2 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Old Sweaters

Even though most fashion is currently veering more minimalist, it seems like sweaters haven't gotten the memo. In fact, the pullover was one of this past Fashion Week's biggest trends — but we didn't see a plain wooly in the bunch.
Knit with various patterns and festooned with adornments, your average sweater went through a major makeover for fall '12. So, grab your sewing kit; We've got two DIYs to give your old, simple sweaters a modern treatment.
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata
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Since there's still a chill in the air, don't pack up your heavy winter sweaters just yet. In fact, take this opportunity to breathe some life into your old favorites with these two super-quick DIYs.

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Here's what you'll need…

An old sweater (or a new one, if you prefer)
1/2" pom poms — we've used a darker shade of blue to coordinate with the sweater, but feel free to use any color you'd like.
Thread that matches the color of the pom poms
A sewing needle
Straight pins
Scissors

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Step 1: Position one pom pom in the center of the sweater, about an inch from the collar.

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Step 2: Position two more pom poms about two to three inches to the left and right of the center pom pom.

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Step 3: Begin placing the next row of pom poms, about an inch or two down from the first row. Place these poms in the gaps created by the previous row. Continue placing poms on the front of the sweater in neat, straight rows, working down and then out, until the front of the sweater is filled.

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Step 4: To keep your poms in place as you sew, pin them down using straight pins. To ensure that their spacing is preserved, start by placing the pin about a centimeter away from the pom, and then bring it back up in front of the pom, and then through the pom. Pin from the top of the sweater to the bottom, so the loose poms don't get disturbed

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Step 5: Continue pinning the pom poms until they're all secure.

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Step 6: Thread your needle with a few inches of thread. Do not knot the thread.

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Step 7: Pull both lose ends of the thread down and away from the needle, securing it in a loop of thread. This doubling of the thread will make it stronger and again, do not knot the loose ends.

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Step 8: Remove the pin from one pom pom.

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Step 9: Push the needle through the center of the pom.

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Step 10: Slide the pom down the thread, so there are three or four inches of thread on either side of the pom. 

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Step 11: Push the needle through the sweater where the pom should be positioned, making sure that the pom pom does not slide off the untied ends of the thread.

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Step 12: Cut the needle off of the thread.

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Step 13: Place the needle on the loose end of the thread that is now at the front of the sweater with the pom pom.

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Step 14: Push the needle through the sweater, next to where your previous stitch was.

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Step 15: Take both ends of the thread and tie them together in a knot.

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Step 16: Once your knot is secure (you may want to knot the thread several times to be sure), cut off the loose ends, leaving a small tail so the knot doesn't come undone.

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Step 18: Once all of the poms are sewn on, your sweater is ready to go. If you're extra ambitious, try sewing poms onto the sleeves and back of the sweater as well, but we like the look of having just the front decorated.

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Got a cardigan that has a hole at the elbow, or could just do with some sprucing up? These patches are easy to apply, and there's no sewing involved.

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Here's what you'll need…

An iron
A cardigan
Gold lamé spandex
Straight pins
A damp cotton pressing cloth, or a damp dish towel that does not have any texture to it (i.e. no terrycloth towels)
Scissors
A sharpie
Iron-on fabric tape

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Step 1: Unbutton the cardigan and put it on.

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Step 2: Place a straight pin where your elbow is, being careful not to poke yourself.

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Step 3: Cut out a rectangle of gold lame fabric, about two inches wide and three or four inches long.

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Step 4: Make sure that the sides of the rectangle are even and straight.

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Step 5: Fold the rectangle in half length-wise.

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Step 6: Fold the rectangle in half width-wise.

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Step 7: Holding the folded edges together, round off the corner on the lose ends, to create an oval shape.

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Step 8: Unfold the oval and use the scissors to clean up the shape, if you need to correct any unevenness.

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Step 9: Place the oval you just made on the remaining gold lame fabric and trace it with the sharpie, making sure that you don't get sharpie on the oval itself.

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Step 10: Cut out the shape, and use the scissors to clean up any unevenness.

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Step 11: Cut four lengths of iron-on fuse tape, each about three or four inches long.

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Step 12: Place the fuse tape on the arm of the sweater, around the pin that marked your elbow in the center.

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Step 13: Remove the pin.

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Step 14: Place one of the ovals over the tape. Adjust the tape so that is underneath the oval and touches all of the edges. It doesn't matter if there is a little tape peeking out from the oval, as it will evaporate when it is ironed.

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Step 15: Place the damp cloth on top of the oval, making sure that nothing gets knocked out of place.

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Step 16: With the iron on steam, press it down on top of the oval and leave it there for about 10 seconds. Do not move the iron around — you just want to press down firmly on top of the patch.

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Step 17: Remove the damp cloth — the gold lame patch should now be stuck in place.

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Step 18: To place the next patch, line up the sleeves of the sweater, making sure that the cuffs and the shoulders match.

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Step 19: Using the previous patch as a guide, place a pin on the bare sleeve in the center of where the patch will go, to mark your elbow.

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Step 20: As in step 32-34, cut four more pieces of adhesive tape and place them on the sleeve, keeping the pin in the center. Then, remove the pin, and repeat steps 35-38 to iron on the remaining patch.

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Voilà! Now your sweater has plenty of preppy-chic style, and you no longer have to worry about any pesky holes at your elbow.

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