November 17, 2008

a fun project for fall!

my new cardigan! my new cardigan!

i actually made something for myself!!  i felt this major urge to craft something not for sale, not for a deadline, not for a tutorial, so i made this cardigan.  but now i want to give you a brief how-to anyway, since i really love how it turned out.  so there are no progress photos, but i took close-ups and i’ll just go through the simple steps…

you’ll need: a pullover sweater – find a wool one that’s too big for you, and wash it in the machine to felt it a bit.  hopefully now it’ll be fitted, but not too tight, and felted enough so it won’t unravel when you cut it.  then you’ll also need another felted sweater to cut up, and a bunch of buttons, and some yarn, needles, thread, good scissors, the crafting regulars.

start by cutting the pullover straight up the middle to turn it into a cardigan.  it doesn’t have to be exactly centered, in fact you can choose to make it super asymmetrical (like my orange one).  try to cut it perfectly straight through the knit stitches though; this way it’ll look almost like a finished edge.

now cut out pocket shapes from your other sweater, whatever shape you want.  i took the oval pocket idea from a jacket i saw someone wearing – i love how it looks but it wasn’t easy to sew, and they aren’t aligned evenly on the two sides.  go for regular square/rectangular pockets if you want it to be super neat.

also cut a strip of fabric from the other sweater to be the button band – it should be as wide as you want, and as long as or longer than your sweater.  sew this onto one side of the sweater opening with a zig zag stitch, right sides facing.  since the sweaters stretch a bit as you sew, i cut my strip too long on purpose, then i cut off the excess when i sewed up to the top; better than ending up with a piece too short.

cardigan close-up cardigan close-up

sew the pockets on with a zig zag stitch.  i then stitched around the holes to prevent messy edges when they get stretched out with use.  even on a felted sweater, if you’re going to be stretching out the edges, they may start to unravel, so some kind of stitching is a good idea.  i used wool yarn, but you could do the same thing with embroidery floss, or machine sewing.

cardigan close-up cardigan close-up

next i sewed on the buttons.  i chose 7 different vintage buttons, all some kind of wood.  it was easy for me to sew them on evenly because of the stripes on the sweater – if you don’t have stripes, make sure the buttons are equal distances apart.  if you want, you could sew strips of the other sweater fabric on both sides, for the buttonholes and the buttons.  this would be a good idea if the sweater is too tight.

next, cut the buttonholes in the button band on the other side, making sure they align with the buttons, and they are big enough, but not bigger than they need to be.  cut them carefully, straight along the knit stitches of the sweater – embroidery scissors work well for this.

cardigan close-up my new cardigan!

now hand-stitch around the buttonholes with thread to prevent them from unraveling or getting stretched out.  if you want, you could make the buttonholes with your sewing machine instead, but i like this hand-stitched look better on sweater wool. (click on the images to see them bigger for a better close up.)

lastly, add some decorative stitching down the button band seam – again, i used yarn, but you could use embroidery floss if you prefer.  i also did the embroidery at the top, just for fun.  add whatever other embellishing you want, have fun with it and be creative!

my new cardigan! my new cardigan! my new cardigan!

Filed under: clothing,general crafts,tutorials — leethal @ 8:31 pm
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