closeup of refashioned sweater

Refashioned sweater shrug tutorial

pinning sueded knit binding to sweater in refashioned sweater shrug tutorial

Flip your sweater to the wrong side. Match the bottom edge of the wrong side of the sweater to the right side of the binding. Start pinning a couple inches from one of the side seams. Let the end of the binding go past the side seam by about 3/8″. This will help us later when we seam the ends of the binding together.

pinning sueded knit binding to sweater in refashioned sweater shrug tutorial

Keep pinning around the bottom, up the front edge, around the neckline, and back down the second edge. As you pin the binding, stretch the binding only just slightly. Don’t stretch the sweater unless you dig that warped sweater look.

Finish pinning at the side seam where you started. If you have extra fabric, cut it off so there’s 3/8″ past the side seam.

Sewing the binding

sewing edge of binding on sueded knit

Sew the short ends of the binding together with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Next, sew the binding all the way around the sweater with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

folding edge of suede knit binding

If you’re using sueded knit, it is not going to press worth beans. No worries. We’ll get through it. If you are using a rib knit, fold and press the raw edge of the knit towards the right side.

Finishing the binding

Turn the sweater back to the right side. Now flip your folded binding so that it covers the stitching line on the sweater. This will wrap edges.

where to sew binding in refashioned sweater shrug tutorial

If you’re a fan of those binding clips that quilters use, this would be the place to use them. Your goal is to keep the binding width as consistent as you can as you flip it to the right side.

Working from the right side, stitch down the binding close to the folded edge. If you don’t have those clips, use your fingers to fold a few inches, and stitch. Stop, fold a few more inches and keep going all the way around the sweater. Do not pin the suede because it can damage the fabric!

Adding a button and loop

Cut a piece of 3″ from the extra binding. If you didn’t have extra binding, cut a 2″x3″ piece of the binding fabric.

Fold it in half lengthwise and stitch down the side with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Use your loop turner to turn it inside out.

Bring the raw ends of the loop next to each other to make a loop shape. Place the loop under the right side of the right front edge at the top of the center front portion you cut away. Stitch the loop in place on the edge of the binding. Also stitch along the line you topstitched earlier on the binding to make the loop extra secure.

Sew on a decorative button on the left front. You might want to slip it into the loop to double check the placement.

At this point, you could call it a day with your refashioned sweater. But let’s jazz it up a little bit more with that leftover fabric.

Embellish your refashioned sweater with some easy embroidered circles

Cut circles from the leftover sweater knit. They don’t have to be perfect!

Pin the circles on one shoulder in a way that looks good to you. I’m pinning mine on my right shoulder since my violin playing involves my left, but either is good.

closeup of refashioned sweater

To finish up, thread some embroidery floss through an embroidery needle and secure the circles with a big X in the middle of each circle. I knotted my thread at the beginning and finish of each X. That’s probably overkill, but I personally like knots vs. big stitches of thread on the wrong side.

refashioned sweater shrug tutorial finished shrug

And that’s it! You’ve got a quick easy bolero and you gave some new life to an old cast off sweater. Wear it out!

6 thoughts on “Refashioned sweater shrug tutorial”

  1. Elizabeth you saved me from throwing out a sweater that I made from knit scarves I had purchased at Winners years ago at a Jan sale clearout. I had used the Jalie pattern Shrug sweater but after sewing on the band it just didn’t hang right – the fabric didn’t work well with the length of the sweater too and there were other problems besides 🙂 Your tutorial inspired me to get it back on the table again – cut it down to bolero length, remove the band and make it into a knit binding as you’ve shown here and I love it. It’s such a beautiful, soft double 100% cotton knit, it pained me to give up on it. You saved the day! I like the binding finish much better than a band and I think I’m going to use this technique whenever I have a sweater that needs finishing. THank you! Your bolero is gorgeous and what a great idea! So often I’ve seen beautiful sweaters in the Thrift shops that someone has mistakenly washed and shrunk 🙂

    1. Yay! I’m so glad you’ll be able to save it Kathleen. It’s so awful when those fabrics we love don’t work into the garments we exactly are hoping for. I’m going to have to add shrunken sweaters to my regular list of things I look for for refashioning!

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