Dec. 2012 12

Cardigan Dress

My fiancé, Vlad, makes fun of me for having too much of three things: shoes, cardigans, and dresses. So what did I choose to do? Make a cardigan dress of course! And I love the way it turned out. I found this great heavier knit fabric on the bargain table which I paired with some scrape black knit. The black knit is so thin I actually had to double up on it so the stripe fabric wouldn’t so through. I am going to go through the tutorial as if I didn’t have to do that so it’ll be better for you.

Also, I used all different buttons, but feel free to use all the same one.

And lastly, I’m totally going to cheat for this one. I made my dress completely from scratch using my measurement. But for the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to show you an easier, more beginner friendly method. So grab your favorite fitted T and let’s do it!


I recommend grabbing some wrapping paper to use as a pattern. It’ll be easier to draw it out on paper, and then cut the fabric out.


1. Fold your shirt in half down the front to find the center seam. Mark with chalk or a pin.

2. Lay shirt flat on paper. Trace the side seam, shoulder, arm hole and opening of neck, adding 0.5” seam allowance as you go. You only need to do ½ of the shirt. Mark where center seam is.

3. Measure from your shoulders to your hips. Now measure your hips. Divide you hip measurement by 4, then add 0.5”. Mark this point on your pattern then connect the side seam.

4. Measure from hips to knees (or whatever length you want) add 1”, continue side seam from step three down to the point (straight down from hips).

5. Add 1.25” to center line.

6. Repeat steps 1-4 for back, do not add anything to the center line.

7. For the sleeve: Measure your arm hole on the 0.5” seam line (0.5” away from the edge.) Add these together then subtract 1”. This is your arch.

8. Draw out your arch like so,  I recommend using a bendy ruler, but it’s not required. Add 0.5″ about the arch.

9. Measure your sleeve length, add 1 inch. If you are making it full sleeve, taper down to 9” at the bottom. That’s about average for openings.

10. Sew body together at shoulders and side seams. I highly recommend using a surger to finish all seams, but it’s not required.

****I recommend using a zigzag stitch or lightning bolt stitch when working with knits****

11. Sew sleeves together, then attach to arm holes.

12. For the banding, I do the mitered corners as I go rather than measure them out and do them before pining to the dress, I just find it to work out better. Let me know if this isn’t clear enough and I’ll try to do an example with actual photos.

12a. Cut bias strips of accent fabric 2.5” wide.

12b. Starting at the bottom of one side, you are going to sew the bias strips to the dress with a 0.5” seam allowance. When sewing, the right side of the bias strips will be facing the WRONG side if the dress. It is important not to do it right-side to right-side because then the contrast color will end up on the inside.

12c. Stop about 3-4” from the corner and remove from machine.

12d. Complete the next few steps, it is easier to diagram it then explain it.

13. Once you have the outer edge sew (step 12,) tuck the inner edge in 0.5”, use an iron to press it makes it easier. Then top stitch (recommend zigzag or lightning bolt) to secure.

Hem the sleeves and skirt bottom by turning up 1”

14. For the pocket, I simply finished the edges of a square and sewed it on.

15. Add as many buttons as you want. I picked a bunch of different black ones because it looks neat.


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One Response to “Cardigan Dress”

  1. Danietta Lucas
    April 19th

    You’re very creative!  I love this cardigan dress!  

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