Up-cycle a thrifted cardigan and look cute doing it

Have you seen those cute little cropped cardigans floating around the internet? Well I have and I wanted, oh how I WANTED, so when I was gifted a secondhand grey cardigan I decided to see if I could recreate it and I’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out. It’s dead simple, probably takes about 2 hours if that. Easy to customise, so if you want it tighter or with little ties at the front, for example, it’d be easy enough to do.

Unfortunately I’d made the bleeding thing before it occurred to me that I should have taken photos of the process, so the ones below are guidance photos based on another grey cardigan/jacket I have but don’t actually show any arty footage of things being cut or sewn. I’ll remember to take photos of the actual process next time, maybe…

Disclaimer: you could do this WITHOUT a sewing machine but it’d take a fair while longer!

MATERIALS NEEDED

  • Cardigan
  • Sewing machine (or a needle for the patient)
  • Matching thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Something to mark the fabric with, e.g. pins, chalk, fabric markers
  • Pins
  • A ruler
  • An iron
  • Pinking scissors *optional
  • Any additional accessories/decorations you fancy

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Pop that baby on and make a mark at the length you’d like the cardi to be shortened to. Take it off and add about an inch to that measurement, use a ruler to mark a straight line so you know where to cut, then cut it. It’s easier to stay straight if you lay it flat.

Mark where you’d like the length to to be.

2. Once cut, put it back on inside out (this is very important!) and pinch along the side edges starting from the bottom of the sleeve down to the hem diagonally, making a triangular shape. Pinch in as much as you’re happy with so that it fits your body and isn’t too baggy. If it’s quite big on you, especially around the arm area, you can pinch down in a straight line instead of diagonally. Again, use something to mark this line so you know where to sew, no need to add a hem allowance.

Starting from the bottom of the arm hole pinch in the edges in a diagonal line to the hem until you get your desired fit. Repeat on the other side.

Or you can take in more by doing a straight line, bear in mind this will make the arm hole SMALLER so this might only be needed if the cardigan is big on you.

3. Take it off and use a ruler to draw a line where you’ve placed your mark then sew along this line. On jersey material (or stretchy material) when using a sewing machine use a wide zigzag stitch so the material doesn’t pucker and will still allow it to stretch. You should now have what looks like a triangular flap.

4. Cut off the excess material of this flap, leaving about a centimetre of material, you can use pinking scissors to stop fraying OR you could zig zag stitch or overlock stitch the edge of the fabric. (You can look up tutorials for this.)

5. Now, return to the bottom of the cardigan and turn up half of the hem material and then turn up again so you have what is effectively a fabric roll at the end of your cardi (see below images), press this down using an iron and sew it down in a zig zag stitch or hand-sew it in place. I chose to hand-sew because it was easiest on my stretchy material.

There you have it!

If it doesn’t have buttons you could either add some or easier yet make a tube out of scrap material and turn it into a little tie closure. Remember to try on your piece at regular intervals to make sure the fit is good for you (especially before chopping anything off).

I hope this helps you make something cute and on trend! It’s a great way to avoid dishing out like £20-30 on something that’s relatively simply to do yourself and helps rescue and repurpose old cardigans. 🙂

Meg x

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