Monday, October 5, 2009

making a t-shirt into a cardigan

I needed a light cardigan for my daughter last week, so I grabbed a long sleeved t-shirt from her drawer that was rarely worn, and we went from this... this.

(I lightened the pic since black can make showing details difficult sometimes)

I trimmed off the hemmed edge at the very bottom of the tee, cut off the bottom of the tee making it a mid-cropped length for a cardi. Then I cut that bottom piece in half into two evenly sized strips, and sewed the two strips into one long continuous piece. I then cut up the center to make my opening and trimmed the bottom edge and the neckline, rounding them and evening everything up so it would hang correctly once finished. I folded my continuous strip in half, wrong sides together, and pinned it to the raw edges all the way around and stitched it in place, and then serged it for a finished look (if you don't have a serger it's fine, this step is not necessary, just cosmetic). I then top stitched it so that the edging would not flip over as she wore it.

The way it came out, the seams curved inward, so it was hard to get a good shot of this laying flat, but it worked perfectly and looked great while my daughter was wearing it, which was really the point anyways.

And now that I told you it looked great on my daughter, here is this crummy picture of the cardi (but cute one of my silly girl Haven) that makes the cardi look uneven and sloppy. I promise that the hem is not uneven, my daughter was just fed up and was basically trying to bolt out the door and was not happy I was taking her picture.

I made a second one the other day, this time for my youngest daughter. I used a short sleeve t-shirt, cutting off more length from the bottom of the tee so I had a longer continuous strip, pinning the edges as before but this time giving it some small gathers as I went so that the edging ruffled. And this time I joined all of the edges of the continuous strip so it was basically a circle of knit edging, trimmed off the entire neck band on the t-shirt and ran the continuous strip all the way around the edge.


It turned out very cute, but again the pictures were not so great as I had a very unhappy and unwilling model. Cute, nonetheless, but still not thrilled about having her picture taken. She was slightly mollified by the fact that she is wearing her absolute favorite color. Pink. Everything is best when it's pink in her little world. Even when she is forced to pose for pictures.

I also top stitched around the ruffle to turn keep it turned outward, otherwise it would have curled in. In the end, I thought the ruffled edge turned out far better than  the flat edging I did on the first cardi.

So I would do this ruffled edge again as I like the finished product much better. My only complaint has to do with my lack of pink serger thread. I only have white and black currently, so the white serger seams really flash and stand out as Gracen moved while wearing this. I may go back and top stitch some decorative narrow ribbon over top of the inside serged seams to cover them up and stop the numerous flashes of white thread that are so glaringly obvious every time she even so much as breathes.

Oh, and for future reference, when I made the fist cardi, I used a regular Schmetz universal sewing machine needle. For the second cardi I switched over to a Singer ball point needle as they are supposed to be best when sewing knits on your machine. For me this was not the case. My thread broke over and over again and I had skipped stitches no matter what I did as I sewed. And no amount of fiddling with the bobbin, the tension, the presser foot, or numerous rounds of re-threading ever made any difference whatsoever. It was an overall nightmare. So I switched back to my Schmetz universal needle and I stitched up every bit of the stretchy knit tee without a single problem after that. I'm still not sure what the deal was, but I will just know next time to forget the ball point needle unless I want to cry and have fits of hysteria while I sew. Just thought I would throw this out there in case anyone else has this same issue. And if you know what my have caused that headache, I am more than happy to give the ball point needle another try with any suggestions you might have. Otherwise forget it. It's Schmetz universal for me. Period.

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