Do you have any old knitwear hanging around that’s a bit past its best?
Why not salvage the best bits and combine them to create a brand new garment – just like this chunky upcycled cardigan made from three old jumpers.
Here, we share our method so you can make your own too!
You will need:
Bias binding or ribbon
STEP 1 // Create your pattern
Take a garment you already own and like. Examine the construction – how many pieces is it made from? Ours had 2 x front piece, 2 x sleeve and 1 x back piece. So in total we needed to trace 3 pattern pieces.
Trace each piece individually. For the sleeves, trace them flat and make a note on your pattern piece to cut fabric on the fold.
Add 1.5cm seam allowance to all edges that will be sewn.
STEP 2 // Create the ‘style lines’
‘Style lines’ are seams in a garment which are there for visual effect, rather than holding the garment together. You can use these to get a colour-blocked look, by dividing each pattern piece up into smaller pieces. This works especially well when you’re short on fabric, or as in our case, when you’re upcycling and want to salvage smaller pieces of fabric.
Take each pattern piece and cut across it, in any shape you like – but remember more complicated shapes will be harder to sew!
We used straight lines on a diagonal to create our colour blocked look on the front and back of the cardigan.
If you’ve slashed your pattern to create style lines, make sure to add a 1.5cm seam allowance to the edges, for sewing the pieces back together.
STEP 3 // Cut out your pieces
Pin each pattern piece onto your fabric and cut them out, making sure you have included seam allowances.
STEP 4 // Sew style lines
Take the parts of each pattern piece, and sew them together at the style lines to create your full pattern pieces – 2 sleeves, 2 front pieces and one back piece.
The image below is our sleeve piece, made from a black and a grey piece of fabric, sewn together along the style lines.
We have aligned our pattern with the hem of the black garment, so we can use that as the cuff.
When sewing, give your machine a helping hand by feeding the fabric up to the presser foot using the blade of some scissors.
Run each seam through an overlocker to neaten, if you have one. You can use a zigzag stitch on a sewing machine to do this, but the results will be much less tidy.
STEP 5 // Sew garment together
Now it’s time to sew your cardi together!
Ours is a raglan sleeve cardigan, so construction is pretty simple: sew the sleeve fronts to the front pieces, then the sleeve backs to the back pieces.
STEP 6 // Add binding
Machine stitch some bias binding or ribbon to the cardigan opening, right sides together and aligning the raw edges.
Now fold the binding over to hide the raw edges.
Stitch this down by hand, keeping stitches as invisible as possible.
STEP 7 // Finish the hem
We managed to salvage the edging from one of the jumpers for this job.
It is simply stitched on (right sides together) and then overlocked to neaten
STEP 8 // Give it a good press
Press all the seams to help them lay nice and flat. Pay particular attention to the edge and hem.
And that’s it! Your new upcycled cardi is ready to wear!