I am bringing home this tutorial I made a few years ago for the Sewing Rabbit. I thought reviving it during Handmade Revolution Fashion Week was perfect timing. Recycling old clothes into new treasures does the planet good in so many ways. It's the best way to make a great impact- it doesn't create additional waste, so old clothes don't end up in landfills and it doesn't require any extra labor, water, dyes, you name it. It also does the body and mind good- at least for me! I love being able to re-invent a garment into something completely new and the added challenge of making everything fit within the limitation of the fabric I have. Also, although my daughter has grown since then, the cardi still fits and looks great. I just love creating clothing that grows with my child- in order to do this I try to make things that look good and stylish oversized.
Do you love the Autumn season? Here in Quebec, the trees change into the most beautiful colors- it's always so inspiring. Our morning and evening get quite chilly, a little preview of what's to come in the next few months I guess. So I decided to create a little cardigan my daughter could use as a fall coat and then as a warm cardigan perfect for layering over long sleeve t-shirts, blouses or even another sweater. Yes, that is how cold it gets here!
I recycled an old sweater form the softest cashmere you ever felt. I made a boxy, kimono like shape for some added comfort and a little style. I think she might be able to wear this cardigan for many many years.
I also added some falling leaves as a decorative element, of course you could omit the leaves for a sleeker look. And lets not forget the lining, for added warmth, a nicer finish and just in case your sweater isn't as soft as mine- for a little less itchiness!
I used a sweater of my daughters that fits nicely to use as a reference for cutting out my pattern pieces. Then I used the biggest sweater I could find for the main body, the sleeves of 2 other colorful sweaters for the leaves. I used a fine cotton for my lining. You'll need some gros-grain or any type of ribbon or even elastic for your button closure and a button. These are optional because the cardigan works well without them too.
Let's get started...
First we will cut out our front piece.
1. Grab your favourite sweater and fold it in two. Next you'll want to take down 2 measurements. A- the width of your sweater. B- the length ( of course you can choose to make yours longer or shorter than your existing sweater).
2. Lay the sweater you are recycling flat. Take measurement A + 1cm for SA and mark your sweater at that distance all a long- starting from the ribbing at the bottom. I used some pins for my markings. Cut straight along.
3. Determine how long you want your cardigan to be: measurement B. Now cut ONE end of your sweater at that length. Keep the other end as if it were on a fold.
4. Measure the back neckline of your "GOOD" sweater.
5. Divide measurement C by 2 + 1cm for SA. Place your sweater on a fold and cut at 1cm further than were your ribbing ends, which is approximately 5 to 6 cm in most sweaters. You might need to re-adjust these measurements according to your sweater. Cut as shown in the photo.
6. Your front piece should look like the photo above.
For the back piece we need what looks like a rectangular/ squarish piece. To determine that, you need to measure your front piece- measurement C for length and D for width ( shoulders & neckline) as shown for the width and take your measurement B form your front pattern piece. Cut into 1 layer of your sweater.
And now for the the cuffed hem and sleeves.
A- for the back you need to cut you piece the same width as your back piece by 20 cm high.
B- cut 2 pieces the width of your front piece by 20 cm high.
For your cap/ kimono sleeves, I cut of my sleeves, kept it on a fold. I determined I wanted my armhole to be 17 cm long, which was about 4 cm longer than my "good" sweater. I wanted a loose fit. I made it the same width as my cuffed hem, therefore 20cm divided by 2 = 10 cm ( cut on a fold).
To prepare my leaves, I cut off 1 sleeve in 2 different color sweaters. I strongly recommend a tightly knitted sweater so the leaves don't unravel and made from natural fibers preferably. Next I felted my sleeves: I put them in my washing machine with soap and a tennis ball and washed them in HOT HOT water, twice. I then dried them in HIGH heat. It worked- not as great as I expected, but enough not to have the wool unravel. I then cut in my leaves as shown in my sweater sleeves- in 2 different sizes. In the end I had 8 large and 10 small leaves. They are approximately 10cm X 4cm & 8cm X 4cm in size.
To cut your lining...
For the back: It is the same as your back piece and add 1cm all around for ease.
For the front piece: Measure your previously cut front piece without the width of the ribbing. Add 1 cm all around and cut 2 pieces.
Now we sew...
1- Lay your front onto your back piece wrong side together and sew straight across at 1cm.
2. Open and lay your cardigan flat. Place your leaves as you wish. Pin them in place.
3. Topstitch your leaves in place. My pink fabric was flopping around so I added a few stitches to keep from drooping too much- like the veins of a leaf.
4. Sew your side seams at 1cm. You previously determined how big you wanted your sleeve opening to be- so use that measurement here. Press seams open.
5. Take your sleeves and sew the sides. Fold in two. Repeat for second sleeve.
6. Put your sleeve into your armhole opening, match your side seam with your sleeve seam, and stitch all around at 1cm. Repeat for other side.
7. Grab your hem pieces. Sew front to back wrong sides together on both sides at 1cm. Press seams open.
8. Fold in two- wrong side together and stitch the ends at 1cm. I curved my ends, as you can see.
9. lay your sweater flat right side facing you. Open your cuffed hem. Now with right side to right side place one layer of your cuff to the bottom of your sweater, matching your side seams. Pin in place. Stitch at 1cm.
***if you do not want a lining- I suggest overlocking your sleeves seam. Also you can sew the cuffed hem doubled and overlock it.
We need to sewing the lining now!
1- Place your front onto your back lining pieces right sides together. Stitch at 1 cm from the edge the side seams as you did with your sweater. Do not worry if your armhole is bigger than your cardigan one. Remember we added 1cm to our pattern for the lining. Sew the shoulder seam at 1cm as well. Leave 1cm un-sewn near the neckline on either sides.
2. Place your lining onto your cardigan as shown- both wrong sides together. This is to help us for the next step.
3. This is the trickiest part. We need to sew our lining and cardigan armhole together. Flip your lining slowly towards your sleeve, now grab your armhole edge with the lining, make sure your seams match, pin and stitch all around at 1cm. Do for both sides.
4. Sewing the lower lining edge: Turn your cardigan over, put your cuffed hem edge together. With right sides of the cardigan and lining together- pin the the bottom of your lining to the hem edge. Your lining will pass your ribbing at the centre front by 1cm. Stitch everything together at 1cm. Leave 1cm of the lining un-sewn at each end.
5. Sewing your neckline: match your lining neckline with the cardigan's- sew at 1cm wrong sides together.
6. Turn everything inside out. Clip your cuffed hem where the white line is on the photo- just were you stopped sewing your lining (you should have 1cm of extra loose lining).
7. Turn all that extra fabric in- topstitch or sew by hand to close up the opening. Do on both sides.
8. Turn your lining in by 1cm along your front. Topstitch or sew by hand to close up your lining.
I added a button and loop, but it really isn't necessary. I am thinking of removing it actually. I like the look better without it.
1. Determine the size of your button. Cut a piece of ribbon 3X time the size. Fold in two and place it at 1cm from the edge where you want your button to go. Stitch at 1cm from the ribbon edge.
2. Flip your ribbon over and stitch right at the edge of your cardigan.
3. Sew your button in place.
Yay! We are done.
Here are a few photos so you can see how the cardigan fits. Because of the ribbing in the front, the cardigan will have a tendency of curving up which was taken into consideration when I designed the sweater. Your could use a sweater without ribbing and then your sweater will fall straighter.
Yay for fall and colder days. In terms of fashion autumn is one of my favourite seasons. I love the chunky knits , the colors and textures. There is also so much fun to be had with layering. I hope your kids will enjoy the colder days in their warm and comfy cardigan.