refashion: grandpa sweater to lace trimmed cardigan

So, I have to admit I’m not sure whether this was my most successful refashion ever – I’m still a little iffy on the final result. I think it’s an improvement on where it started, but I’m not sure if I love it. But I’ll tell you what I did anyway ­čÖé

I started with the grandpa-ish sweater pictured above. It was too big and too long, but only cost a few dollars at the thrift store, so (predictably) I bought it with plans to take it in and maybe hem it up a bit. But when I started looking at it more closely, I realized it was going to be a pain to shorten since the pockets were sewn right into the hem band at the bottom. So I got a little creative.

I started by cutting off the sleeves, then I unpicked the ribbing around the back of the neck. This allowed me to take length off the shirt not from the bottom, but from the top. I sewed new shoulder seams about four inches lower than the old ones (which meant I had to lower the neck/shoulder line in back as you can see in the photo below). Once I had new shoulder seams sewn, I sewed the neckline ribbing back on, taking length out of that as well.

You can see below what it looked like once I had reattached the neckline ribbing. Next I cut out lower armholes since they were now too short, and took in the sides pretty substantially.

This is what each sleeve looked like after I cut them off. I cut some of the height off the top curve of the sleeve, then cut a short cap sleeve, and below that cut a band to hem each sleeve with.

I sew the new cap sleees back into the cardigan, then hemmed them by attaching a band as shown below.

Now I had a short sleeved cardi that fit much better, but was still a little boring. So I found some creamy white trim ($3 at Walmart) and stitched it on up past the buttonholes, around the back neckline, and back down past the buttons. I used a zig zag stitch to add the trim.

When I tried it on and looked in the mirror I thought I liked it pretty well, but when I looked through the pictures of me wearing it I decided I’m not so sure.

But at least it doesn’t look like it belongs to my grandpa now, right?

Linked up at:

Ladybug Blessings Tip Junkie Blackberry Vine Sugarbee Crafts Hope Studios The Inspiration Board Not Just a Housewife Momnivores Dilemma Yesterday on Tuesday Fireflies and Jellybeans Chic on a Shoestring Decorating 504 Main At The Picket Fence It’s a Hodgepodge Life The Shabby Nest


  1. 1

    Allie (as in your sister in law) says

    I found your blog…and while I am completely overwhelmed by your posts and in awe of your creativity…I decided to try your homemade jam thing out and you are right….EASY! I was so anxious at first but it was nothing at all! But I will leave all the cute re-sew stuff to you!
    I think you need to do a post on your miracle cleaner…our bottle is labeled Autumn’s Magic Cleaner.

  2. 2

    Anita says

    You did a super job, amazing re-do! Looks nothing like a grandpa now! The fit it great, but the lace trim is my favorite!

  3. 3

    Abby k says

    Autumn, I LOVE your blog! I have bookmarked pretty much every project you have here to attempt! I love how creatively you have refashioned so many pieces and how you have shared so many useful tips! Can you please source/share your pattern for the red skirt you are wearing in this post?!? I absolutely love it and think it’d be so cute and breezy to make for my daughters for summer! Did you make it?!? Thank you so much! I can’t wait to see what you create next!!

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