10 cardigan tricks

10 Useful Cardigan Tricks Take It From Ho-Hum to Stylish

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When my friend, Susan reached out about how she was struggling with one of her sweaters, we brainstormed about cardigan tricks that would make it look better. She came up with the solution for her specific cardigan on her own which I included in this post.
That spurred me on to give you all kinds of different cardigan tricks for future reference.

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Quote of the day: “One type of person approaches a situation with the mindset of ‘How can I make this work?’
Another type seems to approach each circumstance with the mindset of ‘What are all the reasons this wouldn’t work?’
Both people will be forced to deal with reality, but the first person will only have to solve problems that actually occur while the second person will often avoid taking action entirely because of the potential problems they have dreamt up before starting.
There will always be reasons to not do something. Be a problem solver, not a problem adder.” James Clear

Clearly, I am the first person from this quote. Just call me a “fix-it” girl at heart. I believe that many of our clothing “issues” can be resolved with a tuck, twist, or presto chango that really isn’t hard to do. The hardest part is remembering all the different cardigan tricks.
This is exactly why you should save this article, so you can reference it when you need it.

10 Cardigan Tricks
1-Overlap and tuck in the panels
2-Top button and bottom buttonhole
3-Rebutton in different ways
4-Long panels at the shoulders with magnets
5-Use a bling pin to overlap
6-Tuck the collar and overlap it with magnets
7-Upside down
8-Add a button or upside down with a stickpin
9-Add trim
10-Layer OVER the cardigan

Insider tip: It’s very helpful to remember you are the boss of your clothes. Just because it is made to be worn one way, doesn’t mean you can’t wear it many other ways.

For all of these cardigan tricks, it will depend on the material of your clothing item which gives it drape or stiffness. The other factor is the other details that are already a part of your piece. While these 10 cardigan tricks may not work for everything in your closet, the best bet is to TRY THEM!! You’ll never know until you give it a go.
And as you can see in my examples, your “cardigan tricks” can be used for button-up blouses and vests too.

Don’t be frustrated when you put on a clothing item and it’s not “right.” Use my cardigan tricks to save the day instead of throwing it out.

1-Overlap and Tuck the Panels

Let me introduce my friend, Susan. Susan was part of the gang on our Alaskan cruise (seen here).

She was annoyed because her cardigan hung wonky when she buttoned it. After we brainstormed a bit, she came up with the idea to overlap the front panels and tuck them into her jeans.
Basically, she did a front tuck, but with pizzazz.

Notice too, that she folded the front panels inside on themselves before she overlapped them. And she pushed up the sleeves for extra chicness.

Insider tip: Finding options to make a clothing item work is much more sustainable than getting rid of it. Not all “alterations” have to be permanent.

Susan’s cardigan is lightweight which makes it easier for this trick.

2-Cardigan Tricks with Top Button/Bottom Buttonhole

For this example, I started playing around with how to button this blouse. Since it’s partly sheer, it’s very lightweight and drapes easily.

What I did was create a “top” from this blouse. I used the top button with the lowest buttonhole and then vice versa. You can see the short video here.

Funny story. When I took the video of this, my husband looks at me and says, “How do you come up with these tricks?” And I laughed and told him it’s because I play with my clothes.

3-Rebutton It

This hand-knit brown vest (knit by me but it’s really for my husband) has ended up being a favorite of mine since sweater vests have come back in vogue.
Just because it’s a men’s item doesn’t mean you can’t wear it too.

The difference between this example and the yellow blouse above is this vest is much heavier so doesn’t have the same kind of drape. I didn’t let this stop me from seeing what I could do with it.

By folding up the button band and using the bottom button in the top two holes. This creates a cropped vest with unique wings on the side.

Here is the video for this one with 2 other ideas for it also.

Insider tip: I hear half of you saying, I wouldn’t do this one because why do I want more bulk at my midsection? Don’t obsess over if these changes make you look thinner. Looking interesting is much more fun than looking slim.

4-Long Panels at the Shoulder with Magnets

When you have a long waterfall cardigan, and the panels are overwhelming, then how about overlapping the panels and placing the ends on your shoulders?
You can get the panels to stay either with pins or magnets.

