Tag Archives: Sweater

Cardigan Refashion

Unfortunately, many of my sweaters have fallen victim to the dryer.  I try to keep them from getting put in the dryer.  But it happens.  And then I end up with a short, fat sweater.  I don’t understand why knits shrink this way.  But they do.

Cardigan Shrunk in Dryer

I love the color of the cardigan. And my fast growing children always need sweaters.  So… I’ll take the sewing pattern that I made last week and put it to use.

How to Refashion an Adult Sweater for a Child

First, carefully cut apart the sweater, removing sleeves from the bodice.  Leave the ribbing and zipper intact for now.

Take the back bodice piece and fold it in half lengthwise.  Lay your pattern piece on top of it, lining up the pattern neckline and the ribbed neck edge. Cut.  Make sure you keep the bottom ribbed edge – you’ll need it later.

Cardigan Sewing Back Bodice

Next take the front of the sweater and smooth it flat.  Line up the neckline and the ribbing again. Cut out one side.

Cardigan Refashion Front Bodice

Then flip the pattern piece and repeat.  If you have a zipper, as shown, set it aside for another project.

Cardigan Sewing Front Left

Cut out the sleeve, lining up the wrist edge of the pattern with the ribbing.

Cut off the bottom ribbed edge of the sweater.  You should now have two sleeve pieces, with cuff edge.  Two front bodice pieces, and a back bodice piece with neck edge, without bottom ribbed edge.  And pieces of ribbing.

Cardigan Sewing Pattern Pieces

Next, attach front and back bodice pieces at the shoulder.

Attach sleeve to the armscye.

With right sides together, sew from the sleeve cuff edge to the shoulder and down to the bodice hemline.

If needed for length, sew your ribbed pieces together.  Attach the ribbed edging to the bottom of the bodice.

OPTIONAL:  Sew a zigzag line across the seam where the bodice and ribbing are attached.  This will keep your ribbed edge from rolling up when wearing the cardigan.

Supporting Seam Cardigan Sweater

Serge a piece of ribbon or other edging onto your raw sweater edge.  (I had intended to sew mine so that both ribbons were on the outside – but that isn’t what happened.  So it’s a bit quirky looking.)  Then fold over and stitch in place.  If you have time, it will look better if you do it by hand.

Cotton Cardigan

Sewing Tips

  • Serge the raw seams in this project if using a true sweater knit.  
  • Use a walking foot if you sweater fabric is thick or has an uneven texture.

Fleece Jacket Pattern

I have a new fleece jacket.  It’s Kwik Sew Pattern 3721, in the car coat length.

Fleece Jacket Pattern

Once again, the photo is overexposed so that you can see the detail.  I suppose that I should make things in lighter colors so that they can appear clearly on this blog.  But… I need to wear them.  And black is a good coat color.

I made the coat from winter fleece that I got from Fabric.com.  It was very different to sew than the sweater fabric.  I used clear elastic at the shoulder seams again.  Only this time it slipped out of my hand.  And I sewed it off a few times.  Now that I am wearing the coat, I can feel the elastic.  So, I may not need the clear elastic when sewing with fleece.

horizontal seam reinforced with clear elastic

The pattern layout looked just as odd as with the sweater fabric.  But I had seen it once, so it was familiar.  And I was able to cheat a bit, since fleece is without nap, and cut both arm/front pieces at once.

I used yellow tailor’s tacks and safety pins to mark the pattern pieces. I had originally made snips in the seams where appropriate.  But I wasn’t able to see them. So I added the tailors tacks afterward.

The pockets do add bulk to the side seams.  But I liked having them a lot yesterday when the wind was blowing.  And I didn’t want to mess around with gloves.  I may use a complimentary fabric for the pockets in the future.

This pattern is versatile.  By making a longer variation in a different fabric, the coat feels very different.

Mom’s Day Off Sweater

I finally finished assembling the pattern pieces, cutting out, and sewing my cardigan. I used Kwik Sew Pattern 3721 (aka Kwik Serge). I’m ridiculously pleased.


And the back.


This sweater included firsts, and probable firsts. Which is to say, it would seem I would have used tailor’s tacks, since I knew exactly how, but don’t remember. (Faulty memory can be useful.)

Sewing Sweater Fabric

I’ve never sewn sweater fabric into a garment. Just the odd blocks that I used in DD8’s quilt. I felt very paranoid that it would unravel before I could serge it. But it was fine. It definitely needed the serging at the end. But it holds together well enough for assembly.

Laying out the pieces for cutting was weird. The front piece is very unwieldy, since it is both the front and the sleeve. But I eventually managed it after repeatedly consulting the cutting diagram.

Clear Elastic

I reinforced the shoulder seams with clear elastic, Sewology brand. I’ve never used it before. I’ve noticed it in better quality ready to wear t-shirts and sweaters. And I was both keen to try it and anxious that it would tangle in my serger. I immediately cut my hand on the internal plastic packaging.  The clear elastic is wrapped around an H-shape plastic that is very sharp.  Actually sewing the elastic was easy. The serger blade trimmed it right into the stitches and made a very flat, strong seam. I’ll use it to reinforce horizontal seams in all my knits now, preferably a brand that doesn’t use sharp objects in packaging.

Kwik Sew Pattern

The instructions for Kwik Sew K3721 Cardigans Sewing Pattern call for a quarter inch seam allowance. And I am accustomed to 5/8th inch. So I’m glad that I was paying attention. Often, I just assemble a garment without reading the instructions. But I hadn’t used the Kwik Sew brand before. So I wasn’t expecting the more narrow seam allowance.

The sewing instructions and layout diagrams were clear. They recommended the clear elastic, and to mark the pattern with tailor’s tacks or safety pins. I like that I can serge right over the tailor’s tacks. I used yellow embroidery thread, which was easy to see.

There is an odd note on the pattern warning against cutting between or blending sizes, which is opposite of what I’ve learned. The link given for more instruction about the warning doesn’t work.

I used Sandra Betzina’s solution for full-bust-gaposis from Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure, my favorite fitting reference. Full-bust-gaposis sounds silly, but it’s nice to have a cardigan that hangs straight. Basically, you add more fabric in the front at an angle so that your girls don’t skew the line of the garment.  I wasn’t entirely sure that it would work with a modern, flowing, design.  But it does.

Now I have this cardigan that fits really well, but doesn’t meet all of my requirements.  I was seduced by the nice fabric in the clearance bin.  I should have purchased a thicker fleece fabric, to replace my coat that has become ratty from constant washing.  But instead, I have this lovely, great for indoors, hand washable sweater.  Oops.  Now I’ll need to buy that fleece anyway.  It will be interesting to see how the pattern sews up in a more low maintenance fabric.  It’ll certainly be faster, since the edges won’t need serging.