November 04, 2010

T-shirt to Cardigan with Kalleen from At Second Street

Part of the fun of Refashionista is getting a chance to introduce you to some of these bloggers you may not know.  Frankly, I haven't met them in person, but I feel like I know them from their blogs.  I think I first found Kalleen's blog, At Second Street, through SYTYC.  She had made this and I was floored!  I love seeing something that original and unique.  She has done some incredible refashioning on her blog and she has some serious cake-decorating skills as well.  She pretty much does it all and she's really down to earth and very kind.  Here she is with a great tutorial ready for you today.  Welcome Kalleen!

Gosh, I am so excited to part of Cheri's refashionista event. Not only because I LOVE Cheri and her blog, but also because I love to refashion. I love NOT loading up all my kids, NOT getting overwhelmed at the fabric store and NOT paying a boat load of money just to sew. 
My favorite thing to refashion is a T-Shirt. Everyone has some and they're made of knit which means I don't have to finish my edges.  Today I wanted to share how to make a cardigan out of a long sleeve T-shirt.   

With the weather getting colder I needed some cardigans to help carry our summer clothes over to fall and winter. 

I started with a long sleeve T-shirt. Don't follow my horrid example.  Your shirt should be washed and pressed. 

First step is to line everything up so it's laying flat. Next cut two 1" strips. 

Then I used one of my daughter's T-Shirts for a pattern. I turned it inside out and pinned it at the arm holes. 

I find it easier to cut up both sides and half of the top, then fold it over and do the other half of the top.  That way I know it's symmetrical. 

While it was folded in half I cut the neck line a little lower. 

Next, I pulled out the sleeves of my pattern shirt and laid them on the fold of my T-shirt. I gave myself a couple inches on the end since I wanted the sleeves to be a little longer than the pattern shirt. If you're pattern shirt is the right length line it up at the end of the sleeve. Once it's lined up, cut up to the armpit seams.

To cut the curve at the top of the sleeve, I lined up the arm hole from the body piece. After I cut one sleeve I used it as a pattern for the other sleeve. 

Next I drew a line down the middle of my front body piece and cut it in half. 

I also curved corners of the front opening. 

Now I had all my pieces. Two 1" strips, two sleeves, a back and front with an opening. 

I pinned and sewed the front and back right sides together at the shoulders. You can finish your edges with a serger, but it's not necessary. 

Next, I sewed on the sleeves. I opened the shirt pieces and laid them flat with the right side up. Then I lined up the middle of the sleeve with the shoulder seam and pinned them right sides together. I followed the curve on both sides and pinned every half inch or so. 

It will look like this when your done. It should be a perfect fit, be careful not to pull or stretch the knit. 

After the sewing the arms on, I sewed up the sleeve and and down the sides. 

At this point I had the basic shape of a cardigan, but the edges, need stability so they don't roll. 
I pinned one of the 1" strips along the bottom of the cardigan. Then I sewed it on, first with a 1/8" seam along the bottom of the strip and then a 1/8" seam along the top. 

It will look like this when your done.  I like the look of the raw edges, they will curl a little over time and with washing. 

Now I used my second 1" strip and pinned it up the front opening, around the back and down the front on the other side. 

I pleated it to help it go around the curve at the neck line. I didn't have enough length in one strip to make it all the way around the neck  and back down with the pleating. I used a leftover strip from the bottom to get the length I needed. I pieced them together and hid my seam in the pleats. 

The last step is adding the pockets. I like to cut mine from the original neckline, so it will have the ribbing at the top. 

I cut two out, pinned them in place, and sewed them on with a 1/8" seam. 

You could also add buttons down the front.  They're not functional, just for looks. I didn't want to wreck the whole thing by trying to do perfect button holes. 

I know we are going to get a lot of use out of this. I think it would be pretty simple to do a boy version, maybe take out the curve and pleating. I would also like to try one out for myself, by cutting a shirt up the middle and cutting out the neckline. You would need a second shirt or extra knit fabric for your 1" strips. 

Feel free to stop by anytime to see some more refashions
Thanks again Cheri, for inviting me to participate, I can't believe I'm blogging with some of the people I admire most. 

Thanks, Kalleen!  I love it!  It's so nice to have layers when dressing kids.  Be sure to visit her blog, At Second Street for lots of great ideas.


  1. Oh my, this is too cute! I have two boys, so usually I skip over posts about girls clothing, but this was too cute to pass up. I just might have to make one for myself. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ahhh! I love it! I want to make this sooo bad!

  3. Excellent tutorial Kalleen! I can't wait to make on of these for Sutton.

  4. Love love love this! (Especially the pleats on the neckline!)

    I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  5. Love Kalleen and all of her brilliant ideas.

  6. You have got to be kidding me! You are seriously reading my mind this week. My chin is still on the floor. Great job.

  7. Wowwie Wow Wow!! I am in love with this idea! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!

  8. I love the detail on the collar. What a great technique! I will now be scouring my closet to find something to do this to! Great refashion!

  9. This is great! I have some shirts that I've been waiting to make into cardigans and now I don't have to figure it out on my own:). You are great Kalleen!

    Cheri, this week has been so fun! What a great idea!

  10. This little cardigan is adorable!

  11. I am in love, this time not with my hubby. such a great idea and refashion, Thanks for sharing.

  12. very cute, I love the way the hems are done, it adds an extra cute touch! I definitely have a few maternity and pre-baby long sleeve Ts that I can 'sacrifice' to make a few of these for my DD. (not just because I don't want to try those prebaby shirts on again, but some of them are just impractical for use as a nursing top.)

  13. This is the single greatest t-shirt refashion I have ever seen. (My apologies to all you ladies, including Cheri, who have done some AMAZING t-shirt embellishments and refashions.) I absolutely love this. Thanks to Kalleen and to Cheri for hosting it. I have no little girls to sew for, but I think I would like one for myself. :-)

  14. seriously blow my mind at what you come up with. Nice job. I am going to have to go digging in my box of knit shirts! :)

  15. Pure Genious! I love it!!!!

  16. Ok, that is just amazing. How darling!! How do I get one in my size? :o)

  17. This is adorable! Fantastic refashion.

  18. Too cute! I might make one for myself. Love the tutorial! Thanks!

  19. Adorable! I love the idea to use the top collar for a finished look on the pockets.

  20. Love the pleated collar band

  21. That is SO cute! I love the neckline! Thanks so much, I'll be linking in Monday's Daily DIY.

  22. This is super cute. I bet this new cardigan is all cozy!

    Just Better Together

  23. You are sooooooooo clever....thanks for sharing...I would love to give this a go!!

  24. This was featured today over at Today's Top Twenty! I'd love if you stopped by! :)


  25. So adorable! I have so many shirts to upcycle, so this is perfect. I linked up this post in my blog today!
    Check it out:

  26. I love tshirt recons and this one is out of this world. Thanks for sharing. :)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! If you are asking a question and you do NOT have your profile linked to your email address, I will respond in the comment section, so just come back to check it later. Thanks!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Related Posts with Thumbnails