diy: make an awesome cardigan out of a shirt from the 6th grade that you refuse to throw away but never wear.

October 12th, 2011


So I got this shirt in the 6th grade. And I keep on keeping it because I like the stripes or something…and maybe the colors. But I can’t wear it because a) it’s too short and b) it’s too thick to layer with anything. And in the middle of last week’s closet-purging, in a blinding stroke of genius, I decided to make it a cardigan. But the fastest, kind of laziest way possible.


step 1 use a ruler and cut a line down the center of the front of the shirt. ok. you’re almost done.


step 2 hem the edges with your hem tape, using the instructions that came with it.


step 3 pick a button. then sew it on one of the sides where a normal button should theoretically go. it’s just for show so it looks like a legit cardigan. you’re not going to dilly-dally with making a button hole or anything because that’s just out of the realm of my patience.

Photo 2

now wear that bad boy with every single thing currently hanging in your closet. it will either match or not match in a purposeful looking way. bonus points if it is in some way autumn colored. like orange.


Update:I know you probably found this on pinterest or some craft blog somewhere…or something to that effect. This isn’t a craft blog, or any specific kind of blog for that matter. maybe occasionally I’ll make or design something that I feel is worth posting, but really, I just write. I live. I manipulate words and harness emotions. maybe you should start here. and then wander on over here to pandora’s box. just promise you’ll stay a while…I’d like to get to know you.

double update: The winning comment on this post is officially “Sweater is cute and all, but the puppies inside it are even better!” so awkward.

169 Responses to “diy: make an awesome cardigan out of a shirt from the 6th grade that you refuse to throw away but never wear.

  1. Megan says:

    bahahaha you just made me laugh out loud. i love it! please tell me you will be wearing it on Saturday!

  2. Alaythea says:

    Holy cow, what an awesome idea!!! I’m so going to have to try this!!!

  3. Hanna says:

    OMG. this is soooooo cute!

  4. I LOVE it. I actually want to hunt through my closet now just to find something I can do that to.

  5. Victoria says:

    That looks fantastic! :D

  6. alissa says:

    brilliant. looking through my closet now…

  7. Kate says:

    What a cool idea!

  8. Jill says:

    I am your newest follower!! Love your blog!
    That is the cutest thing ever!! I just might to that with an old sweater. Thanks for the awesome idea!
    Please stop by and say Hi :)

  9. Fifi says:

    I love to sew, but not “needing” to sew is so much better!! Great job, thank you for sharing!

    new follower!!

  10. Kahli says:

    Wow I just tossed an old shirt. Should have kept it!

  11. Lovely Light says:

    Hi there- found you through the hop and am a new follower. My kind of crafter! Its amazing if that shirt really is from 6th grade… I hope you have time to follow my life in South Africa by

    I hope you are having a great week!

  12. Dorothy says:

    I can’t sew to save my life, but I have tons of fusible webbing and stitch glue. So this is perfect for me. I’ll need to give this a try. Thanks.

  13. Wow, I’m impressed – 1st That you still have a shirt from 6th grade, 2nd That it still fits, at least sort of, 3rd Your creative genius at coming up with this great idea. :)

  14. Tricia says:

    I love this so much, especially that it is a no sew project. Great job. I’d love it if you linked it up to my top-toberfest link party. Feel free to link up any other tops you have worked on as well.

  15. Shiloh says:

    I think the button was a perfect finishing touch.:) It looks awesome.:)

    • Jamie says:

      haha! me too – sometimes I forget it isn’t ‘real’ and try to button it closed and fumble around for a while before i remember ;)

      • Toni says:

        Now I know what to do with the shirts that I got when my darling 96 year neighbor died. I love these tops but, they are just a little too SNUG across the front. I wear them occasionally anyway, but always with a jacket. I want to be able to see the shirt and this is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Moran says:

    i did it, what a great DIY!
    i turned a bummer of a thick striped shirt to an awesome cardigan!

    thanks for the idea :)

  17. Sundi says:

    I love it that you just put one giant button on it. So cute!

  18. Katie says:

    This is such a fabulous idea! I would love for you to share with Blog Stalking Thursday at

  19. You made it so cute! What a great way to upcycle!

  20. Loulou says:

    That’s really cool and so darn easy! Here I am wishing I hadn’t just (finally) given a particular old sweater to charity last month.

    loulou @ Loulou Downtown

  21. Melissa says:

    O M G girlfriend! Love love love it! I am so going to find something to do this to. In my favorites and I’m a new follower.

  22. Now this is what I call an IDEA! I can’t sew, although I have a sewing machine, so this is perfect for me. I have to pin this, thanks for sharing!

  23. amy says:

    so cool! cracks me up that you still have your 6th grade shirt. what’re you, 20????


