Floral Cardigan Upcycle

Floral Cardigan on body

Some of the most fun I’ve had lately involves old clothes. No, I don’t mean washing them – that’s definitely NOT fun. I’m in upcycle mode right now! So, with Summer coming soon and April being Earth Day month, I was thrilled to find this adorable Floral Cardigan Upcycle to share with you.

Sachiko from the Tea Rose Home blog loves restoring old items for herself and her family. She also loves flowers, so when one of her favorite cardigans needed a facelift, a neckline garden seemed just right.

Floral Cardigan cutting fabric strips

Sachiko started with cotton fabric in a color that blended well with her beloved cardigan. She folded it in half on the diagonal and cut bias strips to create a lovely ruffle at the hemline. She chose to make a ruffle with just a slight gather, but you could make yours more gathered or longer, too.

Floral Cardigan adding lace to sleeve

This looks scary, doesn’t it? I’ve always thought cutting a sweater would mean disaster, but if you follow Sachiko’s instructions, you’ll be just fine. You’ll be adding lace to the sleeve and a fabric ruffle along with a lace layer along the hem and you and your sweater will survive quite well.

floral cardigan back detail

I really love what Sachiko did on the back of her sweater! A little magic on the back makes all the difference in a personalized piece of clothing. If your sweater had a hole, this would be the perfect way to cover that, too.

Floral Cardigan close up j

On to the flowers. . . The “seeds” of your neckline garden will be pretty fabric prints and felts that coordinate well with your sweater along with buttons you love (a great place for vintage!) and maybe a little bit of ribbon or more lace. The fun of this is “growing” your garden in a style that pleases you. No two upcycled sweaters should ever be the same!

Floral Cardigan flower in progress steps

The flower/embellishing portion of your Floral Cardigan Upcycle would make a great take along project. Gather your supplies into a zip lock bag and keep it nearby so it’s easy to grab as you go out the door. Handwork is such a wonderful way to slow down and relax and Sachiko’s flower tutorials are great! If you’re not much on the word “hand”, though, you could add floral delights to your sweater by using fabrics and the decorative stitches on your machine. Stabilize the inside of the neck area with fusible interfacing first and enjoy playing!

Floral Cardiganflowers

So, how do you decide what fabrics, felts, flowers and yo-yos to use for your Floral Cardigan Upcycle? Do you freeze and start to twitch when it comes to making color and fabric choices? I have a few suggestions:

  • Think about what you love to wear. Bright colors, monotones, brilliant contrasts, pastels? Pick a palette that makes you smile!
  • Pull out your scraps and see what you like with your chosen sweater. Or, head for the fabric store and look over the fat quarters. Don’t forget to take the sweater!
  • Next grab any felt scraps you have and see what pleasing combos you can put together with fabrics and your sweater.
  • Beads and embroidery threads! Add in what you have on hand or put those on the list for your fabric store trip.
  • Make more embellishments than you’ll need. That will give you lots to play with and you won’t feel limited to just a few combos and layouts. Try them all, take pictures with your phone, leave it ‘til tomorrow – whatever it takes to be sure you have a neckline garden that you’ll love!

Floral Cardigan smiling

I LOVE this quote from the end of Sachiko’s tutorial: “Why I am smiling? I have other ideas that I can’t wait to try with more fabric and wool flowers, thinking about the possibilities makes me so excited!” Isn’t this what it’s all about? Enjoy what you’re making, make more, plan more and keep your mind, soul and fingers happy. Click here for Sachiko’s Floral Cardigan Upcycle tutorial and keep smiling!

2 thoughts on “Floral Cardigan Upcycle

  1. Patricia Thronson Reply

    Love this idea. Takes me back to my childhood when my Mother took all kinds of time to use ribbon embroidery techniques on our cardigans. We handed them down from sister to sister.

    • Annette Millard Post authorReply

      It is so lovely and inspirational. Glad you enjoyed it, Patricia!

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