Monday, February 1, 2010

Sweater Makeover

I've had this sweater for a few years but don't wear it very often - I love the color but it was a bit too big and not very flattering (sorry no before picture).  I decided to fix the shape and update it, and I was inspired by this J.Crew sweater.

To bring in the sides I turned it inside out and first pinned, then basted, a line starting at the underarms, curving in at my waist and curving back out to meet the bottom hem.  It might be hard to see in the picture below but this is the final seam.  I've used this technique a couple of times now (including on a Banana Republic dress on huge sale that was 2 sizes too big for me!) and as long as I pin and baste before sewing the actual seam it works very well.

I used a thick broadcloth fabric for the ruffle, as I just happened to have that nice purple color lying around!  To make the ruffle I cut a long strip (probably about a yard long) 4 inches wide, then folded it in half lengthwise with the right sides together, sewed one short end closed and down the long side.  Then came the time-consuming process of turning the fabric tube right side out (this time I used a knife sharpener with rounded top which worked pretty well).

Once the tube was right side out I pressed it flat and ruffled it.  To do this I sewed 2 rows down the middle, being sure not to overlap them, with the tension set to the highest number and the stitch length as long as possible.

Sewing 2 rows is helpful when ruffling thicker fabrics, and also helps to more evenly distribute the ruffles.  Then you just pull the strings and move the ruffles to evenly distribute them along the strip.

I then pinned the ruffle to the sweater, being sure to keep the sweater itself flat, then sewed in place.

I started with just the shoulder ruffle, like the J.Crew sweater, but thought it would be fun to add more.  I remembered seeing this shirt by Alexis of Made by Lex and liked the idea of a shape/line that continued onto the back of the sweater, so I added a squiggly circle on the side that curves around the back (in the picture it's laying flat but you can see where the side seam is, about a third of the way in from the left side).

This project was really easy and I was able to finish it in one evening and wear the sweater to work the next day!  The longest step was turning the ruffle inside out and then forming the ruffle.  Definitely a fun and easy project that makes you feel like you have a whole new piece in your wardrobe!


  1. Hi Laurel! I recognized your sweater makeover as inspired by jcrew right away. Very nice work!

    bises, Kinara

  2. Fun! I love to look to JCrew and Anthropologie when I need inspiration for a new refashion project...

  3. that´s so cute!! i think i will try it!
    i do hav two sweaters that are far too big for me and that need a bit of refashioning!!

    Thank you verymuch!!!

  4. This design reminds me of a scarf I have from Anthropologie. Adorable.

  5. I have a purple cardigan very similar to this that is too big too! I've been thinking of sizing it down and adding ruffles too! Thanks for the tips!

  6. What a fabulous embellishment project! I can't wait to try it... since summer is approaching, I think I will try it on a tank or tee.