DIY Thursday: up-cycled cardigan!

so excited about my updated cardigan!

yes, i have already professed my love for seam binding here...but i just had to use it in another project because it is AMAZINGLY versatile. i changed this thrift store cardigan into a fantastically colorful "new" piece of clothing...and so can you!

the idea for this DIY started last saturday afternoon, when i was on fabric row in south philly and stumbled over tons of seam binding spools calling my name - 100 yards for $2.99...i mean who could pass that up? you can get some online if you don't have a dealer in your area.

you will need:
- a sweater (or really anything could work for this: skirts, sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc.)
- 3 different colors of seam binding 
- masking tape & scissors
- a sewing machine & thread 
- a colorful button

1. gather your supplies. i picked an aqua, purple and salmon color to contrast my yellow polka-dotted sweater. think about fun color combos!

2. measure where you want your seam binding to go on the fabric. i knew that i did not want it to go all the way to the top, so i measured and taped some guides for myself. i also realized that i was going to be sewing over button holes and decided to get rid of all the pearly buttons since i was already missing two!

3. starting at the bottom, measure and cut your strips. this does not have to be PERFECT, it should look handcrafted. i wanted to make most of it one color and choose the aqua. feel free to take a different approach to your color hierarchy!

4. once you have one side cut, count the strips and cut the same number for the other side. although it does not have to be perfect, you may want it to match.

5. time to sew! remember that you are starting at the bottom so your seams will be hidden and it gets the shingled-effect. and it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT. i am not going to lie...the sewing got a bit repetitive! perhaps you should listen to an NPR podcast to help make the time pass more quickly. don't start sewing before lunch...i did that...very hungry and distracted!

6. take it off the machine every so often to see if your strips are (mostly) straight - horizontally speaking and adjust accordingly. when you have one side of the cardigan done, start on the other side. remember to check that the color-blocks are lining up evenly when you close the front of the sweater.

7. since i cut off the buttons, but still had a button hole at the very top, i decided to add back a button so i could close the cardigan with a little point of whimsy.

8. now all that is left is to clip the loose threads and cut the edges of the seam binding that run under your arms...this was fairly uneven for me. it may ravel a little bit.

that's it! you are done and now have a new up-cycled cardigan. i wore mine this week and got some compliments, which felt good after all that work!

jazz hands!


  1. Hey, I love this idea! Great blog! It's me, Ahnna. Not so anonymous after all.

  2. NO WAY! I LOVE that idea!!! Im going to be ripping through my closet to see which shirt will succumb to the sewing machine!