What are we going to make out of two boring shirts today?
This question is second to none only behind "what weird thing can we hoop today" and "I wonder if you can thread this thing while it's running." The answer to the second one is no, by the way, regardless of how much coffee you've had.
"Boring" might be a bit of a harsh word to describe these shirts, they do have something quite valuable. Something we're going to take advantage of today... sleeves! You see, we had fun making a drape vest from scratch earlier this year, but the key factor in making that a simple tutorial was the whole vests-don't-have-sleeves thing. Sleeves are finicky and fickle, but sadly the cold weather has come and light vests without sleeves just don't cut it. Unless you're one of those midwesterners in denial, out for a walk in a winter parka and shorts. You know who you are.
So, we're going to use the sleeves from one of these shirts, but upcycle them into a much more awesome creation... a winged drape cardigan.
*NOTE* - This tutorial uses machine embroidery to add the wing decoration to the shirt. This is entirely optional, you could just make a plain drape cardigan. But we all know machine embroidery makes it cooler ;)
Step 1: The materials
So, to make your long sleeve cardigan, you'll need:
- Two shirts, at least one with long sleeves. The one with sleeves should be a size that fits your arms comfortably. The two can be matching, but it doesn't really matter. The whole color blocking thing is in this year, so you could probably get away with it.
- Light no-show mesh cutaway stabilizer, best for garments*
- Scissors and pins
- A flippin' awesome embroidery design, like these wings, for the back. Keep it light unless you're making this out of a heavy sweater or something similar*
Step 2: Prepping the first shirt
Step 3: Trimming the collar
To make your shirt ready for that, we're going to need to drop the neckline. Draw an invisible line from the underarm of your shirt to the center. This is how far your neckline needs to go down. Mark a gentle curve upwards to meet the shoulder neckline, and cut that excess off, like shown.
Step 4: Prepping the second shirt
Next, cut up both sides of your shirt, along the seams. You should now have two rectangles of fabric. These are going to be the extensions we'll add to make our cardigan drape.
Step 5: Cutting & pinning
To be honest, the raw handmade look is so in these days you'd pay a mint to get that look on a store bought item. So, instead of just attaching this piece in one large chunk, I'm going to do it in cascading pieces with raw open edge seams. If you want this look, snip off about 1/3 of your shirt rectangle off.
On the one side of your cardigan, take the larger chunk of fabric you just cut (the 2/3 size) and pin it in place along the raw edge left from cutting it up the middle. I let one piece overlap the other by about 1/4" inch.
Starting from the bottom, pin it in place carefully, because knit sometimes gets it in its head to make a break for it while you're working. That's not the kind of workplace we condone around here, so pins it is.
Step 6: Trim the excess
Step 7: Sewing
Once that seam is done, you can attach that last little 1/3 bit you snipped off. Yes, I realize by doing that we added an extra step. Well, fashion is pain, people. And by pain I mean a minor 3 minute inconvenience in the name of style.
Step 8: Finishing the edge
Here's one of our cardigan edges all finished. But wait, you're not done yet!
Unless you're into really high end fashion, it's best not to toy with the eccentricities of asymmetrical cardigans. Repeat your steps on the other side.
Step 9: Embroidery machines are awesome...
Once your wings are done, carefully trim away the excess stabilizer on the back.
Step 10: Your finished cardigan!
It's fab and flowy and it is such a great place to showcase those wings. It's also a great way to rock a look that is flattering to your curves and killer on style. Throw it over a tee or tank for a look so effortlessly airy, you could just float away.
P.S. - Like my tutorials? Check out lots more free tutorials on our website!