I keep a stack of t-shirts in my sewing room in various colors around my girls’ sizes. I stock up when they are on sale for a couple bucks—usually at the end of the season. This way I always have one on hand to embroider for them or for a birthday party they’re attending. Well, I just looked through my stack and noticed several size 7/8. That is too small for my girls now so I thought I’d turn some into cardigans for them. You don’t have to button up cardigans so it’s ok if they’re too tight. The undershirt does it’s job. Plus, layered clothes are so fun for girls. I plan on making me some as well. I’m all about layers too.
Find the center of your shirt by finding the center of the neckline and the center of the hem, draw a line with tailor's chalk. Cut the shirt open along this line. This shirt fulfilled it’s plain ol’ WalMart t-shirt destiny and is ready to be made into a cardigan.
Make some binding. Cut a 2” wide strip of fabric (enough to bind both sides of your shirt). Iron each side in half, then fold in half again and iron. Make sure the fabric is cut perpendicular to the grainline—you want the binding to stretch.
“Sandwich” the front of the t-shirt between the binding as seen below. Secure with pins. When you get to the bottom, cut off with an excess of 1”. Fold those raw edges of binding up and then pin in place.
Do this for both sides. Be careful not to stretch your t-shirt. I did this a little bit and now one side is longer than the other. But who will notice on my 8 year old daughter who can’t sit still?
Practice on a scrap of binding to make sure you like the width of your chosen stitch. Alter your stitch as necessary so that it will look good on your 1/2” binding.
Begin by stitching on a scrap of fabric or stabilizer and slowly easing onto your neckline. This will prevent the sewing machine from jamming on the thick top edge of your fabric. Even on fancy machines like mine this will happen. I used my open embroidery foot so that I could see the stitching best.
Remove the pins as you sew. Clip off the scrap of fabric once you are done.
Decide where you want your buttonholes. Mark with pins. Remember that women’s buttonholes go on the right side of the body.
Determine the length of your buttonholes, either by hand or have your ultra smart machine do it by holding up your button to the screen so that you can measure the length you’ll need your buttonholes.
Sew your buttonholes, then sew your buttons on the other side by hand or by machine.
Isn’t it cute? Not bad for 30 minutes of work. Well, 30 minutes if you have an automatic button-holer on your machine. It will take a little longer it you need to figure out the buttonholes on your own. Google “how to sew buttonholes” as I am too lazy to teach you that.