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Monday, January 9, 2012

One Sweater, Three Ways

Once upon a time, I found some cardigans on clearance. Like $2 each. So naturally, I bought one of each color in my size. Unfortunately, it was online, so the colors weren’t exactly what I loved. And with one wash, they shrunk the sleeves to being “not quite long enough so I look silly” length. You know that length? So they sat in my closet. For about 2 years. Until I went on a major purge, for one of the moves last year, and decided that something needed to be done with them. So I did. I did different things to each sweater, just because I can. So I’ll show you each sweater, and what I did to change it. Pictures are taken in the deep, dark dungeon (AKA basement)

Enter Orange Sweater:

Orange Sweater (5)

I really want to like it. I don’t have anything this color, but it’s kind of fluorescent. So I want to tone it down. But that comes later… First off, the silly sleeves.

Orange Sweater (6)

I just eyeballed this. I figured out about what length I wanted, and chopped it with a rotary cutter (making sure to leave some for the hem!)

Orange Sweater (8)

From the extra fabric, I cut 2 strips of fabric. I sewed them together, and turned them right side out so I had a little tube.

Orange Sweater (9)

I ironed them flat, and then sewed them on the sleeves to make a little tab, just for fun…

Orange Sweater (10)

I cut some little squares from the sleeve, and made a batch of bleach water to start experimenting….I put pieces in for 1 minute, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15, 20, 30, 45, and 1 hour, just to see how each came out.

Orange Sweater (12)

I stapled them when they dried to a paper so I could go back later and figure out how long to bleach it to get the color I want…

With the rest of the sleeve fabric, I cut off the cuff, and then cut 1 sleeve into 1/4s. I sewed 2 strips together to make 2 longer strips. (right sides together!)

Orange Sweater (14)

Then, I sewed almost down the middle with a long basting stitch to gather and make some ruffles. You don’t want this to be dead center, because it adds more depth to the ruffles! I experimented pinning on my sweater to figure out where I wanted the ruffles to be, and how full…

Orange Sweater (17)

I tried some down by the buttons, and some up higher. I decided I wanted them all the way from the shoulders down to the bottom, but I didn’t have enough fabric, since I had cut up some for the bleach experiment. So I put my cardigan on inside-out, and took it in a little on the sides. It needed it…

Orange Sweater (21)

Really hard to see, I know, but I pinned just below the arms, and down at the waist, how much it needed to go in, while the cardigan was buttoned, on both sides.

Orange Sweater (23)

Then I measured with a seam gauge, and figured out a close average for both sides, since chances are slim I’d measure them both the same. Smile

Orange Sweater (24)

I pinned where I wanted things taken in, because I was lazy and didn’t want to mark it first…Smile I sewed one side, and then checked it on the other side to make sure they ended up the same. Do that by holding the edges and everything even, and stick pins in where you sewed, then see where they come out on the other side…

Orange Sweater (25)

Sew the other side, and then cut off the extra fabric. Knit doesn’t tend to fray, so you don’t really need to finish the edges.

Orange Sweater (26)

I used the part I cut off and gathered it with a basting stitch to finish my ruffles.

Orange Sweater (27)

To sew on the ruffles, I pinned them, folded in half (using the basted stitch as a guide), and pinned them up against the end of the buttons bias on the sweater. Then I stitched close the edge, using the inside of my presser foot to make a stitch that’s about 1/8” away from the center of the ruffles.

Orange Sweater (28)

After they were sewn on, I picked out the basting stitch, and touched up areas that needed it here and there on the ruffles.

For the sleeves, I pressed under 1”, and then did a double stitch around 5/8” away from the fold. The knit tends to roll on an unfinished edge, you know…

Orange Sweater (18)

I figured out the center of the top of the sleeve and put my little tab there, on the inside, and stitched on the my hem line.

Orange Sweater (20)

Don’t mind that dark bruise on my elbow. I may be something of a klutz. Folded the tab up over the top of the sleeve and stitched my tab down there too.

Put on a little button I liked over the stitch mark, and I had a finished sweater!

Orange Sweater (2)

I haven’t bleached it yet, because I can’t decide which lightness to go, so that will come!

Again before:

Orange Sweater (5)

And after:

Orange Sweater (29)

Orange Sweater (2)

Not bad for $2? I like how it turned out! I’ll finish the post on the other 2 sweaters and get those up too!


After washing it, the ruffles did somewhat fray, and it doesn’t bother me, but if you don’t want semi-frayed edge, you’d better plan on finishing the edges with a serger, rolled hem, or zigzag stitch!

Orange Update (1)

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  1. Amazing job! Looking forward to see what you have in store for the other two sweaters.

    ~Mrs. Delightful


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