DIY // Trendy open front sweater


The weather is crisp and I’m craving sweaters. The kind that feels like a warm blanket and helps you keep warm. I’m loving these trendy big open front cardigan sweaters I’ve been seeing all over the blogosphere lately, so I just had to try and DIY one for myself. All it took was a big old patterned pullover sweater.

DIY // Trendy open front sweater


  • Big old pullover sweater
  • Serger/Overlocker and/or crochet needle and yarn
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Tape measure and ruler


open front sweater before

This is what my sweater looked like before the refashion. The important thing to note when picking out a sweater for this project is that it needs to be long and wide. The width will become your sweater length and the length before will become the width after the refashion. So keep that in mind!

open front sweater tutorial

// 1.

First, dissect the sweater by unraveling the side and armhole seams.

// 2.

Turn the sweater inside out and sew the two sides together as close to the neck hole as possible. This will become the center back seam of the new sweater. The best option to use for this project is a serger/overlocker, but not all of us home seamstresses have that, so you could also use a regular sewing machine. Or, you could crochet all of the seams (this method is illustrated on the image collage below). If you use a regular sewing machine, you should probably stabilize the seam allowance with stay tape before sewing. When using a serger, you should also serge the top and bottom raw edge at this point.

// 3.

Next, take one of your sweaters and measure the back. Write that number down and divide it by 2.

// 4.

Use the result from the previous step to mark down the distance of the sleeves from the center back seam.

// 5.

Next, try on your sweater sleeves. If need be, turn inside out and make them narrower by pinning the new seam line, sewing, and cutting the excess knit. (don’t forget to zig-zag all the raw edges if you’re using a regular sewing machine). Then, lay the sleeve on the sweater next to the marking you made earlier (see nr. 5 above). Then mark the lower edge of the sleeve onto the sweater.

// 6.

Cut a narrow 3 cm wide U using your markings as guidelines. These will become the sleeve openings. Next, sew the shoulder seams. Just mark about 10 cm on both side of the U, fold right sides together and sew (see nr. 6 above). Your sweater should look like a vest at this point.

// 7.

The next step is to sew the sleeves onto the sweater. The sweater is almost complete! You’ll probably notice that the front ribbing is not sitting that well. To fix that, stretch the ribbing to match the length of the sweater and pin to the ironing board. Then steam through a moist cloth.

 sweater edge crochet tutorial

As I said earlier, this project can also be done using crochet to sew, and finish the seams. Just follow steps 1-8 from the above photo. After you’ve done all the seams and edges, stabilize the top and bottom edge by pulling a strand of yarn through the crochet edge (see nr. 9 above). And, all done!

finished open front sweater

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  • Reply Steph December 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I love re purposing sweaters and this is such a great idea! and what a perfect sweater to do it with. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Hanna Paal December 5, 2013 at 2:28 am

      Thank you, Steph! I’m a sucker for a great recycle as well. It’s such a satisfying feeling to turn something old into something new and trendy.

  • Reply Anne December 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Awesome!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later today that links to your refashion tutorial:

    • Reply Hanna Paal December 8, 2013 at 8:53 am

      Thank you, Anne, for spreading the word!

  • Reply Jaan L December 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

    That is the cutest re-purposing of a sweater. I can’t wait to try it out, and I have just the sweater, old one of my hubby’s. Thanks.

    • Reply Hanna Paal December 8, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Thank you for the kind words! I hope yours turns out great. Let me know if you have any problems or questions concerning the tutorial.

  • Reply MammaNene December 20, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I love how you transformed an anonymous sweater in something new and wow!
    I’ve featured it on a roundup on my blog!
    Hugs from Italy,
    MammaNene @

    • Reply Hanna Paal December 23, 2013 at 3:50 am

      Thank you for the compliments, and for sharing it on your blog!

  • Reply Tuuli December 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Väga cool ümbertegu. Kohe homme lähen ilmselt vanu kappe tuulama ning laiu kampsuneid otsima 🙂

    translation: Very cool around it. As soon as tomorrow I probably winnow the old cupboards and wide to look for sweaters 🙂

    • Reply Hanna Paal December 23, 2013 at 3:52 am

      Thanks, Tuuli! I hope you’ll find the perfect sweater for the remake. Let us know if you have any questions about the tutorial.

      Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Lucia De Caris December 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Wow! This is fantastic! I’ll immediatly pin it!
    Now I really need a serger……

  • Reply Desarae February 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    This is such a great refashion! I’m coming over from Adventures of Lauren- she shared your tutorial and her version of it. Great job, and it looks fabulous! 🙂

    • Reply Hanna February 6, 2014 at 2:31 am

      Thank you, Desarae! I’ll be sure to check out Lauren’s version as well. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Reply Christina Naylor February 28, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I made mine this morning and it is AWESOME! I knit and I’ve always been a sucker for the gorgeous patterns on sweaters, while hating the fit. I have also recently started sewing and become obsessed with open-front sweaters. Voila! Perfect combo! I’m wearing mine right now and I would love to share a photo!!

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