I was shopping for some warm layers recently, and I got tangled up in a tiny dressing room with bad lighting. I accidentally put a loose and draping cardigan sweater on upside down. The funny thing was that it actually looked pretty cute. I was immediately inspired to stop looking for something new, and head home to cut up all my old sweaters and put them on upside down. With a sharp pair of scissors, you can take any sweater and transform it into a totally new shrug. For this tutorial, I used three different sweaters to demonstrate the versatility. The steps are the same, but the results are each one of a kind.
The sweaters in this project all have different fiber contents. The gray sweater is 100% cashmere, the pink sweater is a blend of angora and rayon, while the blue sweater is almost all cotton with a tiny bit of silk in the mix. I chose these pieces because their knit is very fine, and I knew that if I cut them, they would curl up into a nice rolled edge.
If you choose a sweater that has a loose knit that comes unraveled when you cut it, if it is wool, you can prep it by felting it lightly. Hand wash the sweater in hot soapy water. Agitate it for at least 5 minutes in water as hot as you can stand to touch. Rinse the sweater in cold water. The object is to make it just felted enough that the edges won’t unravel when it is cut. Lay the sweater flat to dry. (For more felting information and recycled sweater projects, check out my book, Feltique!)
Step 1: Play with the neckline of the sweater. For the pink shrug, I left the V-neck intact, and for the turquoise shrug, the tie around the neck became a tied waistband. But with the gray sweater, I cut away the crew-neck collar. When cutting a piece of clothing like this, less is always more. You can always cut more away to shape the piece during a second fitting.
Step 2: Cut straight down the center of the front of the sweater.
Step 3: Put the sweater on upside down! Meaning: The waistline of the sweater becomes the new neckline of the shrug. The old neckline becomes the bottom edge of the back.