DIY: Low Budget, High Style

Last week, I told you about the brand Lingua Franca, whose dainty cashmere sweaters with embroidered phrases have been the talk of Hollywood lately. If you are anything like me, you have been dying to get your hands on one of your own. Unfortunately, I do not have an extra $380 to spend on a new sweater, no matter how much I love the message or the brand.

But, what I did have is an old Joe Fresh cashmere sweater from a few years back that I snagged for probably $40. I had not worn it in years, but thought that if I added something to it to bring it back to life I may wear it more.

So, I started my project. I dug out my old sweater, which was a lightweight cream cashmere, as well as some supplies that I luckily already had. To make your own version of the Lingua Franca sweater, you need a wooden embroidery hoop, some thin yarn or embroidery thread, a needle (with a large opening for the yarn), some safety pins and a pair of scissors.


For me, deciding what to put on the sweater was pretty much the hardest part. Finally, I settled on “perfectionist,” a word that sums me up nicely. (Other ideas included: Indecisive, Raindrops on Roses, Dancing Queen and more. The possibilities are endless.)

I would recommend using chalk to sketch out your words on your sweater before you start stitching. However, since my sweater is white and I do not own chalk, I decided to write it out on paper first as a guide and mark the middle, top, bottom and sides so I stayed within a reasonable boundary.


For this project, I taught myself how to do a back stitch, which was easy and quick and looks almost exactly like the method Lingua Franca uses. I set my hoop and started stitching. There really was not a right or wrong way to do this, so just start and have fun with it.



This was a great reminder that perfection takes time, but the project was a fun and relaxing way to spend some time over the weekend. Once I got over the fact that my stitches would not all be uniform, I had some fun mimicking the style of Lingua France with their whimsical lettering.



Overall, I am pretty pleased with the result and definitely think I will be bringing this sweater back into my wardrobe this spring.

Caroline Sheridan

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