It's time for that million dollar question...

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

Making your cardigan seriously couldn't be easier. By utilizing sleeve theft of a perfectly long sleeved garment, all that's left is to turn it into a draping embroidered masterpiece. If you can cut and sew things in a straight line, you're set. If you can't, you should really put that glass of wine down and come back to this later.

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*
*items marked with a star are for machine embroidery users only
I absolutely love these light weight sweaters. I have several, now I can make my own.
Very nice and simple! I'll keep this in mind for my next project.
This would be a cool project with old sweaters.

About This Instructable


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Bio: Art Director and Evil Genius of Urban Threads, an alternative machine and hand embroidery site. Every week I cuss and swear in my studio and ... More »
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