  24. Emily says:

    I like it even better as a cardigan than a shirt. I’ve never used hem tape before but now I want to. I’m 100% sure nothing that I wore in sixth grade still fits, though I do have some PE shorts from eighth grade that were gigantic that I can squeeze into. haha.

  25. Lindsay says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who can’t get rid of old shirts but never wears them. Such a good idea and the cardigan turned out so cute!

  26. Sally says:

    What a great idea! That is so cute!! I found your blog from the French Country Cottage blog party. I’m your newest follower…I hope you’ll stop by my new blog & follow along too!

  27. Emily says:

    What a great idea!! I just wanted to let you know I featured this on Saw it {Loved it} Sunday over at my blog.


  28. Clydia Kay says:

    What a great idea! Would love for you to share this over at my link up!

    Hope to see you there!

  29. Natalia says:

    This is adorable! I don’t have a sewing machine, so I gotta give this a try! Great tutorial!

  30. Cassandra says:

    Fantastic! I love anything quick and easy :)

  31. laurie says:

    I absolutely LUV this idea! Thanks for sharing a great tutorial! :)

    xoxo laurie

  32. Jill says:

    BRILLIANT! I love when people show upcycles that are so simple – but really do make a new item of clothing! Great work!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  33. vickie says:

    Very cute. I might have to try this, I wonder if I can cut a straight seam.

  34. That is so stinkin’ cute. I love this tutorial. The post has such a great voice….so funny! :)

  35. Katie says:

    I love this idea! I have so many shirts that no longer fit me in the chest… might need to make a few! I just wanted to let you know I’ll be featuring this on Sew Woodsy later today!

  36. Brooke says:

    What an awesome idea!!! I have some sweaters that I don’t ever wear, but they would make cute cardigans! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  37. mary jo says:

    Love this idea! Just wondering if hem tape is an absolute necessity (since I have none)? What does it, ehem, do? :)

  38. This is so clever and it looks amazing. How fun. Thanks. Marty

  39. Just Jaime says:

    AWESOME! I’m pinning this to do it later! Thanks!

  40. Casa de Luna says:

    Simple, smart idea! I like the colors. Now if you can figure out what to do with the striped skirt I’ve been holding on to since high school, I will be set!

  41. Briana says:

    We loved your tutorial so much we’re featuring you today at our {{What I Made Wednesday}} Linky Party! If you’d like, come and grab a featured button!

    Also, you were the most viewed link so you’re the winner of free ad space on our blog…your blog button is now on our sidebar! =)


  42. trish says:

    Seriously? I never would have thought of that in a million years, it looks AWESOME!

  43. Rebecca says:

    I am old so I have nothing left from the sixth grade but I love this idea. Would be great for an old shirt or a great find on sale but the wrong size for a shirt. Pinned this, thanks!

  44. Kristi says:

    Love the stripes, too. I recently turned a shirt into a cardigan for when I was pregnant, but can’t wait to make some more for the fall now that I have had my baby. And I can’t believe that you still have a shirt from the 6th grade. That is awesome!

  45. I love it! Why didn’t I think of that?! New follower.

  46. Amber says:

    I’ve been wanting to do one of these. I like the big button addition! Thanks for sharing.

  47. Melanie says:

    So stinking awesome! So glad you linked up, because now I can follow your awesome blog! I’m featuring this DIY tomorrow on the blog!


    Reasons To Skip The Housework {The Blog}
    Tinker B Boutique {The Shop}


  48. Jen says:

    this is pretty genius, my friend!

  49. Susan says:

    Awesome! I love the use of the hem tape to finish the raw edges, plus the button to make it “look legit”. very nice :-)

  50. Dusty says:

    My mom brought me instructions on how to make a shrug with an tshirt and I haven’t tried it yet, but now that I see this I just might. Super post. New follower from the fest. Hope you stop by and check me out!

  51. You’ve been featured. Check it out.

    Cheri from Its So Very Cheri

  52. This is AWESOME! Great idea, and I *might* even be able to do it! lol
    New follower from the Fest… nice to “meet” you!

  53. Alyssa says:

    I’m over from Make Something Monday, and I absolutely LOVE this idea… I’m going yo search through my drawers this week & post about it soon! Thanks so much for sharing your brilliance! :]


  54. Gretchen says:

    I love this idea. I have a few shirts hanging around that I might have to try this on.

  55. What a fantastic idea! I have a few shirts that are a liiiiiiittle bit too snug that this would be PERFECT for! Thank you!

  56. Christine says:

    Wow this looks so easy! Hem tape is a great idea.

    Christine @ Projects Around the House

  57. rhodz says:

    nice idea, i can do this to my old and tight clothes… perfect idea! i will do it right away…:)

  58. poorrobin says:

    I have a shirt that looks EXACTLY like this, only purple. It’s headed to CARDIGAN LAND. Thanks! :)

  59. Kati Boyce says:

    I love this! I am going to dig through my closet now!!!

