How to Restyle a T-Shirt into a Ruffly Cardigancomments (51) February 18th, 2011
Vintage bed jackets are beautiful but harder and harder to find in thrift stores these days. Why not make your own bed jacket-inspired cardigan out of an old T-shirt? Restyling is so timely right now; you get a new, fun piece to wear, it doesn't cost anything, AND you're putting something to use that hasn't seen the light of day for ages. This sweet little number is the perfect cardi to throw on over a dress or tank when the weather warms up, which I'm told will happen again some day!
All you need is a T-shirt that approximately fits (a little big is OK), some scissors, thread, chalk or marking pen, and your sewing machine. Note: You may need a second tee if your shirt isn't very long to get enough fabric for the ruffles.
Here's what to do:
1. Cut your pieces. First, decide the length you want your cardigan to hit you at center back (remember that the ruffle will add a little bit of length, too). Mark a line straight across your shirt at this length. Now, before you cut, measure how much length you have left at the bottom, as this will become your ruffle. You'll need at least four equal strips of ruffle, so if you have anything less than 6 inches (which will yield four 1-1/2-inch strips) at the bottom, you might need a second shirt or some fabric scraps to make your ruffle. You can rip out the hem to give yourself a little extra length, or cut it off if you have enough. Now you can cut on the line, and cut the remainder into four even strips, anywhere from 1-1/2 inches to 3 inches wide, depending on how much you have and how wide you want your ruffle. You'll lose about 1/4 inch to seam allowance.
2. Reshape the body. Now you can refold the T-shirt so that it's creased at center front (CF, at left side in photos) and center back (CB, at right), and the shoulder seams (and side seams if you have them but many tees don't) are stacked.
Draw a curve at the bottom of CF so the bottom rounds gently into it (see photo).
Also curve CF into the neckline at the top.
Cut on these lines, cutting CF completely open and continuing all the way around the neckband.
3. Sew the ruffle. Take three of your ruffle strips and sew them together, end to end, so you have one long loop.
Designate one of the three seams as CB, and fold to find the opposite halfway point, then notch or mark it. This will also end up at CB, but one will be at the neckline and one at the bottom. Run a row of gathering stitches along one side of the ruffle loop, slightly less than 1/4 inch from the edge. With right sides together, pin the ruffle to the body, matching at CB neck and bottom. Pull the gathering threads, and evenly distribute the fullness as you pin the ruffle all the way around the circumference of the cardigan.
Sew at 1/4 inch. Press the seam allowance toward the body, and edgestitch from the right side close to the seam to keep the ruffle from flipping back.
4. Add ruffles to cuffs. Trim off (or rip out) the cuff hems on your tee. Check that the length of your remaining ruffle strip is at least three times the cuff circumference (so that when you cut it in half it will be 1-1/2 times as long as each cuff). If not, you may need to salvage some more scraps or cut your ruffle's width in half. Once you have a strip to use for each cuff, seam the short ends and proceed as with the body ruffle.
That was simple, right? And look how cute!
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery