Four years ago I picked up two lovely, soft — and totally shapeless — cashmere cardigans at a thrift store for a few dollars each, with the vague dream of refashioning/upcycling them into warm and snuggly baby leggings for my then-tiny daughter.
Those snuggly leggings never came to be... but I thought a cashmere cardigan and matching hat would make a perfect baby gift for a bicycle-loving knitterly (i.e. unafraid of handwashing) friend of mine who had her baby girl last week, and so here we are:
- This raglan cardigan is part of the baby jogging suit from Kwik Sew's Sewing For Baby. I've made it twice as a hoodie (once in a custom Spoonflower print for my daughter, once in an owl print for a friend's baby), but wanted to make the collared version this time so I could make a matching hat.
- The bear-eared hat is the "Ernie" beanie from the 1/2013 issue of Ottobre—a pattern I do NOT recommend, because if followed as written, it leaves no actual opening for a head. For real. (You may recall this led to tears and excessive consumption of mocktails during my October sewcation.)
Fabric: A cut-up thrifted Lord and Taylor two-ply cashmere pullover sweater, plus some scraps of blue bamboo knit and some turquoise wool felt for the appliqué. Much better than buying actual cashmere yardage, since I could repurpose the ribbing as well.
Notions: Embroidery floss, fusible webbing (part of my dwindling Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 packet), colorful snaps from Sew Baby, petersham ribbon from Pacific Trimming.
Size: Medium (3-6 months) for the sweater, and I just eyeballed the hat size to match.
Here's what the adult sweater looked like before I cut into it:
Inspiration: I knew the gift had to be bicycle-themed, because my friend and her husband are the kind of people who manage to squeeze five bikes into their 1-bedroom Brooklyn apartment. (All of which they ride, frequently). I cut my appliqué design out freehand based on this cute little T-shirt from Mini Boden:
Modifications: No modifications, but I'm embarrassed at how much unpicking was involved in both of these items—somehow I managed to attach the collar wrong twice, and the ribbed hem too.
Construction notes: The cardigan is simple, if you actually pay close attention to the instructions, which I apparently did not. SO. MUCH. UNPICKING. OF. SERGER. THREADS. I did 90 percent of this project on the serger, reasoning that would keep the fine-knit cashmere from unraveling better than the machine.
The embroidery bit was super fun—I fused the little wool felt shapes to the cardigan with fusible webbing, then just played around with some back stitches and running stitches.
I initially put a bike wheel on the hat, but it looked odd and I replaced it with a heart:
Finally, I wrapped the wee soft things in some of my daughter's extra artwork (with her permission), and tied them with a bit of leftover yarn—so much more fun than commercial wrapping paper and ribbon, am I right?
Hmmm... I kinda want to make a matching set for my baby-to-be now with the remaining cardigan, a nice red cabled knit — they could wear them when they play together.
P.S. I am happy to report that my daughter's scheme for a handmade mermaid fairy superhero doll with a big curly purple Afro is well underway—we designed the pattern together and she's mostly sewn and stuffed—all she needs now are a few finishing details. More to come soon!