Saturday, July 3, 2010

Refashion: Long-Sleeve Tee into Open Cardigan with Pocket

I will be the first to admit that some clothes stay in my closet for far too long. I think the oldest item of clothing that I have I bought from the GAP in 1997. Needless to say, it is time for a fairly major wardrobe update, but I also wanted to refashion some of the items and give them at least a little bit more life.

So I started with a long-sleeved tee (that I remember taking with me on my high school trip to France) and decided to do something new with it. Enter the open cardigan. Because it is summer in NC, I haven't been getting as much use out of my regular cardigans because it is really just too hot! The ones that are light enough to wear generally are left unbuttoned, so I figured, why not just make a cardigan that is supposed to be open?!

If you want to make one for yourself, follow my first tutorial!

What you'll need:
  • Long-sleeved tee shirt
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape/ruler
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron (optional)

1. Start with a long-sleeved tee that still fits, but that you are willing to use for a new purpose.

2. Lay it out flat and measure from one side seam to the other. Figure out the middle point and put a mark there. Continue up the rest of your shirt marking the middle point so that eventually you can cut a straight line. (Or, if your shirt is slightly ribbed, like mine was, just keep your eye on the correct rib and cut carefully up the middle.) You should end up with something that looks like this:

3. Put on the shirt and figure out where you would want the sleeves to end. I measured to the middle of my elbow, so once I hemmed the sleeves, they stop just above my elbow. If you want your sleeves to be longer, measure them longer. (I found it easiest to just measure from the armpit and then cut straight across.) Do this for both sleeves.

4. I decided that I wanted my cardigan to have pockets, so I used the bottom part of the sleeves that I cut off for that fabric. Flip the bottom sleeve fabric inside out and cut out the seam, so that you end up with one solid piece of fabric.
5. Since the bottom of the sleeve is already hemmed, I used that for the top part of the pocket (hey, anything for a few less stitches!). I used a food storage container to trace my pockets because I liked the shape, but feel free to use whatever shape you want for your pockets. (From a sewing perspective, it would be easiest to do just square pockets.) If you don't want to make pockets, you could use the extra sleeve material to make ruffles/flowers/a braided edge/whatever your heart desires. I just happen to really like pockets.


6. (I didn't take pictures of this next part. Sorry!) Now you have all of the pieces that you are going to need. If you like the look of the raw edges, don't do anything else with the cuts that you made down the middle of your shirt or on the sleeves. I chose to hem the middle cut and the sleeves with just a straight stitch. Be sure to anchor your stitches by going back and forth a couple times with your sewing machine, especially on the parts that are already hemmed from your original shirt. I also ran a stitch around the outside of the pockets to make them easier to turn under in the next step (the zigzag stitch was just for decoration since I was sewing with a contrasting thread color).

7. I ironed the outside seams of the pockets to make them easier to pin and sew on later.


8. Pin your pocket on your cardigan wherever you want it, sew it on, and voila! You're done!


(I originally cut out two pockets, but I decided that I just wanted to attach one at this point. I like the asymmetric-ness of it.)

I was going to model it for you all, but I am still in my pajamas this morning, and frankly, that is okay by me!

I am linking to



1 comment:

Diane said...

I thought you might like to know that your blog post, minus pictures was re-copied here:
http://sewing-machine-cabinets.bompus.com/2010/07/refashion-long-sleeve-tee-into-open/
I accidentally stumbled across a post of mine here and thought you might like to know. feel free to delete this comment...

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