Mighty Life List
May 6 2009

DIY J Crew Astrid Sweater with Ruffles

Remember the pink sweater I started after seeing the project over at Orange Beautiful? It’s finished!

DIY Ruffled Cardigan - Mighty Girl

Is this not the grown up version of a tutu? It is quite possibly the pinkest thing I have ever owned. When I wear it, I smell like Bing cherries in a bed of warm cotton candy.

The original J Crew Version was $425, and isn’t available anymore, but I followed the step by step on Orange Beautiful to make this one.

I did things a little differently, because her version required more patience than I could muster, so here’s a run through if you want to make one for yourself. Start with a jacket or slightly boxy sweater, and then embellish it thusly:

1. Buy some fabric. The original rosettes are silk charmeause, but I chose polyester chiffon, because I wanted the flowers to be fluffy instead of cascading. You’ll need about 4 yards of whichever you choose.

2. Cut the fabric in strips and fold it to size. You want your petals to be about 4″ H x 2.5″ W. So I cut my fabric in strips, then folded the strips in half several times until I had a stack of material about the right size. This doesn’t need to be an exact science, but you want something that looks kind of like this:

3. Sew a knot in the middle of the stack to hold the pieces together, and then cut along the folds to create a grouping of square “petals.”

4. Cut the corners off the stack of squares until you have a roughly oval shape:

5. Here’s where it gets a little tedious. Take three layers of fabric at a time, bunch them by hand, and then pass the needle through a few times until you have the ruffles you want. Repeat with the next three layers and so on, until you have a finished rosette:

6. If you don’t like the effect, go back in with your needle and tease apart any layers that are too clumped or whatnot. The back of my rosettes looked like this:

7. When you have about 30 flowers, attach them to your sweater or jacket by hand. I’d wait until you’ve mostly finished the flowers to affix them, because your rosettes will get better as you go along, and you’ll want the prettiest ones up by your face, right? (I didn’t do this, and I wish I had).

8. When all the flowers are affixed, fill in any gaps by sewing down the top and bottom petals of the flowers in areas that need attention.

9. Pull away any stray threads from the flowers’ raw edges.

10. Wear your sweater around the house for a few hours, and pause to trade bon mots with imaginary dignitaries whenever you pass a mirror.

Cute! Now where am I going to wear it? Someone please get married. Thank you.

44 Responses to “DIY J Crew Astrid Sweater with Ruffles”

  • Jenn Says:

    Oh my, I am so glad I have found your blog and the courage to wear color — I am a redhead who has spent a decade or two wearing white, gray, black and occasionally green, fearful that all the pretty oranges and pinks and reds would clash. How wrong! You look totally gorgeous in this color, redheaded sister!

  • Cheri Says:

    Great job. I was raised in the south and we would totally wear that to the grocery store.

  • becky Says:

    Gorgeous! And yes, I was born and currently live in the South, and honey, you don’t need to wait for an occasion. I would wear that over to my neighbor’s house for a beer.

  • amy Says:

    that is so chic! love it. Kirtsy!

  • Poodle Says:

    Haha! I was thinking just what Cheri and Becky wrote — why wait for a wedding? Unless it’s my wedding when I make this sweater and marry it because I love it so much!

  • beyond Says:

    this is lovely -and doesn’t seem overly complicated- and that colour looks great on you!

  • Barmaid Says:

    Wow! That’s amazing! I confess, I didn’t think much of the white JCrew version, but the pink is so fun!

  • kate Says:

    It is gorgeous and that color is great on you! You should be so proud for hacking JCrew!

    I wonder, though, as someone who just might try this: won’t the rosettes fray like crazy when the sweater is washed?

  • Maggeh Says:

    The sweater is vintage cashmere picked up at a flea market, so I only dry clean it anyway. The machine would tear it apart.

  • Rachel Says:

    Wow, your version is gorgeous and I love the ease. I’ll be linking to this.

  • Annie Pazoo Says:

    Girlfriend, you look faaabulous! Love the pink :-)

  • sabrina Says:

    Wait…so how much did the DIY version cost you?
    (Cute sweater, btw.)

  • Mary @ Holy Mackerel Says:

    Wow, that’s gorgeous!!!

  • Cathe Holden Says:


    AND, I might add, you are the perfect model for it. Just gorgeous.

  • Amy Says:

    Wow – that looks fabulous!!!

