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DIY: Sweater to Cardigan

January 19, 2011 by Trina 12 Comments

A few months ago, I shared a Long Sleeved Tee to Cardi DIY with you. I wanted to take that a step further and refashion some sweaters hanging in my closet that I no longer wear. I got my inspiration here. {Make sure you check out her Embellish Knit Month. Amazing stuff!}

Unlike the tee to cardi DIY, this involves some sewing and you will need a machine.

I started with an old sweater in a color I still loved and cut it straight up the middle.


Next, I took some white single fold bias tape and cut two lengths of it about an inch and a half longer than the cut I made down the front of the sweater. {It would have been better to use a less contrasting bias tape, but I used what I had. I did another sweater in navy and used navy bias tape and it looks nicer.}

Then, unfolding one side of the bias tape and overlapping it slightly over the top of the sweater, I sewed it to the cut edge right sides together.


I sewed as close to the crease as possible.


Another important thing to note: use a ball point needle for best results. Ball point needles are to be used with stretchy fabrics. And sweaters tend to be stretchy so if you use a regular needle your sweater will stretch too much when you sew and make it all wavy on the edges. Ok, got it? Let’s move on…

When you get to the end, it’s time to tuck in the edges of the bias tape and secure the other side of the bias tape to the inside of the sweater. Hopefully these photos will help make more sense of this.


First, fold the end of the tape down.


Then, fold the edge of the sweater/tape to the inside of the sweater. 


Pin in place if desired.  I didn’t really need to.  You should not see the bias tape from the front of the sweater at all.  This next shot shows what the inside and outside of the sweater edge should look like. 


Ok, now starting at the outer corner, sew the bottom end of the tape/sweater closed, pivot your sweater around the 90 degree turn and continue sewing up the other side of the bias tape. Again, the bias tape should be on the inside edge of your sweater. When you get to the other end, turn the corner again and sew to the end of your tape. Phew, ok, hope all that makes sense!  I wish I had taken photos of this part, so let me know if you get confused!

Now do the other side! You can either call it quits here or embellish your sweater in some way. Get creative and use things you have at home. Shirts that don’t fit you anymore can be cut up and scraps used to make colorful embellishments or removable pins. Search the internet for ideas, but I really love Kathleen’s ideas at Grosgrain. I used her Day 30 as inspiration for my flower. I didn’t have the patience to cut out as many circles as she did, so I ended up with this but I think it still looks nice. :)


I secured my flower to the front of my sweater with a needle and thread, but I am thinking of snipping it off and making into a pin so I’ll have better versatility with the sweater and with the flower.


Trying to take pics of myself is hard.  Hubby to the rescue!

image image

And just for fun….a close up of my shoes and fishnets.  I love these nude fishnets!


Got some old sweaters?  Dig them out and give them new life!


  1. You are my sewing hero!!! I’ve gotta try this… but have never sewed before… I’m scared!!!

    I am in love with the flower too! You KNOW I love my flowers…

    Quick question. do you have something holding your lens cover to your camera? I dont have anything & it scares me I’m going to loose it…

  2. Wow! That is fabulous! Great job!

  3. you are amazing with the sewing machine. i am trying to teach myself… its been years and i haven’t gotten better… lol

  4. You are seriously EVERY woman!!!!!! Absolutely beautiful!!!!! :)

  5. You are amazing!! Now I want to go buy a sewing machine.

  6. This is adorable! I’ll have to try it one of these days! Love the color too! xx

  7. Love it – great job Trina!

  8. I love this…I wonder if I have any old sweaters that I can do this with. I really need a sewing machine.

  9. oh wow, you are one crafty mama! the sweater looks amazing – wish i had even an ounce of that creativity and skill! oh, and a sewing machine would help. :)

  10. a-mazing! you did a stellar job! i love the whole look, flower and all!
    also those fish-nets are BOMB! and your little modeling shoot out on the dead winter lawn…you make any situation look chic!

  11. Love it! You are one stylish Mama!