Monday, March 11, 2013

Sweater + Cardi Multi-Patch Refashion

Yes... I did say the COVER UP from last week's cross back shirt would be posted today, but that was way before I had finished this week's projects! I'm too excited about them to wait, so the cover up is getting pushed to Friday (plus there's more I want to do with it).
This project turned out better than I expected. It was inspired by a super cozy sweater that I saw on Tumblr from Nicholas K which is no longer available..
I was able to copy it, leaving out only the furry collar. I excluded it because I didn't think it would go with my cardi. This was fairly simple and can be done with any sweater, cardigan, shirt, coat... anything!

Here is the original, from Nicholas K.
I forgot to take a before picture, so here I am wearing it last summer. It's one of my favorite cardigans and sees a lot of use, so I was really worried that it wouldn't be as wearable or loved after the transformation. But I think it is even better! Also, let's note how short my hair is. GROWING IT OUT is almost over! About 1-2 inches left :) I wrote that post exactly one year ago and have only had one trim since. Tough schedule- but it worked!
First, I made a pattern using contact paper. You could also use tracing paper, but I felt like this was just going to be easier and more precise. Plus it was on hand :) I cut out a piece roughly the right size and applied it to the back of the cardi, from the top shoulder seam (important) to the bottom of the arm holes.
Next, I traced it using a sharpie. I lined up a yard stick from arm hole to arm hole to get a nice straight line, then I traced all along the arm sleeves, shoulder seams and collar seam. I do wish I had made the collar go a *titch* higher.
After that I removed the contact paper and stuck it on to the material (faux suede- 1/4 yard for $2 at Hobby Lobby. I could have gotten way less, too). I then just cut the fabric out right along the tracing with the contact paper still attached. At this point, it would be best to remove the contact paper. I left it on for the next step and it was a little tricky. You want to be able to remove the contact paper without fraying the edges too much. Go slowly and press down on the fabric firmly. Trim away any fray. 
So here it is on top of the cardi :) At this point you may find that you need to do some adjusting. I had to cut some fabric from the shoulder seam area. 
I didn't want it to bubble up or move around when being sewn on. Some people are brilliant with pinning properly but it always messes me up. I used some no-sew permanent tape from Aileen and put three pieces down in the middle where the fabric will go.
Then I added some pieces by the shoulder seams.
Then I pinned it down.
And ran it through my sewing machine with a tight straight stitch. If you like the frayed look, leave it be. It will fray up til the stitching. OR you can do what I did, treat the edges with no-fray and glue them down with permanent no-sew adhesive. 
Lastly come the elbow patches. I cut out an oval shape from the material (about 4 inches tall, the original had much larger patches) and then traced it on to more material to have an identical set. I put a piece of no-sew permanent tape in the middle and then did the edges in the permanent no-sew adhesive. I didn't want to hand sew, and using a machine would have required removing the seams of the arms. You can definitely do that! 
Another option is to use iron-on patches from the store, which come in the perfect size. You can leave them rectangular or cut them into ovals. This is especially good if you decide to use a duck cloth or canvas type material for the patching, which would also look awesome. 
To get them applied in the proper places, it's easiest to put the top on and then have someone mark the center of your elbow with a straight pin or (if you're brave and confident in your refashion!) a sharpie X. 
Here's the finished product again! It would be fun to bring it around and do the front pockets (trace them using the contact paper and either apply them the same way you did the elbows or sew them on). I didn't feel like the pockets on this cardi were conducive to it, though. *I'd like to mention, that as you can see in the flat  photos, the bottom edge is perfectly straight across. I have a condition that causes one of my shoulders to be out of joint all the time and hang weird, which is what makes the back look angled. I had some criticism about this and wanted to share. You'll see it in a lot of projects I do, so now you know!* That little bit of work really changed the entire look of this cardigan (which is J.Crew from about 4 years ago! Longevity). I'd love to do it again, maybe on a deep green sweater or even a regular long sleeved shirt that needs some spicing up. I'm also going to try it on one of my many trench coats :) It looks so much more warm and cozy.
I have to say it again this year- does anyone hate DST as much as me? Very much not looking forward to the transition. Certainly there are many people who love it, there must be or it would have been stricken down years ago. I wrote my state reps + congressmen last year but they emailed me back saying it was wonderful and saved so much energy. This makes no sense to me. Now I just have lights on earlier in the morning instead of later at night? Oh well. Time to adjust! I hope Monday is treating you well and you aren't feeling the lag! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 


  1. I think the original is by Nicholas K. Really cute and easy restyle - posting a finished photo on my blog and a link back to you.

    1. Good grief! I searched forever- how did you find it? And THANK YOU!

  2. pretty cool, Auna! I love using contact paper for many projects, too! I can't believe that you can already make a top bun! I might get to 'pony tail' in time for the summer!!

    1. Thanks, D!! Contact paper should always be on hand :) and I'm sure you can!! Remember the strength of the Bobbie Pin ;)

  3. AMAZING! Totally have to give this a go! :)



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