Saturday, April 17, 2010

transform your cardi {tutorial}

I'm so very excited about THIS book I pre-ordered on amazon for $11.46 (such a great deal! get yours now!!), I decided I couldn't wait until the May 6 delivery date - I needed to give my cardi a transformation NOW. My mom and I had already planned to sew yesterday so I was glad she didn't mind my little project switcheroo. I cheated a bit and selected an old Old Navy cardigan that already had some fun embroidery (and that I only paid like $5 for - gotta love ON sales!) and then lucked out that some of the fabrics in my stash went perfect with it - love it when things work out that way! :) So here's a mini tutorial from someone VERY new to sewing (thanks for helping me so much and for being so patient, mom!), with lots of photos because honestly it's as much for me (as a reference) as for anyone else who might benefit from it!

And if you want the professional version, then wait another couple of weeks and pick up Sandi Henderson's new book - I just know it's going to be fabulous!

So here it goes...

We started by figuring out how wide we wanted the finished ruffles to be and then FOLDED the fabric (we wanted the ruffles to be finished on both sides) and cut 2 strips 22" x 3.75" (seam allowance included). Then with the right sides of the fabric on the inside, sew the 3.75" sides together and press the seam flat. Turn the fabric the right way and fold it like you originally had it and it should look like a circle, with one closed side and one open side (in my photo, the open side is resting on the ironing board). You could use a ruffling foot to gather the fabric on your machine and make the ruffle for you, but we did it by hand. Proof that I did some of the steps all by myself - ha, ha, ha! Baste stitch it gathering the ruffle to your liking, then pin it to your cardi sleeve at the desired length, distributing the ruffles evenly (Note: my cardi was already 3/4 sleeve so that made it even easier.) When pinning, make sure to match the fabric seam with the sweater sleeve seam. Then TRY IT ON! - be careful with all those pins! Why try it on? To make sure that you haven't gathered it too much! Your sweater sleeve will stretch to accommodate your arm (knit fabric) but once you attach your decorative ruffle (cotton, not knit) there won't be any give, so make any necessary adjustments NOW even if it means unpinning, stretching your sweater sleeve a tiny bit, widening the circumference of your ruffle to make it a little loser, and pinning the ruffle in place once again.

You're almost there! Because there were so many pins, we decided to baste stitch the ruffle onto the sweater prior to serging it. Your sweater sleeve should now look like this: Starting to look pretty, huh?

Time to add a little decorative finish! I chose a coordinating fabric print, but you could choose a number of other trims, like ribbon, premade trim (Hobby Lobby has some cute ones right now, like pre-ruffled grosgrain ribbon), ric rac if you were embellishing a little girl's sweater - you name it!

So for my trim, I cut two 16" x 2" strips of fabric, folded it in half lengthwise, right sides of the fabric on the inside, and sewed it into a little tube closing one end and leaving one end open to be able to turn it the right way. Using a very professional tool, aka one of Grace's skinny paintbrushes :), we turned the strips inside out so that the pretty side of the fabric would now be on the outside once again. Pin it in place matching the sweater and ruffle seam. Cut off any excess trim, but leave a tiny bit at the end to fold under and make a nice finished edge along the sweater seam on the back of the arm. Baste stitch...or not - we did because there were so many pins and it was such a narrow strip that it would have made it a bit difficult to sew, say 1/2 inch, then stop, remove next pin, sew another 1/2 inch, and on and on! Then sew your trim on, tucking under that last little bit of trim when you get to the seam on the back of the sleeve. Top stitch both the top (sweater side) and bottom (ruffle side) of the trim. Optional: Hand tack the trim seam to reinforce it a little bit more. Things just look prettier when they're finished all the way, don't they? :)

And you're done! Your sweater has undergone a CinDEreLla TrAnSfORmaTIon! Seeing the sleeves stacked one on top of the other makes me think that even a double ruffle might be cute on a plain cardi - the possibilities are endless! So go dig through your closet or pick up a cheap cardi and make it tres chic! Not bad for a $5 cardi, huh?

Transform Your Cardi is linked up at
Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!





Amber said...

Love how it turned out, but I don't think you could have made that cardi not look gorgeous. it was so pretty to begin with...and only $!!!

When I need to gather something, I set my machine on the longest stitch and leave a tail of thread at the beginning and the end. You then pull one of the threads to gather. I sometimes cheat and set my tension at the highest number and my machine starts gathering it for me :) Just a much faster way to do it.

TaDa! Creations said...

You hit that one out of the park! Great tutorial. You've got me motivated to do mine now too. I hope you bring this with you to MN next month. ;)

I {heart} Nap Time said...

wow that is darling! I'd love for you to link it up sundae scoop

Colleen/And Baby Makes Five said...

I LOVE this idea! Your finished cardi is just beautiful and so much fun, too! Thanks for the tutorial.

Hmmm... I'll be on the lookout for some plain jane cardis now for sure....

Jessica said...

Thanks ladies! I'm now trying to resist the urge to transform all the cardis in my closet :O

Amber~ Thanks for the tips - keep 'em coming! I need all the help I can get - HA, HA, HA

Jamie~ I'm now linked :)

Lindsey said...

THAT IS SO CUTE!!! Great idea!

Heather L. said...

LOVE it! You did a great job!

The England Family said...

A-DOR-ABLE! I LOVE IT! I bought two cardis yesterday secretly hoping I could see your transformations and be motivated to do some of my own! I think you more than motivated me! That is just too cute!

Natasha in Oz said...

This is such a great idea and what a bargain too! I can't sew at all but my mum can so I think I might send this link to her!

This is my first time visiting your blog and I love it! What a beautiful family! I will have to come back soon for a longer visit.

Best wishes for a fabulous week,

Anonymous said...

I just love this! Thanks for sharing and the detailed tutorial for us beginners! If you have a moment I'd just love if you'd come to my blog party as well and link to this, my readers would just love it! all the best, Sara

Anonymous said...

So glad you stopped by! I'm going to feature this next week, so be sure to stop by again! all the best, Sara

Jessica said...

So fun! Thanks, Sarah!

Mary Beth @ Live. Laugh. Make Something said...

absolutely adorable! so pretty and charming! I have become a follower and would be honored if you choose to do the same!

Anonymous said...

What a darling transformation!! I love the fabrics you used- I am going to have to do this with a few of mine!

Simply Domestic said...

Wow!! I love the new look! I'm new to your blog. It's precious. Count me as your new follower!

Kama said...

That is super cute! I have a baby Hudson as well!!

Jessica said...

Thanks everyone!

Kama~ Yay for little Hudsons everywhere :)

Welcome new readers!! So glad to have you drop by!

Ribbons and Pigtails said...

I'm in love...really in love this idea...and this is the perfect time of year to wear such a sassy cardi!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

This is great! I've printed out your tutorial to try this myself. I was going to do some kind of ruffle down the cardigan {from top to bottom}, but I like this idea much better. Great job!

Sarah @HarriganHowdy said...

Your cardi is super sweet! It looks so couture. :) I love refashioning clothing!! Thanks for sharing.


Sawdust Girl said...

That is sew dang cute.

elsie said...

As a new sewer, I really appreciate your through tutorial. It came out super cute.

Andrea said...

LOVE it. My daughter has some sweaters this would be perfect for! Great tutorial and a fabulous idea!

Andrea @

TheNormanFive said...

I so want a cardigan... I love this!!! Thanks for the great tutorial and sharing with us.

Jessica said...

Thanks ladies! And if you give your cardi a cinderella transformation let me know - I wanna see!!! :)

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