Sweatshirt to Cardigan in Several Easy Steps

Sweatshirt to Cardigan in Several Easy Steps
I enjoy wearing holiday themed garments, but dislike paying the steep price tag that is usually associated with the specialty sweaters that you see in clothing stores. I have seen prices as high as $100 for an elaborately decorated sweater! Also, I seem to have great difficulty paying money for an item that I could easily make myself. Of course, there is not enough time for me to make all of these wonderful items, but I *could* so why would I spend my hard-earned money? Consequently, my holiday closet is fairly bare. Cobbler’s children, and all that.

Fortunately, this can be easily and quickly remedied with an inexpensive sweatshirt and some fabric. Sweatshirts can be converted into light cardigans with just a few cuts and a bit of sewing. Better yet, they make wonderful gifts for those special people in your life. Watch for when they go on sale and stock up.

For best results, especially if you would like to add a closure in the front, purchase a sweatshirt that is a size larger than you normally wear. Be sure to prewash it so you aren’t surprised by any shrinkage later.

The basic conversion consists of cutting the sweatshirt open along the center front and finishing the front edge, with or without a closure. For a different look, you can remove the any or all of the ribbed bands on the sweatshirt bottom, sleeves, and neckline and finish the cut edges. There are several finish variations that you can use to create a custom garment that you will enjoy wearing at any time of the year. Make one for each holiday and/or season. You are limited only by your imagination!

Measure and mark a line along the center front of the sweatshirt and cut. Finish center hems and other edges using one of the options below.

Simple Turned Hem

If desired, remove the ribbed band from the bottom edge and the sleeves, but leave the neck ribbing attached. Turn the raw edges over and stitch down. For best results, reinforce the raw edge to prevent the fabric from stretching by applying fusible tape to the wrong side before folding and sewing the edge down. You can use either 1/2” or 1” tape, though 1” is recommended if you will be adding buttons and buttonholes (or snaps) to the front center.

For a more rustic look, you can turn the fuzzy side to the front and sew the seam 1/4” away from the edge. The raw edge will curl slightly. If you go with this option, you will apply the fusible tape to the right side of the fabric before turning the hem and be sure to apply the tape 1/4” away from the edge so it doesn’t show when the edge curls.

Click here for additional finish options.

For more ideas for transforming sweatshirts, check out these books!

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This content was written by Tamara Bostwick. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.