Refashion / Sew / Upcycle

Pullover to Cardigan Refashion

I love this pullover’s bright colour and the merino wool fabric. Value village (VV) score for 8 bucks, with no holes, no stains, and most importantly coming from a rookie thrifter, NO MOTHBALL SMELL. On the same VV run when I got this sweater, I also managed to acquire a genuine leather skirt….and with this genuine leather skirt, I tainted the washing machine and a whole bunch of other clothes with mothball stench. Ugh! You’re probably wondering why I put leather in the washing machine in the first place. I thought I would “vintagize it”…rough it up a bit, but no, not even that was achieved. After running baking soda through the washer and then a couple cycles of vinegar after that, the washer was left open for a few days and was declared cured of its mothball status. My other clothes were hung for days. I haven’t put them through the wash again but I hope that the water won’t re-release hidden mothball scent!! The merino wool sweater was thankfully not affected by this whole shenanigan as I carefully hand washed it separately. And as for the leather skirt….it is in the garbage, sadly! There was no way that 50+ years of mothball stench would ever come out of that thing. I was going to use the fabric to make a bag or add to some refashions. Ahhhhh well…I’m sure there will be more thrifted leather to come. And so I’ve learned to carefully smell all thrift finds before purchasing.

I find that I get more use out of cardigans more than pull over sweaters. So, here goes the pullover sweater to cardi transformation…


ummmm what kind of face is that?!

Chopped it right down the middle. I would have gone asymmetrical, however I didn’t want to mess with the collar.


This fabric will not fray. Hooray!

I wanted to add something to the middle. Not a button placket, though. I looked through my fabric stash and found this fabric which picked up some of the blue in the sweater.


I cut two long pieces of fabric the same size. I knew I wanted to ruffle or pleat the fabric, so it had to be longer than the cardi but I wasn’t sure exactly how long. Ahhh well, I took a wild guess!!

I folded these pieces in half, right side to right side. Then stitched them down to make tubes. Matthias had a marvelous idea- forget the old safety pin method of pulling the fabric through…we used a small wooden dowel with the fabric taped at one end. It took about 5 seconds whereas the safety pin method takes at least 5 minutes!


you can’t see the dowel but it is in there and it is doing a fine job of expediting this process!

After struggling with ruffling (the thread kept breaking), I decided to do pleats instead. Pin pleat, pin pleat, repeat, repeat, repeat….and didn’t even think about allocating the material evenly until I got near the bottom and realized that WOW- this material was, by coincidence, the right length! Lucky.

Annnnd then sewed those pleats down:


At this point I tried it on and realized it needed some sort of closure at the top. My button hole foot was NOT playing nice. I did THREE perfect practice runs on scrap fabric and then when it came time to perform…look what happened! I have no idea what went wrong. But obviously something did!


uh oh!

Well it was definitely a deformed button hole, but button holes are covered by buttons…so it only needed to be functional (and thankfully it was). Next was hand sewing a vintage button of choice on (from nonna’s stash).


Thanks nonna for the great buttons!

And what would a refashion be without a bit of lace? I added some to the sleeves.

Annnd here’s the final product:


Not bad!


Love the gold button!


The lace is from a tank top I cut up for a previous refashion

I definitely think I’ll do this again to thrifted merino or cashmere pullovers! Of course, I will smell them before purchasing 😉

BEFORE                                                  AFTER



4 thoughts on “Pullover to Cardigan Refashion

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