Awhile ago I had seen a beautiful sweater by the company Frances Valentine that was inspired by a vintage cardigan. Everytime I scrolled by it in my Instagram feed I wanted it! But like a lot of makers I turned that desire into inspiration and decided to create my own version.

I spent some time thrifting and scouring Poshmark and Thred Up (both clothing resale websites) looking for a suitable base cardigan to stitch on. I found this JCrew wool cardigan that’s pretty close to what I was looking for.


embroidery on knit sweater
I gathered some tapestry wool purchased from Hello Bargello and played around with different color palettes, arriving at the springy combination of coral pinks, teal blues and a little yellow. Plus a nice fern green for the foliage.

The original sweater was very regimented in floral placement. I decided to make mine a bit more scattered and random. I marked the placement of each flower with a safety pin and then just started stitching!


hand embroidered flowers

I double threaded a tapestry needle and used a Lazy Daisy stitch for 5 long petals coming from a center point. Then I went back and stitched 5 more petals, a bit shorter, in between the long petals.

For the centers I stitched 3 French Knots. Then I used a Fern Stitch to create the foliage. I really feel like the leaves help ground the flowers and make the design cohesive.

Vintage look embroidered sweater


The original sweater had embroidery covering the entire front, back and sleeves, but I stopped at the front. The sweater was a little bulky to begin with and I like how it looks so I quit while I was ahead. I also considered replacing the buttons with some fun vintage ones, and I still might at some point.

This was really fun and I’d like to do more of this with another project. I’ll admit I was a bit intimidated getting started, having a big blank sweater staring at me. If you feel the same way you might want to start smaller with a knit hat or pair of wristlets, like the ones I blogged about a few months ago.