...because sometimes all you need is a little inspiration...

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Anthro-Look-Alike Cardigan Tutorial

Do you read {The Chloe Conspiracy}? I totally love her blog!! I LOVE A LOT of the outfits she puts together, so much so that I often look at some of them for inspiration for what to wear in the morning. It's fun. Anyway... I recently spied this little number:And totally fell in love with her cardigan. From her trusty blog, I found out that it's this Swift Current Cardigan from {Anthropology}:
So cute, but not quite cute enough that I'd be willing to spend almost a hundred dollars on it!! (I probably wouldn't spend that much on any piece of clothing...) Maybe a wedding dress...haha just kidding. But seriously, I have a pretty tight budget for my wardrobe, so I try to make that dollar stretch.
So, I thought...I know how to do ruffles on a sewing machine...and I have a white cardigan...I'm totally going to make that. So without further ado, here is my Anthropology copy cat.
Ruffle Cardigan Tutorial
Materials:
cardigan
knit fabric to match - I got a yard
stretch sewing needles for your sewing machine
thread to match
Step 1: Wash the fabric and the cardigan if it's new. You always wash fabric before sewing with it!!
Step 2: Knit fabrics come in a tube...that's how they are made. You'll find them just like any other fabric - in the store, wrapped around those cardboard thingys, but once you unwrap it from the cardboard, you'll notice that instead of being a piece of fabric folded in half, it's actually a tube of fabric. The great thing about knit is that it doesn't run or "shed" so you don't have to worry about the raw edges and how they're going to hold up through washing and wearing. But, I wanted the edges to be as clean as possible so they'd look nice and neat while I wore them. So, I found a two ribs in the knit tube and cut inbetweeen those two ribs the whole way down. (so I was basically cutting the tube apart so it became a rectangle.) Cutting between the ribs made it so my edges are really clean. So, after cutting the tube open, just continue to find two ribs and cut a bunch of strips. Mine were 2 3/4" wide, but you could do whatever. I wasn't sure how many I'd need, because I wasn't sure how gathered I wanted it to be, so I just cut a bunch.
Step 3: It's important to use a stretch sewing needle on your sewing machine because the tips of stretch needles are rounded to go inbetween knit fibers, ensuring that the fibers aren't sliced in half by the needle. If you use a regular needle, you might slice a fiber which means your knit fabric would get a hole in it. Step 4: SO, using a stretch needle, sew the strips together, end to end. I did the smallest seam allowance I possibly could because I knew the seams would show at various places on the front of my cardigan and I didn't want there to be huge seams hanging out.
Step 5: To sew ruffles into your strips of fabric, set the stitch length to a basting stitch aka a really long stitch - I think mine was somewhere between 3 and 4. Then sew along one edge of the strips. I gave mine a 1/2" seam allowance. Leave the strings on either end kind of long. Once you've sewn the edge, pull just one of the strings a little. This will cause the fabric to gather, giving you ruffles. You just gently move the ruffles along, careful not to break the thread, until the whole strip is ruffled. (If you do break the thread, as I almost always do, you can sew another basting stitch again in that area and just gather that small area by itself.)
Step 6: Once you've got your long strip of ruffles, you just pin it to the front of the cardigan. Give yourself an inch or two that you can flip under the bottom edge of the front of the cardigan. It's like you're sandwiching the bottom edge of the cardigan with this ruffled edge. Pinning it was probably the hardest part of the whole project. It took a lot of pinning and trying it on and looking at the one I was trying to copy to get it right. I ended up pinning it way lower on the back of the neck than the original neck line on my cardigan so the ruffles wouldn't go up my neck as a collar when I was wearing it. It took a while to get it right...
Step 7: Once I had it just perfect, I switched my machine back to it's normal stitch length - cause this will be permanent. Then, just sew it on making sure you're sewing the ends of the ruffle strips to the underside of the cardigan as you're sewing the ruffles to the front side of the cardigan.I sewed right on top of the basting stitch so I still had that 1/2" seam allowance. Be careful not to stretch the knit while you're sewing or you'll end up with a REALLY LONG front of your cardigan.
Step 8: Using scissors, cut the original cardigan back to about 1" from the seam you just sewed. This will make it so the original cardigan edges won't peak out underneath the new ruffle layer.
Step 9: I didn't get any pictures of the cardigan after sewing on the ruffles, but I felt like they stuck out too much and didn't lay flat against my chest like I pictured they would. I tried ironing it, but that didn't do the trick. Also, like they look in step 5, the ruffles just spread out. So, on the lower front of the cardigan, the ruffles seemed to drag the cardigan down and they fell toward the floor instead of sticking straight to the center like the Anthro one does. So, I spent a few hours while my son was napping and stitched the ruffles together with a needle and thread. The picture above is a cross section of the ruffles, trying to show you how I sewed the ruffles to each other. I just sewed layers onto layers making sure not to let the stitches show on the front. It's hard to explain, but if you just play with a needle and thread, I'm sure you could do it, too. And you can always take something out really easily if you don't like the way it looks. :) This took a while. I just kept putting it on and seeing where it hung funny, and then sewing some together so it wouldn't hang down anymore.
The result is adorable!! And my sister says it looks just like the one from Anthropology. :) I love wearing it!!

