Some of the most fun I’ve had lately involves old clothes. No, I don’t mean washing them – that’s definitely NOT fun. I’m in upcycle mode right now! So, with Summer coming soon and April being Earth Day month, I was thrilled to find this adorable Floral Cardigan Upcycle to share with you.
Sachiko from the Tea Rose Home blog loves restoring old items for herself and her family. She also loves flowers, so when one of her favorite cardigans needed a facelift, a neckline garden seemed just right.
Sachiko started with cotton fabric in a color that blended well with her beloved cardigan. She folded it in half on the diagonal and cut bias strips to create a lovely ruffle at the hemline. She chose to make a ruffle with just a slight gather, but you could make yours more gathered or longer, too.
This looks scary, doesn’t it? I’ve always thought cutting a sweater would mean disaster, but if you follow Sachiko’s instructions, you’ll be just fine. You’ll be adding lace to the sleeve and a fabric ruffle along with a lace layer along the hem and you and your sweater will survive quite well.
I really love what Sachiko did on the back of her sweater! A little magic on the back makes all the difference in a personalized piece of clothing. If your sweater had a hole, this would be the perfect way to cover that, too.
On to the flowers. . . The “seeds” of your neckline garden will be pretty fabric prints and felts that coordinate well with your sweater along with buttons you love (a great place for vintage!) and maybe a little bit of ribbon or more lace. The fun of this is “growing” your garden in a style that pleases you. No two upcycled sweaters should ever be the same!
The flower/embellishing portion of your Floral Cardigan Upcycle would make a great take along project. Gather your supplies into a zip lock bag and keep it nearby so it’s easy to grab as you go out the door. Handwork is such a wonderful way to slow down and relax and Sachiko’s flower tutorials are great! If you’re not much on the word “hand”, though, you could add floral delights to your sweater by using fabrics and the decorative stitches on your machine. Stabilize the inside of the neck area with fusible interfacing first and enjoy playing!
So, how do you decide what fabrics, felts, flowers and yo-yos to use for your Floral Cardigan Upcycle? Do you freeze and start to twitch when it comes to making color and fabric choices? I have a few suggestions:
- Think about what you love to wear. Bright colors, monotones, brilliant contrasts, pastels? Pick a palette that makes you smile!
- Pull out your scraps and see what you like with your chosen sweater. Or, head for the fabric store and look over the fat quarters. Don’t forget to take the sweater!
- Next grab any felt scraps you have and see what pleasing combos you can put together with fabrics and your sweater.
- Beads and embroidery threads! Add in what you have on hand or put those on the list for your fabric store trip.
- Make more embellishments than you’ll need. That will give you lots to play with and you won’t feel limited to just a few combos and layouts. Try them all, take pictures with your phone, leave it ‘til tomorrow – whatever it takes to be sure you have a neckline garden that you’ll love!
I LOVE this quote from the end of Sachiko’s tutorial: “Why I am smiling? I have other ideas that I can’t wait to try with more fabric and wool flowers, thinking about the possibilities makes me so excited!” Isn’t this what it’s all about? Enjoy what you’re making, make more, plan more and keep your mind, soul and fingers happy. Click here for Sachiko’s Floral Cardigan Upcycle tutorial and keep smiling!
About the Author
Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community.