Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hand Sewing FTW

So, through some strange crafty spirit in the ether, having my sewing machine on its way, and then on my living room floor - see previous post - inspired me to alter a cardigan I currently own.  Alter by hand.  That's right, having a machine that will be officially mine in approximately two weeks inspired me to sew something by hand.  That I could have done at any time, having needles and thread in my craft supplies already.

So, since I did not think to take a before picture, imagine a black cardigan.  The length hits me about middle of the hip.  The width is boxy and definitely too big.  The sleeves come down over my hand unless I push the cuff up to my wrist.  Then the sleeves slack and hang loose in gathers along my arms.  Altogether it hangs on me like I'm a clothes hanger.  It has one redeeming quality - warmth.  My office can get chilly, so a cardigan that is nice and warm is essential.

Not having any kind of guide to taking in the sides and such, I decided to just wing it instead of searching one up.  The power of impetuousness and impatient.  I wanted to work on the cardigan now.  So I put the cardigan on inside out and felt along my sides to get a sense of how much extra fabric there was.  Enter pins to hold one side down and a tape measure to duplicate the pinning on the opposite side.  Some trying on and off to evolve a workable line that would look okay without pulling away too much on the sides (hopefully - cardigan doesn't have to button, those buttons are hard to fasten, but I'd like it to look like it could).

Well, seeing this tutorial on finishing the cut edges of a knit garment answered my only remaining question.  I adapted it for the inside side seams by folding over some ribbon I had lying around over top of the seam and sewing through it like so:

For the bottom seam I just folded the ribbing on the bottom up and sewed through it in two rows with small stitches.  I used the ribbing now on the inside as a guide for spacing the stitches evenly.  Below is the bottom seam, no pic of the sleeve, sorry.  Here you can see both the underside and the outside.  I like to think the stitching shows up as a subtle detail on the outside.

So without further ado, here is the finished product.  Kindof underwhelming - plain black cardigan - but a nice staple for my office that will keep me warm and work as a replacement for a suit jacket.  Sleeves are the right length and the bottom edge hits me at the waist.  And I look like a person wearing a cardi instead of a hanger.  Bonus.


  1. Simple refashions can be some of the best. After all the idea of refashioning is to take something unwearable and make it wearable. Your end result looks great and like you said will serve you well. I'd say this is a win for you!