17 comments:

The How-To Gal said...

This is gorgeous. I love it! Totally going to give it a try!

Amy said...

This is such a cute cardigan!!! Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
--Amy
www.thebutcherthebakerthecraftmaker.blogspot.com

Mary Ellen said...

I love this!! I am going to have to see about finding the knit in a tube- I am not sure I have seen this before- Do you buy it at a specialty store?

bee blessed
mary

The six of us! said...

Way cute!!! I was going to get rid of one of my cardigans, I think I'll pull it back in and give it new life! Thanks for the tutorial!!!

Julia said...

ooh so cute! i've totally been playing with ruffles and refashioning caridigans and tanks for the past couple of months (and straight up sewing clothes, too!) and i love this cardigan! i'm totally going to make this! i get what you're saying about stitching the ruffles to each other or they hang down - i bet that was annoying!... but worth it! great end result!

Jana said...

Beautiful job and great tutorial....I think I'll try one in black :)
Jana

Emily said...

Absolutely gorgeous! :) I've also never seen the knit in a tube(?) but I'm a very novice sewer so maybe I'll have to look again at the store.

Meredith said...

So I just went thru my closet and decided I didn't need TWO white cardigans...um, yes I do...so I can do this to one of them!!!!

Jessica at FeistyFinch said...

As soon as I saw this, I knew the perfect cardigan that I was going to try this with! I was so excited about it I did it tonight!! Thanks for this great tutorial :) My cardigan turned out really cute and it was so easy!

pleated poppy said...

i have to make this! i even have a white cardi waiting for something just like this! i want to see a pic of it on!

Ben and Dena said...

Brittany! I jusy found your blog on Ucreate! How are you? Totally adorable cardigan! I'm totally making one!

Modest Fashion Sense said...

Yay!! Love Anthro! And this looks great :)

Mrs. K said...

Rib knit is the kind in a tube other knits can be in a tube or flat. Rub knit is the stuff used on cuffs and collars

Amy C said...

VERY Cute!! It looks pretty simple to make as well! Found you from Pinterest, I can't wait to look around.
Amy @ The Happy Scraps

The McGraws said...

Love this and hope to try this. I think the stiffer ruffles of the Anthropologie cardi are likely due to stabilizer fused to the knit. If I get to this, I hope to test that theory. Thanks for a great refashion!

Jennifer said...

I've included your awesome tutorial on my blog! www.love-jujubeancreations.blogspot.com

Lori Roebuck said...

I'm doing that to my white sweater it has a coffee stain near a button.

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