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Sweater to Men’s Cardigan Refashion – A Tutorial

2013 January 3

Since I sew A LOT for my kids, my husband sometimes wonders if I will ever sew anything for him! Even hemming pants is put on the back burner when I have a new project in mind. (I really have to get over that – hemming is so easy!) I was searching through my bin of clothing to fix/re-purpose when I was making the girls’ Christmas shirts and came across two of his zip-up sweaters. They were put aside because the sweaters had shrunk a bit over time and the zipper hadn’t leaving the front seam wavy – isn’t that irritating?!

Evidence Submitted: Item No. 1 “Before Refashion”

I remembered reading a series by Grosgrain called Embellish Knit Month. This series is amazing and left me wanting to tear apart every sweater in our house and remake it. I did make one for myself, which I should really remember to post. Anyhow, she turns sweaters into cardigans etc. and they looked amazing! I did a quick search and it looks like there are a lot of posts on how to refashion a sweater for women, but I couldn’t find one on making a refashioned sweater into a cardigan for a man. Here you go!

This is a quick, not too detailed/photographed tutorial, so I will leave out any “necessary items list”, save the obvious – an old sweater, a sewing machine, a ballpoint needle (used for sewing knits) and possibly some extra bias tape. Here is my disclaimer: Since you can do this with a lot of different types of sweaters, use this a guide and read all of the instructions before going ahead!

1) Remove the collar (if it exists) and the zipper carefully, saving the finished edge on the front of the sweater. Cut the finished edges to almost half (see photo). Of course if you want you could cut a “non-zippered” sweater down the middle front and use the bias tape to finish all of your edges.

2) Draw a line with a water soluble marker from the bottom of the finished edge that you just cut to the corner of the neck. Now cut on the line, remove the pieces and discard them. DO NOT remove or discard the “finished edge” that you have cut partially away from the front. Please take note in the photos.

3) We will be using the finished edge to finish the new v-neck edge, but I needed some extra bias tape to finish the neck and collar edge since the unfinished edges are now a lot longer. Make sure the bias tape is the same width as the width of the finished edge piece you have cut. Take your bias tape (I made mine) and sew it right sides together to the finished edge piece. I roughly measured the length I would need, added extra and then cut it in half and sewed one end of each bias tape to the end of each finished edge piece.

4) Pin the bias and finished edge right sides together with the sweater all the way around the unfinished sweater opening to the middle back of the neck. Sew (using your ballpoint needle) along the edge from both middle-front seams until you get to the middle back-neck. Stop with about 2 inches of opening in the back.

5) You should have two ends of bias tape at the back-neck and you will need to sew them together to make one continuous piece. Cut off any extra and then stitch this (now continuous bias piece) onto the back neck.

6) Fold the edge you have just sewn under to create a fully finished edge. Pin all the way around.

7) Stitch all around the edge. I find I get better results if I put a piece of tissue paper under my knits when I “hem” them. It stops the knit from stretching and it is easy to remove when you are finished sewing the seam.

8) Remove the tissue paper. Place your buttons, mark where you would like them to be with a water soluble pen.

9) Make your button holes and sew on you buttons.

You are done, another piece of clothing destined for the trash averted. Pat yourself on the back!

Now – go ask your husband to put on his new cardigan and take a fancy dining room chair out into the newly snow covered backyard and take some pictures – oh wait, I suppose that’s just what I did… I do think the photos are pretty good though, if not at least fun!

Evidence Submitted: Item No. 2 “After Refashion A”

Evidence Submitted: Item No. 3 “After Refashion B”

Evidence Submitted: Item No. 4 “After Refashion C”

Go crazy – make a ton of sweaters – send me links to your photos! I’d love to see them.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. mom permalink
    January 4, 2013

    The sweater is very nice.

  2. Laura permalink
    January 5, 2013

    I love it! I remember you mentioning this to me and I’ll have to look into it because I have a few sweaters I could do something with. By the way, he is such a good sport! Great pics!

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