Add a Boutique Detail to a Store-Bought Sweater

While school supply shopping yesterday, I found this adorable animal-print sweater at Target for $16!

01 Sweater

I decided to add some trim to inside of the sweater where the buttons are sewn to add a boutique or couture look to my bargain!   I rummaged through my trim stash for something beautiful, and found this red velvet ribbon.

02 velvet trim

Next, I used my seam ripper to carefully remove the tag sewn along the neck, and then auditioned the ribbon for width.

03 Auditioning trim

I liked the way it looked, so I got my curved-blade embroidery scissors to cut off the buttons.

04 Use curved scissors

I happened to really like the buttons that came on the sweater.  However, because you’re removing them anyway, you could substitute a similar-sized button of your choice later.  I carefully cut the thread and gently pulled the thread out from the inside of the sweater.

05 Buttons Removed

Because this sweater is a knit fabric, I was careful to remember to change out my sewing machine’s needle with a stretch needle.  If you were to hand-sew the trim to the sweater, you should use a needle appropriate for knits.  Otherwise, you risk putting a hole in the fabric.

06 Stretch Needle

Because I used a sewing machine to attach my ribbon, I attached my edge stitching foot – for a Bernina, it’s a number 10.  I love this guy…he’s so versatile.

07 Edgestitch foot

Make a clean cut on the top of your ribbon if necessary, and add some Fray Check or other product to prevent your ribbon from unraveling.

08 Fray Check

Next, line up your ribbon on the sweater.  Turn under the top edge of the ribbon, and sew the top (the width) of the ribbon on the sweater.  With the needle down, pivot the sweater so that all of its weight is on the table or on your sewing machine.  You don’t want to risk stretch!

09 Position on sweater with weight on table

Don’t pin the ribbon because it may create a permanent hole.  Instead, sew slowly with the needle just in the edge of the ribbon, carefully readjusting every several stitches.  When you get near the bottom, cut of the ribbon and apply Fray check to the bottom end.  Turn the end under.  You might need to use a stiletto or other tool to keep the fold in place.

10 end of trim curl under

When you get to the end, place your needle down, pivot the sweater, and sew down the bottom end.  Needle down and pivot again so that you’re ready to sew up the other side.  Again, be sure that the weight of the sweater is on the table and that you’re not stretching the fabric.

12 sew second side

Admire your work!

13 Straighten sweater

Line up the button hole side of the sweater over the ribbon side to mark the placement of the buttons.  I used a white chalk marking pencil – use what you have available.  Place the pencil inside the button hole and make a mark.

14 Mark placement of buttons

Next, sew the buttons back on either by hand or by machine.  I have a button sewing foot and stitch that makes short work of sewing on a button.

15 Button foot!

Trim your threads and you are finished!

16 Complete close-up

If only Target offered this sweater in my size…

17 Ready to wear!

What kinds of couture additions have you made to your ready-to-wear clothing recently?

Leave a Reply