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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ruched Sleeve Cardigan

Yesterday was a rough day.  I spent the day at the dentist.  Deege (my six year old) needed to have some teeth pulled to make room for his erupting permanent teeth.  It was a bloody mess, and I spent the rest of the day cleaning up his vomit.  The anesthesia didn’t agree with his stomach.  Poor little man.

On our way home from the dentist, I stopped at the post office to pick up the mail.  I was so surprised when I found a package addressed to me from Marilyn from The Artsy Girl Connection.

Here’s what was in my cute little package:


  This sweet little gift was an unexpected surprise, and it totally made my day!!  It was the perfect pick-me-up for my rough day.  Thanks a bunch, Marilyn!!


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Remember these department store knock offs?!

polo shirt to cardigan refashion (2)no sew vest (14.5)no sew vest from a tee shirt (18)_thumb

One of our readers emailed us some pictures of tops she had seen at a department store and asked if we could show her how to make her own.  Here is the last cardigan and the last tutorial:

viewerSorry it’s so small.  I don’t know how to make it bigger without making it super blurry.  Moving right along…this cardigan is kinda drapey with ruched sleeves.  It was awesomely easy to make.  This is how I did it.

ruched sleeve cardigan (1)

I started off with a big men’s v neck tee shirt from the clearance rack.  Sorry about the pictures.  I started this after all the kidlets went to bed, and there wasn’t any natural light to work with.

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Sweet price, right?!

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Cut straight up the center of the tee shirt.

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Hem the ribbing on the neck, and along the hem.

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I only sewed in about an inch, and let the raw edge on the knit curl in.

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Take your sleeve and stitch a basting stitch right up the center of the sleeve to the shoulder seam.  I did it in orange thread so I’d be able to see it better when it was time to remove it.

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Pull on your thread to make your sleeve gather.

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Stitch it into place with matching thread on the sewing machine.  Remove your basting stitch

I thought the sleeve needed more of a gather and some stretch, so I shirred one seam with elastic thread up each sleeve for more shape. 

Do you know how to shirr?  You need elastic thread (wound by hand without stretching) in your bobbin. 


Thread the bobbin into the machine the way you normally would.


Set your machine on a straight stitch, but lengthen it a bit.


Start sewing and watch your fabric shirr!  Good times!  I just did the one stitch on the shoulder seams and down the sleeve.

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Much better.  This is what it looks like on the inside:

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The cardigan still didn’t have a feminine enough shape, so I took some strips of black knit fabric and stretched them into ties…

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…and knotted the ends.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  

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I positioned the ties where I wanted them on the outside of the cardigan; flipped it inside out and pinned the ties into place.

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I took in the side seams and gave them a more girlish figure.  When I did that, I sewed the ties into place.  Make sense?  No?  Well, then.  I’ll draw it out for you.

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Turn your cardigan right side out and admire your handiwork.

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Fabulous.  You can wear this cardigan with the ties tied around the front like a belt, or tied in the back.  I liked it best tied in the back with a long sleeved shirt under the cardigan. 

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…and a close up of the ruched sleeves…

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Oh Hubby.  Sometimes that guy likes to drive me crazy.  He made the bed with the back  of the quilt facing up just to see if I would change it around.  I left it that way, even though it made me cringe every time I saw it.  I wasn’t going to lose this little battle!! It was like sleeping under a bar code.  Ugh.  The Hubsters is a stinker.  And I love him.

Just in case you were wondering, here is what really happened when I was modeling the cardigan:

ruched sleeve cardigan (23.5)

Oh goodness.  I sure love that little Monkey!  :)

signature nat

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  1. Yaaaye.. I am reallye xcited you received it.. Woohoo.. So happy you liked the contents.. : )) THANK YOU SO MUCH for participating again.. T'was a lot of fun to pack it all together.. Wishing you a very lovely week.. xoxo.. ~Marilyn

  2. Nat, you look great!! I love this post, thanks for sharing! Your tutorials & ideas are GREAT!!

  3. That is an awesome tutorial. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad I found your blog. I'm a new GFC and LF follower. I would love if you stopped by and followed back. Hope to see you soon, Lori

  4. Wohooo..I am your 100th follower..completing your century now :) haha
    Thanks for visiting me & following me..I like new bloggers & I enjoy following newbies..
    Lots of Love ~

    Have fun!

  5. Cute! I love ruched sleeves!

  6. I love Refashions. I am going to make one from a white shirt.
    Would love to have link this up at Sunday Round UP!
    3 blogs = 1 party


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