Bring On Spring Cardigan
By Linda Permann
Update a “blah” cardigan with ruffled strips of printed fabric to make a statement piece. This is a great refashion for a closet or thrifted sweater that no longer begs you to wear it, and is also great creative camouflage for stained sweaters. You can vary the length and number of ruffles to suit your fancy.
½ yard pre-washed fabric the softer and thinner, the better
Rotary cutter and quilting ruler
Bodkin or safety pin
Step 1: Cut the fabric into four 4½"×44" strips. You will be using exactly ½ yard of fabric, so you might want to make a practice ruffle with scrap fabric first. Once cut, fold each strip in half lengthwise, with right sides facing, and press along the fold.
Step 2: Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew down the long open side of each strip. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each strip.
Step 3: Attach a bodkin to one open end of a sewn fabric tube and use it to turn the tube inside out. Repeat for each fabric tube. Press each tube flat so that the seam rests on one edge of the tube. Turn about ½" of each short end to the inside of the tube, and press. Stitch the ends shut, close to the edge.
Step 4: Set your machine to the longest available stitch. You will be making a basting stitch down the long, seamed side of each fabric tube. Since the fabric tubes are so long, it’s helpful to baste in sections as follows: sew down about 14" of the strip, stop and cut the ends (leaving them long), then start again for another 14" section. Repeat once more to cover the length of the strip. Do NOT backstitch at the beginning or end of any of your basted sections, and leave the thread ends long. Repeat this process for all 4 strips.
Step 5: To gather the ruffles, you’ll need to pull on the bobbin thread of each basted section. This takes a bit of time and practice, so be patient. Do not tug the threads too hard, or they might break. Gather each strip until the length of the ruffle matches the length of your cardigan. If the strip is too ruffled for your taste, you might need to shorten the strip slightly. You’ll be able to fold the fabric by hand in the small areas between basting stitches.
Step 6: Draw a line about 1" away from the button band of your cardigan. Pin one ruffled strip to the cardigan, matching the basted edge to the drawn line. As you pin, adjust the gathers, if necessary. Using a regular stitch, sew across the short side of the ruffle at the top of the cardigan, down the basted side of the strip, and across the bottom short side. Repeat the marking, pinning, and sewing with another ruffle strip on the other side of cardigan.
Step 7: Pin the second ruffle in place, overlapping the ruffle you just sewed and matching the basted edge of the ruffle with the edge of the button band. Sew the ruffle in place. Repeat for the other side of the cardigan.
Step 8: Trim any thread ends and remove the basting stitches. Your cardigan is ready to wear!
About the Author
Linda Permann is a crafter, writer, and crochet designer who can’t wait for warmer weather. Check out her blog at www.lindamade.com/wordpress.