  • cartoongoddess Says:

    Wow! That looks absolutely LOVELY! If I were you, I’d wear it everywhere. Why wait for the wedding? Looking fabulous is for now.

  • christina Says:

    Beautiful!!! I L-O-V-E that you made this yourself – why wait for a wedding – Just wear it around town.

  • cjh Says:

    Um, I’m getting married in August. In Texas. Hopefully you can find another reason…like it’s Thursday. Fantastic!

  • Somer Says:

    That is such a pretty and feminine sweater. I lack the talent and, more importantly, the patience to make one of my own. I agree with all of my Southern sisters. Wear that sucker to the grocery store and hang out in the produce department singing like Mary Poppins! That’s appropriate in a sweater that cute!

  • Anne Weaver Says:

    Waaaay cool!!!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing Blog: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-add-a-fluffy-chiffon-rosette-collar-to-a-cardigan/2009/05/06/

  • Maggeh Says:

    Sabrina, the sweater itself was $20 a few years ago, the fabric was $60, so $80 all together.

  • amy Says:

    I think we may have to start calling you ‘Martha’ soon ;) Gorgeous sweater!

  • perrine Says:

    I really like your how to. I was wondering if I could translate it in French and add it to my list of how to as explained in my french post (http://www.petitcitron.com/index.php/form_howto.html)
    Of course, your website would be quoted and there would be a link!
    Thank you,

  • Kathryn Says:

    This is very lovely and putting this on my “stuff to make” project list. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Caroline Says:

    So fabulous! How did you attach the flowers to the sweater? I think a little girl version of this with several different colors of flower would be really cute, too.

  • Carolyn Says:

    This is stunning. I’m going to have to try it.

  • sevedra Says:

    Beautiful! And it sounds pretty easy. I mean, time consuming and possibly grueling, but not too hard for a semi-sewer to accomplish.

    And yeah, we in the South would wear that just anywhere. I wish I had it on right now in the coffee shop!

  • mel Says:

    LOVE it! I’m going to add this to my project list. Should have one of my own in 20-30 years :)

  • dani Says:

    Gorgeous. I will keep all this information for when I don’t live in Southern California with one-million degree weather year-round. I love the color.

  • Dawn Says:

    Maggie!! This is so beautiful!! You did a fantastic job, and as always, you totally rock this style.

  • dgm Says:

    Just about the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen. And come on! In San Francisco? You could wear that to the nearest tacqueria or bookstore or bar or park.

    You should be patting yourself on the back for that one.

  • Heather B. Says:

    That’s the greatest. I’ve been waiting for you to finish and though I cannot sew to save my life, I want one too.

  • Maggeh Says:

    Perrine, go for it.

    Also, I obviously need to move to the South. You should see all the forlorn flouncy sundresses in my closet.

  • Jenn Says:

    Where do you find the time Maggie? Amazing.

  • Susan Says:

    I have my face mashed up against my screen for a closer look. Good god that is beautiful.

    Now someone just needs to get out to the flea market and find me a sweater … Any volunteers?

  • ambika Says:

    It looks amazing and I adore the color on you–vibrant colors look fantastic with your coloring.

    I have to say, I was partially inspired by that cardigan DIY–only with a different J.Crew product–a trench with a ruffle at the collar. I’d feel sorry for them if their prices weren’t so high!

  • HollowSquirrel Says:

    WOW that is gorgeous! I want I want!

  • Rebecca Says:

    That is so beautiful. But how will you wash it?

  • April Says:

    That is so pretty! I want to make one!

    By the way, you and everyone else who might make this should know that the easiest way to cut strips, or any straight line, in chiffon is to tear it. Just cut a 1/2″ or so snip in the selvedge, then grasp the fabric on either side of the snip and pull. You will have a perfectly straight cut!

  • geek+nerd Says:

    Gorgeous – and way more awesome than spending $425!

  • Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy Says:

    It turned out so beautifully. I think I’ll try it. Where did you get the plain sweater beneath?

  • * TONYA * Says:

    That is gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful.

  • perrine Says:

    Thank you very much for your answer.
    I worked on it and you can find the translation here : http://www.petitcitron.com/index.php/Vetements-de-femmes/Ruche-de-veste.html
    Don’t hesitate to give me your feedback!
    Kind regards,

  • Sara Says:

    No need for a special occasion, this looks as fabulous with a T and jeans as it would with a nice dress. Wear it whenever you want!