Saturday, May 28, 2011

Upcycled, embroidered cardigan sweater

I've had this Ann Taylor LOFT 3/4-sleeve cotton cardigan for at least eight years. It's really nothing special, but it just seems to go with everything, so I've gotten a lot of use out of it. Here's a shot of it out on the town one night on vacation back in 2006:

You can imagine my disappointment when it recently finally started to show its age...

...and even began unraveling a bit on the back:

But I'm not ready to part with this old girl, so I decided that with a little repair-work, and some pretty embroidery, I could breathe new life into it.

For a while I was stuck trying to figure out what to embroider, and that's when Amy over at Early Bird Special posted the Lovely Lotus Free Embroidery Pattern!

This is exactly what I was waiting for! 

My first step was to print out the lotus flower pattern, which I then traced onto some Sulky Solvy water soluble stabilizer. (I seriously love working with that stuff; you can read one of my other posts about it here.)

Here's how it looked when the stabilizer was pinned onto the sweater:

And then I basted the stabilizer on, and I stitched! The lotus flower looked like this before I washed the stabilizer away:

(It might not be apparent in these photos, but I used some metallic DMC thread on the middle petal of the lotus flower. DMC 3849, Light Effects Aquamarine Blue, to be exact. It's such a pretty look, but damn! Could metallic floss be any more annoying to work with?)

 ANYways, here's how it came out on the front of the cardigan:

I really liked the little swirly parts of the pattern too, but I decided to stitch them on the sleeves:

And remember that ratty part on the back of the sweater? I did a little pseudo-darning to stabilize the holey sections (pseudo-darning because I have no idea how to darn properly). After that, I sewed some ribbon along the edge that matched the embroidery (this might be my favorite part):

And here's the final product:

Voila! Maybe I'll be able to squeeze another eight years out of it now!

Next up: Lisa's embroidered mother's day tea towel!


  1. Wow, it's SO pretty! I'd love to post a picture of your pretty stitching, if that's ok with you. By the way, that variegated blue is one of my favorite colors! And yes, metallic floss is a monster. Thank you for sharing this with me! Looking forward to more beautiful creations from you. :)

  2. Oh, how sweet! Yes, I'd be flattered if you'd post a picture. Thanks again for the fabulous pattern!

  3. That's so gorgeous - thanks for sharing! I feel all inspired to go and hunt down a pre-loved cardi now...!

  4. What lovely embroidery and what a great way to reinvigorate your sweater!