Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Lamest Tutorial Ever

I tried my hand at an upcycled garment! I had a plain white long-sleeved t-shirt sitting in my closet, just asking me to do something with it.
I decided to make a cardigan. I know, "It's the middle of summer!" you're saying. But my office is always a little bit chilly (as are these Utah evenings, if you ask me) so a light cardigan to warm my upper arms was just the ticket. Plus, is it just me, or does anyone else feel like their arms are a little bare in a cap sleeve? So I can just throw this on over and voila! No more bare cap-sleeved arms.
I thought I'd make a little tutorial for it, but, as it turns out, I'm not very good at making tutorials. I'm just not patient enough to stop at every step and take a picture, but I'll try to give good instructions in lieu of some of the pictures.
*As a little caveat, before you go doing this yourself, understand that if the shirt you start with is fitted, you're not going to be able to button it closed once you're done with the project. I knew this from the start, and was okay with it, since I never button my cardigans anyway, but if you wanted to be able to button your cardigan up, you'd want to have some extra (contrasting would be cute!) fabric on hand to add to the middle of your shirt once you cut it up the middle, and you'd put your buttons and button holes on that.
So, here's a picture of the shirt I started with (and still had picture-taking patience).

I wanted three-quarter length sleeves so I tried it on and figured out about how much I wanted to take off, then added about an inch to that so I could hem the edge and still have the sleeves the length I wanted. (How's that for a run-on sentence!) I measured that amount on both sleeves and chopped them off. Now my shirt looked like this:

Next I used that yard stick you can see on the right edge of the picture and measured the middle of the front of the shirt all the way up, then cut along that center mark. Here's a picture:

You can see where I marked up the center of the shirt with my washable marker. Next I folded under 1" on each side of the center cut and pinned it down.

Here's a close up shot:

And that's pretty much where I stopped taking pictures of my steps, but hopefully I can give good written instruction.
Next, using a ball point needle (because my shirt was knit) I sewed up the folds on either side of the center using a straight stitch. I did my stitch closer to the outer edge of the fold so that the buttons would be between the stitching and the edge of the fold. (Oh, geeze, does this make any sense? Why didn't I take more pictures?!)
Next, I laid out my buttons down one side to figure out basic spacing, and decided I wanted six buttons, about 2.5" apart. I marked on the shirt where each button would go using my washable marker. I made corresponding marks on the other side of the shirt where the button holes should go.
I know, these buttons are purely decorative, so I didn't really need to put button holes, but I thought it would look weird with out button holes. Plus, my machine has a button hole setting and I get strangely excited any time I get to use it (just in case you didn't already know I was a nerd!).
Still using my ball point needle, I stitched the button holes down one side of the center. I didn't even bother cutting the "hole" part of my button holes, just stitched them on for looks.
Now, my machine also has a stitch that will automatically sew on buttons, and I was all excited to use that, but...I broke my first button. Cracked right between the holes. Better than breaking a needle, I guess. Feeling a little defeated, I sewed them on by hand. Don't worry, I have since learned how to sew buttons on using the machine, and it worked beautifully. Hopefully I get around to posting about that project as well.
I don't know why I left this step until the last, but finally I hemmed both of the sleeves, so they didn't have raw edges. I just folded them under (like I did for the center seam) and did a straight stitch using the ball point needle. Sorry, no pictures of that!

But I did take a picture of the finished cardigan!

What do you think? I have an identical black shirt that I plan on doing the same thing with, but maybe this time I'll do a little more embellishing. If you wanted to, you could make some of those cute fabric flowers that have been floating around the blog world using the extra fabric cut off the end of the sleeves. Maybe I'll do that on the next one...and take pictures, too. :)


Amber said...

I love it! I have about 20 cardigans and it still isn't enough. I think this is a fantastic idea and I vow to try it some day soon. Thank you Angela! I might be calling you when I get stuck on a step.

Nancy said...

so cute Angela, I started a red one similarly and have yet to finish it, you've inspired me!

Michelle said...

cute, cute. I really like this idea. Maybe I'll give it a try sometime.

Becky said...

You make me laugh!! but it was a nice tutorial, a nice one! And very inventive of you. You go girl :)

pam said...

You are so smart! And the cardigan looked great on you.