See the lovely rose buttons? And the meticulously yet imperfectly hand-tied french knots?
I wanted the blouse they paired it with in the store too. But I don't have a bottomless budget, so it was time to get crafty. I found a simple (and surprisingly good quality) black cardigan at Old Navy for $20. And I already had some embroidery floss at home, and some buttons I could cover, and some fabric with small vintage-style roses! I was set! Or so I thought.
I watched a few tutorials on how to tie french knots, to refresh my memory. My first 5 attempts failed for some reason, but then I got it and never had trouble again.
Half way through my french knot scallops I ran out of floss. I thought I had gotten it a year ago at Jo-Anns so it should be no problem to get more. Wrong. I eventually remembered I had bought it 5 years ago for a project and they no longer carry that color. So with much disappointment, and drooping shoulders, I carefully snipped out 150 french knots and started over. I must be crazy.
But here is my (finally) finished sweater:
I tested my fabric covered buttons before they were covered, and they fit through the button holes. Once covered, however, they no longer fit! So that is the one flaw. I can't button it. I think if I greased them up a bit they might squeeze through, but obviously that is out of the question.
Does anyone know if you can expand button holes somehow? I'd love to know some trick.
And the final comparison:
I must say, I am extremely pleased with this project. I'll probably wear it this week even though it's 80 degrees out.
If you want to try it, here's what you'll need:
1 cardigan (you could do any color)
fabric covered button kit (make sure they fit the button holes!) -how many you need will depend on your cardigan
fabric with small floral/rose print (1/4 yd should be plenty, or a fat quarter)
embroidery floss or something similar
a milliner needle (I used a regular needle and it was a real pain)
a piece of cardboard or cardstock
a white pencil
a good long movie or audiobook
1. Measure the length of your cardigan from top to bottom where you want the scallops to go. Divide by 5.5 (or however many scallops you want). Use that number to determine how wide your scallops should be, and create a template as follows.
2. Find a bowl, roll of masking tape, large cup, whatever and trace around it on the cardstock/cardboard to create your scallop template. You want it to be a little less than a half circle, and make the widest points the size of measurement from step 1.
3. Using your white pencil, trace over your template onto the cardigan repeatedly until you have evenly spaced scallops. (The sleeves will require a smaller template, but same idea).
4. Turn on your movie and begin the french knotting! (Watch a tutorial on YouTube if you need to.) I spaced mine about a millimeter or two apart. As your floss runs short you will need to tie on a new piece (on the inside of the cardigan) to continue.
5. Follow the instructions on the package to cover your buttons. I recommend using the template they give you rather than free-handing it, because they turn out nicer if you do.
6. Carefully remove the buttons that cam with the cardigan and sew your new ones on in the same place. And you are done!