  60. This is pretty awesome; I can’t wait to try this!
    Thanks for the idea and the funny read!

  61. Just what I needed! Thank you! :-D

  62. Angela says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for the tutorial, I am definitely doing this. =)

  63. Chris says:

    Hi Jamie, what an awesome job you did in turning a “T” into a cardigan. You would never have known. Thanks for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  64. Jamie, I stumbled across your blog last night and couldn’t believe this post!! Not only am I stealing your idea, I had to post it to my blog and link them up to you because it was too amazing to keep to myself. I hope you’re okay with me sharing your blog!

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’m now a follower of your blog. I’ll be back.

    Here is the blog post that features you, in case you wanted to make sure it was okay:

  65. furkastle says:

    You could have sewed a piece of ribbon or thick cord to the inside and made a loop and then you could have used the button!!!

  66. Pamela says:

    THat is so cute and super simple! Thanks!

  67. Kristen says:

    WOW!! I cant wait to do this!! Great IDEA

  68. Crystal says:

    I just did this with an old sweater I never wear….love love love it! Now my 13 year old wants me to do a couple of her old sweaters! Thanks for the great tutorial! :)

  69. mayabijoux says:

    i love your ideea! thanks for sharing this!

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  72. Janice Bates says:

    Way to go. I will try this but know I will have to do more embellishing to make myself happy.

  73. [...] Easily Dunn December 2009 November 2009 [...]

  74. [...] Make An Awesome Cardigan Out of a Shirt at Easily Dunn Filed Under: Tops · Tagged With: budget shirt makeover, cardigan refashion, make a cardigan from a shirt, refashion a cardigan, turn a shirt into a cardigan [...]

  75. Mariafer says:

    I Love It <3 It Is A Great Idea!

  76. Wow, this is such a great idea! I love it, never altered clothes before, must try this soon!

  77. Dawn Renee' says:

    Just did this on two of my shirts. They came out great. The hardest thing was choosing the buttons to polish off the look I was after. Thank you so much for posting this!

  78. Kailey says:

    I love this :) I’m kind of a cardigan whore so, this will save me tons of money. And yes, I did come through pinterest but, I promise to give your site a looksie :)

  79. Paula says:

    What a great idea, love it! I just went through my closet and found a few shirts to try. Thanks for sharing!

  80. Shereen says:

    This involves 3 of my favorite things: 1-never throwing things away, 2-cardigans and 3-super easy craft project. I could totally have half a closet full of these. Thanks for this awesome idea :)

  81. Davelyn Rodgers says:

    Love, Love, Love this project AND your sense of humor! Happy Trails and Keep On Truckin’ :):)…..Davelyn

  82. srita says:

    Om my god!! I have a tonne of shirts lying in my closet just like that!!! Thank you so much for the idea! I love it!

  83. Natalie says:

    This is genius, and adorable! P.S. I love blogs like yours, ones that aren’t necessarily craft blogs but just randomness :)

  84. BA278 says:

    Sweater is cute and all, but the puppies inside it are even better!

  85. Mechie says:

    So gonna do this. I got this awesome (read awful really here) yellow shirt at goodwill & turns out its too tight cause its a flippin kids shirt, but I’m determined to wear it.

  86. tia hansen says:

    Love this idea! I am off to the store for hem tape to start on a cute shirt that I no longer wear. Time to turn my closet around.

  87. Erica says:

    This is such an awesome idea! Definitely a lazy day project but looks really nice. Whats the tape your using? Like no-sew hemming tape?

  88. Heather says:

    Can’t wait to try. Hope it will work for me!

  89. sara says:

    Am so doing this. Today.

  90. Melissa says:

    I recently bought a cable knit sweater from Goodwill. I love the color but the fit was less than desirable. I just finished and I love it!! Thanks for the tips!!

  91. Cookie says:

    I’m always looking for short-sleeved cardigans that I can throw over a tank-top. Now I can make some! Thanks.

  92. Sharla says:

    I just saw this on Pinterest and it looks awesome! I am obsessed with cardigans and can’t never have enough. I wear a lot of short-sleeved dresses to work and am always needing something to throw on over them. Can’t wait to try this.

  93. Jenna says:

    Oh man. Re: Your double update: I scrolled back up, thinking, “Where are the puppies?! I LOVE PUPPIES?!” Then I was all, “Oh…” I’ll go drink more coffee now.

    I’m totally doing this with a shirt this weekend. Thanks!

  94. abby says:

    I definitely saw your “double update” note and thought, “Puppies! there are puppies on this blog? that’s great! I should subscribe! where’s a link to that part of the blog!?” Then I realized what it meant. (I am 26.)

  95. Shelley says:

    Hem tape~genius idea!

