Cozy Sweater to Chic Cardigan

By: Valeria Herrera

*All photos were taken by me

Spring is finally in the air! Say hello to cute cardigans and see you later to heavy winter sweaters. Cozy sweaters are my favorite clothing item when it comes to the winter season; the fun patterns and soft textures, I love it all. Unfortunately for me, each year when the cold weather comes back around, I cannot help myself but to purchase even more sweaters. I tend to overwear my new sweaters forget about the ones I have stored away in my closet. By the time spring is here, I have a closet full of sweaters that probably won’t be used in a while. So, for this week’s project, I thought it would be a great to recycle one of my sweaters that has been stored away in my closet for a long time and redesign it to be more appropriate for the spring weather.

I DIY’d my gray turtleneck sweater and reconstructed it into a shoulder cut-out cardigan, which has recently been a big trend. I loved the results of this project and how easy it was to do. Below I’ll show you step by step on how you can create this look yourself!


*This project requires beginner to intermediate sewing skills. I will explain what type of stitching I used for each section. They are all pretty easy to do, since I consider myself a beginner sewer.  If you are not skilled sewer, you can use alternative options to create the look such as fabric glue or iron-on adhesive hem tape.

* Also, feel free to modify this DIY project to your type of sweater. Adapt the techniques I used to recreate this look for your garment. Along the way, I will state which steps are optional if you have a turtleneck sweater.

Here is what you will need…

  • Sweater
  • Sewing needles
  • Thread that matches fabric and bias tape
  • Bias tape (single folded)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Color pencil or fabric marker
  • Pins

Helpful Tools…


  • Flat Iron & measuring tape
  • Seam ripper (not shown on image above)

Step One:

 First, Measure at the edge of the shoulder 2 inches away from the neckline. Use a white color pencil to mark each point. Next, measure 5 inches from your first mark. Then, at the middle point between the first two marks, measure 2 inches away and mark your final point. Once, you are done marking each point, create half a circle. I suggest using a circular object to make a perfect half circle. Repeat this step on the other sleeve as well.

Now that you have drawn the half circles on each shoulder of the sweater, make sure they accurately positioned and equal level on each side. Use your fabric scissors to cut out the shape and create the cut-out shoulder. Fold the sweater in half and use the first cut out as a guide to help you cut the second shape, so that they are equal in size.

Step Two:

Next, measure the cut out hole with your bias tape. Cut the bias tape to fit the size of the cut-out. It is very important you leave a little bit of excess tape on the ends to so that they overlap each other at their meeting point. This will create a cleaner look. You will notice that the single folded bias tape has two inward folds. Unfold one side of the folds and align it to the edge of the cutout hole on the “right side” of the fabric. The right side is the outside of the sweater; the part you can visibly see. Fold the excess tape on the ends to create a clean edge and pin each section into place. Once everything is pinned you can begin to sew. On this side, you can do a running stitch to sew the pieces together. Make sure you sew the ends in place. When you get to the last end of the tape, overlap it over the other end. * Sew using the matching color of the bias tape.

When you are done sewing the “right side,” flip it inside out to the wrong side. The wrong side is the inside of the sweater. Taking the other fold of the bias tape (don’t unfold this part), pull it and fold it over the visible stitches of the fabric. Pin it into place if it helps. Repeat the same step as before by folding the edges and sewing into place. This time you will sew the bias onto the sweater fabric by doing an overcast stitch. Put the needle through a small piece of fabric underneath the bias tape and then pull it through the bias tape to gather the pieces together.Do not pull too tight on the threads because it will make small wrinkle. Do this all the way around the cut-out hole, overlaping the ends and repeat on the other sleeve.

Optional Step:

If you are redoing a turtleneck sweater like me, this step will create a new neck collar more appropriate for the design. Measure 3 inches away from the neckline at the center and edges of the collar. Mark each point and create a line to make a new neckline. Cut the excess fabric and fold over to make sure you cut it evenly. Save the extra fabric for an additional optional step later on.

Step Three:

Measuring from each side of the sweater, mark the center point of each section. It is important to measure to get the precise center of the sweater. Draw a line connecting each point together. Using your drawn line as a guide, cut the middle of the sweater (only the front side, be careful not to cut the backside).

Step Four:

Similar to step two, you will sew on bias tape on each flap of the new cardigan to create a hem. Measure the amount of bias tape needed for the new hem and leave excess tape on the ends. Unfold one side of the folded bias tape bias tape, align it to the edge of the”right side” fabric and make sure to fold the excess tape to create a polished end. Pin everything into place and do a running stitch to attach the two pieces together. Make sure not to pull too tight on the thread because it will create a wrinkle effect on the hem.

Taking the other side of the folded bias tape, pull it and fold it over the visible stitches on the “wrong side” of the fabric. You can iron the bias to help keep it in place or pin it in place. Do an overcast stitch to create the hem by putting the needle into a small piece of the fabric that is under the bias tape and then pull it through the fold of the bias tape. Make sure to sew the folded ends for a neat look. Be careful not go through the other side of the hem. Taking your time is the key.

Then, I created a new hem for my collar. If you also need to create new hem, make sure to use thread that matches your fabric color since these stitches will be visible.  Stretch the collar out to make a small hem fold. I used basic small running stitches to create the hem and it seemed to do the job. Fold the collar back into place once you are done.

Optional Step:

Using the fabric that remained from cutting my turtleneck , I decided to create pockets for my cardigan. You can also recreate this by using any fabric you may have. Cut 2 rectangles large enough to create pockets. Like steps two and four, I used the same bias tape to make a hem for my pockets. I also used running stitch on the “right side” and overcast stitch on the “wrong side.”

  Next, fold the sides, excpet the hemed section, about 1/2 cm and use a flat iron in low heat to keep into place. Cut the excess fabric at the corners to reduce the bulk.

  Pin into place at the lower center of the flap of the cardigan. For this you will need to use blind hem stitch. This technique requires you to stitch through the folded pocket fabric. Then, pick up only one or two threads of the main fabric of the fabric underneath the pocket, so it is not visible, and pull through. Repeat all the way through, excluding the top part of the pocket. Repeat on the other pocket. Reinforce the stitching at the ends and corners of the pocket. Avoid tightening the thread to create a nice surface.


You are finally finished with your chic cardigan. It might seem like many steps, but trust me it was well worth it. I am so happy with my one of a kind design and the best part was recycling a sweater I probably would have normally ignored.

It is amazing what we can do when we use our creativity and imagination. Hope you enjoyed this week’s DIY project and subscribe to see what we will be doing next time!


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