Backwards & Buttoned

I have a slight love-hate relationship with cardigans. You see, I tend to buy a lot of them, and then I tend to feel self-conscious about becoming “that girl who always wears cardigans,” and that’s definitely not me. Despite my adored collection of bright and contemporary sweaters, I often associate cardigans with a traditional, slightly conservative style that belongs on someone with a preppy nickname who likes telling everyone else what rules they need to be following. I’m no rebel, but I still don’t want to be that girl, and thus I spend more time than necessary considering the correct ratio of cardigan days to non-cardigan days. Given this concern, I was excited to see this little cardigan makeover at Anthropologie. It looks like a pullover! And pullovers don’t suggest any sort of obsessive rule-following or anything! At this point you’re probably wondering why I don’t just wear more pullovers, and I have preempted your confusion.

1. Cardigans have buttons, and buttons allow for flexibility in fit where pullovers do not–too tight across the chest or hips? Undo a couple buttons. This means it’s easier to find a cardigan that fits perfectly.
2. This also means cardigans are more comfortable than pullovers.
3. This also means cardigans can be left unbuttoned when the weather is warm, while pullovers have to be stowed for next year.

See how important buttons are? Since it was clearly the only logical option, I bought the sweater and it was even better than I had imagined (mostly because no one, not even neurotic me, spends time thinking about how wonderful it would be if only their cardigan looked more like a pullover). That’s when I knew I needed another backwards cardigan, and decided that some pullovers were about to get an update. This project is good for any pullover you feel a bit tired of, but even better if you have a sweater that requires wearing a shirt underneath but also causes that shirt to bunch up–the newly opened hem of the sweater eliminates the sweater’s fitted hemline and makes even flow-y shirts look neat and polished when worn underneath. Full details for (re)making your own backwards cardigan can be found at the end of this post.

Backwards Cardigan Details
You’ll need two buttons (or more, if you want to button your cardigan all the way down the back), ribbon, and a pullover sweater

1. Cut all the way up the middle of the back of your pullover. Pin a ribbon of matching length to the inside (wrong side) edge of the sweater so that the right side of the ribbon is facing the wrong side of the sweater fabric, and sew down close to the edge. Now that the ribbon is attached to the sweater, fold it over so that the wrong side of the ribbon is facing the right side of the sweater fabric and sew again. Repeat for the other open edge of the sweater.
2. Create a buttonhole at the collar of your “cardigan.” Make as many button holes as you want down the back of your sweater–I used two, so that the sweater only buttons at the top. If your sewing machine has problems making buttonholes on your sweater fabric (mine did–it depends on the material and quality of the sweater), sew thread to make loops as shown. Sew on the buttons and you’re already finished!


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