  96. Fatima says:

    Never even heard of hem time.. this is genius! ..esp since I can’t sew to save my life (& my mother is a seamstress -___-) but definitely gonna try this.. already cut a shirt accordingly – just need to get me some of that magic tape!

  97. Robyn Benson says:

    I see how you made the cut. And I see the tape. The picture shows 1/4 inch raw edge. What is done with that edge—is it trimmed close to the edge of the hem tape or just left “as is” ? I couldn’t tell because the next picture is of the front with the buttons sewed on. Thanks

  98. Amanda says:

    Easy and quick. Two of my favorite words. Not to mention, recycle old shirts that you aren’t wearing anymore as is. Woo!

  99. Cristina Vreugdenhil says:

    I didn’t saw much difference between His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi!!!

  100. [...] 5. DIY T-shirt into Cardigan by Easily Dunn [...]

  101. FROZINTIME says:

    What a great Idea i like it !

  102. Frankie says:

    This is totally cute. And I’m sitting here being so jealous! You have great boobs! Lol

  103. Brookie says:

    I just did my own after seeing this on Pinterest =)Thanks for the great idea! Mine was an old ugly elbow length sweater type thing mom gave me, green and white striped, it was horrible looking on me before! And now it looks great with a tank underneath! Even the boyfriend gave me a compliment on it! Also, I added 3 buttons instead of just one, because the boyfriend said, “That’s a lonely looking button.” Haha. Thanks again! XD

  104. Margaret says:

    I would hand sew a ribbon instead of a button on each edge at the natural waist so you can at least tie it shut. I like a sort of closed option.

  105. Arianna says:

    I just tried this a few minutes ago using my sewing machine. Can I say fantastic? I now have a new cardigan out of a shirt that has become too small with growth since I first got it. It’s not the kind that you have that fits like a normal cardigan, but it goes perfectly with everything I needed it to go with. Thank you SO much, this was a really awesome idea!

  106. Beth says:

    I read your double update and literally thought, “aww I didn’t notice any puppies on the inside!” Scrolling back up to see the cute puppy covered lining on the inside of your shirt that I must have missed… Then I realized, not literally puppies, they meant boobs. (Face palm.)

  107. Fifi says:

    Next you can show people how to make shorts by cutting the legs off of pants. Recycle the old bell bottoms from the seventh grade! omg!

  108. Rita says:

    After your comment about favorite comments posted I just surfed back up through the photos thinking I had missed seeing the puppies. Duhhh…….. LOL This dog lover was disappointed. LOL

  109. michael says:

    cool! would look better if instead of cutting straight you cut a slight curve at the top.

  110. Kim says:

    That’s such a good idea! I’ve never used hem tape before. Is it okay to machine wash and dry??

  111. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for posting this idea…I currently have temp custody of my nieces so buying new clothes for them is kind of hard on a budget. I think this would be a great idea for 2 purposes, bonding time and reusing clothes we thought would have to be given away or thrown out. Thanks again :-)

  112. Melissa says:

    Thanks for being so adorable. Loved the honesty about how you write(I’m the same) made my day..

  113. M says:

    Struth what a smashing idae! Ka-bloody-pai lovely girl. Repurposed jersey – get on my back! Love from New Zealand xx

  114. [...] make an old shirt into a cardigan, by Easily Dunn [...]

  115. Sabrina says:

    everything from step 3 onwards just makes me wish we were friends.

  116. Stevi says:

    I totally scrolled back up to find where I missed the puppies all “why is someone complimenting her dogs so awkward, maybe they are just a big dog person ?” ….duuuuuhhh I’m in on the joke now ….and now I am going to go chop up all my pre baby shirts. :)

  117. Jujube says:


    I have been doing this for years and I’m up there. Try men’s t shirts they work great for last min shrugs covers throw on. Best ideas ever

  118. Terry says:

    You are ever so clever~ Love it

  119. Connie K says:

    Thank you for being my non-crafting idol!! I cannot wait to try this:)

  120. Karoles Fun says:

    I’ve been doing this for a long time with sweatshirts. Since I spend winters in New Mexico, heavy coats aren’t too much of a required staple, but sweaters & sweatshirts are perfect for most of the time. Now I’ll try the t-shirts for summer wear. Thanks – and if I do, will my “puppies” look that nice, too?

  121. donjoe says:

    nice rack

  122. [...] step-by-step instructions at Easily Dunn are incredibly easy to follow for this simple and stylish project. Grab a cute top [...]

  123. Anita says:

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  124. Betty says:

    I did this too last month but I used a long zipper and made my old sweater into a zip front cardigan.

  125. lori Urey says:

    I’m in the process of doing this to a few of my shirts to!

  126. jane says:

    love it!!!!!for sure im gnna try it….very useful cuz i suck at stitching…

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