Insider tip: Magnets are a great option when you don’t want to damage a material with pins. My pair of magnets are found on Amazon.

Related post: Magnets for function and decoration

5-Use a Bling Pin to Overlap

This cardigan trick is basically the same one as #4 only with shorter panels and a heavier-weight cardigan with no drape.
Since the panels are much shorter, they don’t reach up to my shoulders without looking wonky, so I crossed them to the middle of my body.

I used a cute bling pin to attach them at the top, and even used a small safety pin for the points at each side.

Related post: Brooches styled modern and fun

6-Tuck the Collar and Overlap it with Magnets

This option is very similar to Susan’s #1 cardigan trick only I used magnets to hold the panels in place and did not tuck it into my pants.

I also created a v-neck blouse by tucking the collar under. It’s an easy fix if you have a collar that won’t stay up, is in the way, or you just want a little variety.

Insider tip: I actually have the magnets facing the wrong way. The ball portion should face your body so they don’t attach to anything metal you happen to be next to. Like the washing machine, haha! But I liked the look of the round ball instead of the flat circle, so I was a rebel.

Related post: See this shirt styled in 4 ways

7-Upside Down

This cardigan hack is seriously one of my favorite tricks lately. All you do is put your cardigan on upside down.

Insider tip: I will place the cardigan upside-down on my bed and put it on that way. However, there is another method seen in this video. You put the cardigan on backward and then pull the bottom hem up over your head and adjust it.
This trick works with non-cardigan type sweaters if the neck hole is big enough (as seen here) and with kimonos (seen here)

What this does is create a cropped cardigan with a shawl collar. Since my striped cardigan has buttons, I buttoned one of them to keep it in place.
This cardigan is a medium-weight sweater with a little drape.

8-Add a Button or Upside Down with a Stick Pin

The joys of knitting your own pieces include the realization that it doesn’t always turn out as planned, haha.
This vest should have been similar to #5 however, my yarn selection and tight knitting made the ends stand out wonky.

The first fix was to add a button closure. Since the item was already knit, I couldn’t add a buttonhole, so instead, I crocheted a loop around the opposite edge of where I would place the button.

But as a fix-it girl, I also wanted to show the upside-down trick with a non-buttoning item. When you turn this piece upside down, the button doesn’t line up as it did for #7, so I used a stick pin as a closure.

Insider tip: Don’t throw out jewelry just because it’s “out of style”. Jewelry doesn’t take up much space, and you never know when you can find a use for it.

9-Add Trim

I was thinking about more cardigan tricks where you don’t necessarily need to tuck or twist the item. And this one is a prime example. When I finished this yellow cardigan, I was less than impressed. It didn’t tickle my fancy, and I asked my Instagram followers if they had suggestions on how to make it better.

I think it was my mom who suggested adding trim to it. Did you know that Amazon sells all different kinds of trim that you can buy by the yard? It was almost overwhelming the variety I could choose from.
Finally, I narrowed it down to this pink and flower trim that not only added color but also texture. I just hand-sewed it along the edging and around the buttons. The buttons are still there, but not functional since the buttonholes have trim sewn over the top of them.

Insider tip: When you’re at a loss for how to make a clothing item better, ask your friends. The second pair of eyes can see it in a whole different light.

10-Cardigan Tricks: Layer OVER It

Here’s the reason you should always think about layering both over and under. Sure, we tend to think of a cardigan as something we wear overtop other layers. But your cardigan can be worn as a top (see Susan’s example #1) or it can be the underneath layer.

I’m showing that fact with this bomber jacket (yes, it is the same jacket although it looks different colors depending on the lighting).

One of the cardigan tricks is to close it up and think of it like a layering piece. This works under tops (as I’ve shown in the upper right photo), vests, blazers, and even other sweaters. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, this feat is easier when the cardigan or jacket is lightweight, but don’t automatically assume that heavier ones won’t work.
In fact, we have layered coats over other coats before, so it can be done.

Related post: How to wear a cardigan 5 different ways

10 cardigan tricks for chic style

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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