I love cardigans. I love that I can easily put one on when I'm cold and take it off easily when I'm warm. I love adding a little color to an outfit with a cardigan. I love that you can wear a cool shirt underneath them and still see it or you can wear a tee and add a little more finesse to your outfit with the cardigan. I love them in all colors, with or without buttons, and with short, long, or elbow length sleeves. That's why I decided to turn this sweater into a cardigan. I picked it up last fall at the thrift for $2 and wore it a couple of times this winter, but I felt so, well, yellow, in it. Then I had this idea that I should turn it into a cardigan so I would use it more.
Here's how I did it...you will need to start with a sweater that has a tight weave - something small and preferably somewhat thin.
1. Lay the sweater flat. Mark the center line by taking a tape measure and making a mark every 2-3 inches. Cut the sweater along this line - make sure you cut only the front and don't catch the back of the sweater when you do this.
2. If you would like to change the sleeve length, measure and cut one sleeve and then lay it on top of the other sleeve, matching the shoulder seam, so you make sure to cut both sleeves the same length.
3. Next you will bind the cut edges. For the front center edges of the sweater, cut two strips of fabric 2.5- 4" wide (you get to choose how wide you want this strip - a wider strip will give a wider binding on your edge) x the length of your sweater plus 4". ie. If the length of your sweater from neck to bottom is 20", you will cut your strip of fabric 24". For the sleeve, cut two strip of fabric 2-3" wide x the diameter of your sleeve plus 2". Fold these strips in half and iron. Then fold each edge into the middle fold line and iron again, creating the binding.
4. Take the binding for the center edge and pin the right side to the right side (outer side) of the sweater. Leave 2" free on each end. Sew down the fold line closest to the center cut. Then, turn the sweater so the inside is facing you and the binding is folded underneath the edge. At the ends, turn the extra 2" down (you can trim this if you want less excess right here), and then fold over and pin the entire binding so that it covers the cut edge. Then stitch next to the edge of the binding closest to the sweater fabric on the front side of the sweater, making sure to catch the bottom edge of the binding as you stitch.
5. For the sleeves, you will repeat the process described for the center finishing in step four, except the edges will be finished a little differently. Start by opening the binding on one edge and folding an end of the binding over about 1". Then pin that folded binding end to the sweater, making sure that right sides are together. Continue to pin the binding to the sleeve edge until you come around to the folded end. Then place the end of the binding over the folded end. Pin in place and sew down the fold line closest to the edge of the sleeve. Next, fold the binding over the sleeve edge and pin in place. Stitch next to to the edge of the binding closest to the sweater fabric on the outside of the sleeve, making sure to catch the bottom edge of the binding as you stitch.
Trim your threads and you're done!
I'm pretty happy with how this turned out - I do like that I can break up all that yellow with a white tee now. You can also see that it goes very nicely with the outfit I wore today. I have another sweater that I bought with this idea in mind and I think I'll make a more narrow binding down the center on that one. The wider binding seems to lay a little funny at the top - probably because it doesn't make the right curve with the neck of the cardigan. It is a minor complaint, but I would like to see if I can make a simple fix with a narrower binding. Feel free to ask questions (especially if there's something that doesn't quite make sense)!