Got an old sweater that doesn’t fit you anymore? Instead of tossing it out, up-cycle it into a new sweater vest for a little tyke. Dana over at Made created this awesome tutorial with incredible images on how to do just this.
- Man’s or Woman’s Sweater
- 1/4 yard knit ribbing (Ribbing is simply knit fabric with ribs in it. You can find it in most fabric stores, sold on bolts.)
Dana used a sweater vest her son already owned as a guideline. If you don’t have a sweater vest, use one of your son’s shirts as your guide. If there’s a nice waistband on the sweater, you’ll want to use that for your vest. So lay the vest on the bottom.
Cut out a front & back, similar to the store-bought vest and add an extra 1/2 inch at the shoulders and the side seams, where the vest will be sewn together.You do NOT need to add extra on the arm holes or the neckline. These will be sandwiched in with binding.
Measure around all four arm holes, add up the total of these measurements and cut a strip of ribbing that entire length, and about 2-3 inches wide (depending on how wide you want your binding to be.) Iron the entire strip in half. Then open it back up and iron over each side about 1/4 inch-1/2 inch down. When you’re done it should look like this.
Then cut that strip into 4 pieces so you have a binding for each shoulder piece. Take each binding strip and sandwich each arm hole inside of the binding.Â Pin the binding down.
Then sew down each binding, close to the edge or about 1/4 inch from the edge of the binding. When you’re done it should look like the photo on the right.
With the right sides of the vest together, pin the front and back together at the shoulders. It’s very important that you match up the yellow binding pieces as best as you can at the shoulder so it looks like one continuous binding. Then sew the shoulders together and serge off the seams.
Your vest should look like this.
Now, onto the neck binding. With the same method used for the armhole binding, measure around your entire neck (front & back) and add an extra inch for the seam. Cut a long strip of ribbing that length of your entire neck and about 2-3 inches wide (however wide you made the arm hole bindings). Iron everything, using the same method as you did for the arms.
Now to make the “V”. Cut the binding into two pieces. Then, place your bindings on the neck, right where it will lay and fold the end of the binding over so that it makes a straight line, running right into the “V” of your neck. And cut along that straight line, like this.
Make sure you do that for the binding on both sides. When you unfold the binding pieces. With the right sides together, sew the two binding pieces together.
Turn everything right-side out (make sure you push those little angled pieces out. And when you fold everything back over it should look like this.
Start by Sandwiching the “V” of the vest right inside the “V” of the binding and pin it down. Then, move on and sandwich the rest of the binding around the neck and pin down.
When you get to the back of the vest lay one binding over the other so you can get an exact measurement of where it should close. We don’t want the binding to be too loose, or it will gather up. So…Cut it where the bindings overlap a 1/2 inch.
Then, unfold those two binding pieces together and with the right sides together, sew the two binding pieces together. Fold them back up, sandwich and pin the back of the binding to the vest, and add a label if you’d like. Almost done here! Similar to how you sewed the sleeve bindings above, sew the neck binding on close to the edge or about 1/4 inch from the edge of the binding.
Final step! With the right sides for the vest together, pin down both sides of the vest (and add a tag if you like). It’s very important that you match up the yellow binding pieces as best as you can at armhole so that it looks like one continuous binding.
Sew down each side, serge off the seams (if you don’t have a serger, zigzag or leave them raw). And….You’re done!
Thanks Dana! Your little man is the cutest in this recycled man’s sweater!
I love this post – I want to make one right now for Little Lukas! Now I just need to decide what sweater I will cut up of Todd’s before he gets home. And I am going to need a sewing machine.
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There are a variety of similar garments that can be referred to as vests, but may go by other names in different regions. But is fitted from a little boy to a grown man.
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