I am in LOVE with this LOFT Ruffle Front cardigan (http://www.anntaylorloft.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=26784&N=0&Ntk=KeywordSearch&Ntt=ruffle+cardigan&Nty=1&Ntx=mode%2Bmatchallpartial&found=4&defaultSizeType=Regular), but with all the sales LOFT has, I'm hard-pressed to pay retail for anything. I know, it's like a sickness. I have a cheapie cardigan that I wanted to make over, at least temporarily, to fulfill my ruffle madness. I actually tried this several ways before I got it to "work." First with grosgrain ribbon (too stiff) ruffled, then pleated (looked forced), and then finally a thin broadcloth ruffled. Ideally I would have a navy chiffon but I could not for the life of me find one at the local Joann's yesterday :( A few differences to note - since even thin broadcloth is thicker than chiffon, the DIY cardigan ruffles have more volume. Also, the cardigan I chose just so happens to be a full-sleeved, longer type of sweater than the cropped LOFT version. On to the step-by-step tutorial!
First, choose a cardigan to "makeover"
Choose a fabric matching your cardigan. A sheer chiffon is ideal but a thin broadcloth
like mine will also work. I personally like raw, frayed edges so I left mine alone but you can always hem / double up / use fray check on yours.
I cut my fabric into 4 strips of 48" x 3.25". The length depends on your cardi length (you want approx. 2x the length) and width depends on your preferences.
Sew a running stitch (this is a loose stitch setting on your machine) down the middle. Then pull one of the threads to start the ruffling / bunching. Be careful to pull gently, you don't want the thread to break. Also make sure that post-ruffling, the length is still long enough to run down your cardi.
You could probably do one ruffle per side but I'm ruffle crazy so I folded the 3rd and 4th ruffles in half to peek out from the full-sized ruffles.
Pin your ruffles in place. Make sure the top and bottom ends are looped to the inside of the cardi so the edges can't be seen from the front.
Sew the top and bottom down with matching thread.
Add intermittent stitches down the ruffles (my stitches are where the dimples are) to secure.
And voila, you're finished!