The key to a good upcycle in my mind is being able to use a lot of the existing structure of the original item such as buttons, hems etc… otherwise it’s really just sewing a new item with previously used fabric. I have had this old cardigan hanging in my closet for years. I think I bought it at Forever 21 once upon a time, wore it to death for a season, and then felt juvenile wearing it so it never left the hanger.
My son has been in desperate need of sweaters so I thought that this would be a good excuse to upcycle (or should it be called downcycle if you make a smaller version of something) it into a cardi for my little guy. The key was to leave all of the hard stuff in tact like buttonholes, buttons, hem, and neckline. I used a sweater that fit him to get the basic idea of sizing of each piece. Once I figured out how to cut it out it took a minimal amount of time to put it all back together.
Here is a pic of the pieces once I cut them all:
As far as sewing it up here are the instructions (sorry I didn’t take pictures, but I think it’s simple enough that you probably don’t need them):
1- Sew fronts to back at shoulder seam.
2- Open front and back pieces flat and sew on the sleeves.
3- Starting at the wrist, sew up sides from wrist to underarm to hem (without waistband).
4- Fold back about 1/2 inch on both front ends of waistband. Keeping them folded, attach the top of the waistband to the bottom of the main cardigan.
5- Now sew the front edges of the waistband to the edge of the buttonband.
6- Turn up and hem the buttonband to be flush with the waistband.
And here is the end result. A very quick and satisfying project.