight into the sweater? Because it needs a fabric to stabilize the edges and make the zipper lay flat. Knit has a tendency to wave and look messy. Also, you will need to use more of the sweater to make a seam allowance, therefore, making the garment tighter around the waist, and that’s probably where none of us want it to be tighter..
Inspect the seam and make sure they are straight. As you can see, mine is not so I will have to change that.
The zipper needs to lay straight at both ends.Trim the strip by half.We need to turn the strip to the inside in order to pin the zipper. Pull the strip away from the sweater.Turn the end of the strip down.Then fold the strip in.
Step Three: Attach the zipper
Place the cardigan front side up. Pin the zipper 1/8″ from the teeth. Pin the left side of the zipper to the right side of the cardigan and the right side of the zipper to the left side of the cardigan. Tuck the ends of the zippers between the strip of jersey and the sweater.Sew the zipper at 3/8″.Trim the jersey just 1/4″ from the zipper edge.
And there you have it! How easy was it to transform a sweater into a cardigan? Keep in mind that his technique works for men’s and women’s clothing. Join me next time when I will be transforming this cardigan into a vest with a hood. Given the temperature here, it’s more likely that I’ll wear that to the gym or walking. In the meantime, look around your hubby’s wardrobe and find a sweater you can transform using this technique. He’ll be glad you did.
As always, please leave us any comments or questions in the comments section below. Until next time!
PS: If you need more ideas on thrifty sewing check out these ideas.