Cardigan Pattern for Many Occasions, Proteus: Part 1

Proteus? ….eye roll here… what is she thinking?… Well, exactly what the title says.  This is the cardigan pattern for many occasions.  One pattern and many ways to use it.

I don't know about you but I need clothes that I can convert into many outfits.  The same goes for the patterns.  One pattern that I can alter to make many outfits, especially now with Halloween and the rest of the seasonal holidays just around the corner.  There are plays, Thanksgiving meals, Christmas parties, birthdays, work meetings, all of which will probably require a slightly different dress.  There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the things I need to get done.  Including the million ideas I have for all the fabric, I have collected.

You might recall this fabric from my recent fabric hunting in Estonia –a lovely linen jersey knit.  It is bottle green and I am loving the lines.  I can't find this exact fabric anywhere now but I've left you a few similar suggestions below from Please check them out.

cardigan pattern

I know the name of the pattern, Proteus, sounds a bit “manly”, but allow me to explain.

According to Greek mythology, Proteus was a sea god that could foretell the future, but would only do so for those that were strong enough.  Proteus would change shape to avoid doing so and engage only with the deserving ones.  He was often described as the god of “elusive sea change”.  Like Proteus, this cardigan is versatile, adaptable, and flexible.

cardigan pattern

Yes, I guess you already see where I am going with this.  This is another sew-along.  We will be using one pattern for many looks and will be going over pattern transformation to change the sleeves, shorten and add a fur collar, and a zipper in the front.  This pattern and tutorial will allow you to make the full, complete garment while future editions of the sew-along will allow you to modify and customize the pattern to your own preferences.

How to make use of your cardigan pattern

On this first occasion, we are going to make a two-piece bishop sleeve.  It is my favorite sleeve, it adds elegance without hanging so low that the sleeve goes into your soup.  You will see this sleeve a lot in the next few seasons since 1940's fashion is the “it” look of next season.

cardigan pattern

The cardigan pattern is an A-line shape meant to be worn crossed with a belt or over loose on the hips.  Perfect for concealing a few kilos without being frumpy.

This pattern is most suited to an hourglass, rectangle, and inverted triangle shapes and oval shape.   However, inverted triangles and ovals may have to make the sleeves on muslin and see if the proportions do not make you wider at the lower end of your body.  If you require a bigger size please wait for the appropriate article on how to increase this pattern.  If you're not familiar with some of these body shape terms, please refer back to this article:

Body Shape

Pay special attention to the finished garment measurements shown below, and make sure you fall within no less than 2″ from your chosen size.

There is an additional piece you need to trace on paper for the neckline.  It is the same technique I used on the easy long cardigan so please refer back to this tutorial if you need more guidance.

easy long cardigan

The Proteus Cardigan is meant to drape loosely around your body but will follow the curves of your body if you choose to wear a belt.  For an example of a great accessory to add to this look, have a go at this tutorial and pattern a  belt with grommets and a bonus secret pocket.

boho chic belt

I am showing you a size Large on a medium mannequin to give you an idea.  Use it belted but open in the front for a color block look.  Very slimming on a curvy girl.

cardigan pattern


  • 1 3/4″ yards 60″ inches wide of Linen or Cotton Jersey Knit, bamboo or Rayon knit (four-way stretch only) no fleece, please
  • Thread to match
  • 8 to 12 inches of 1/4″ elastic


Fabric Recommendation from

Pattern Layout

cardigan pattern

Pattern Download

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Download the Free Pattern

You can download the pattern for this Cardigan Pattern from our account at Craftsy.

For help downloading and printing PDF patterns, please CLICK HERE.

How to print the Proteus cardigan pattern:

Use Adobe Reader to download and open the pattern, to print your cardigan pattern size, print on Actual Size, and Landscape form.  Do not scale the pattern.

Notice that page 25-26-27 and 28 are empty, there is no need to print them.

Finished Measurements

Bust 33″ 37″ 41″ 44″ 48″
Waist 39″ 43″ 47″ 51″ 55″
Hem Width 63″ 67″ 71″ 73″ 77″

Step One: Sewing the shoulder

Sew the shoulders at 3/8″.  Put the cardigan on to test the shoulder length.  There should be 3/4″ to one inch from your neck base to the raw edge of the cardigan.  The shoulder seam should fall directly on top of your shoulder bone, where the arm meets the shoulder.

Step Two: Sew the top of the sleeve

Remember when I said we would be making a two-piece bishop sleeve.  You will be sewing the top part of the two pieces of the sleeve.  Use a 3/8″ seam to sew the top of the sleeve.  Once again try on the cardigan to see how the sleeve looks on you.

Step Three: Sew the sides

Pin from the sleeves all the way to the hem, sew at 3/8″.

Step Four: Making the neck binding

Measure the front length of your cardigan including the neck.  It will be between 40 to 45 inches plus two inches.

Sew the strips together.  Fold them in half to make a very long strip.  Align the center stitch in the middle of the back neck and pin.  Using your serger or overlocker start sewing from one side passing along the neckline to the other side.

Cut off the surplus material.

Step Five: Sew the bottom of the sleeve

Take one of the rectangles and sew on the shortest side to create a tube.

Gather one of the sides of the that will become the bottom of the sleeve and sew at 5/8″.  For now, and since you are using a cheap fabric use the dental floss technique.  Very fast and good for this purpose.

Quick and easy gathering with Dental Floss!

Working with the cardigan sleeve with the print side out insert the sleeve, print facing each other pin and sew at 5/8″.  Reduce the seam allowance to 3/8″ with your overlocker.

At this point do notice you have a gathered bell sleeve.   Serge the raw edge of the side where you will be placing the elastic turn and sew at 3/8″ or leave it as it is.   If you like this look proceed to Step five.

Take your elastic and cut it 10 to 14 inches depending on the size of your wrist.  If you want the sleeve a bit wider, then allow more elastic.  Sew the elastic to make a loop. Then place the loop at 3/8″ from the edge/hem of the sleeve.  Fold the edge/hem over the elastic and sew the hem down, be careful not to catch the elastic.  The way to avoid this is to pull the elastic while you sew.

cardigan pattern cardigan pattern cardigan pattern cardigan pattern

Continue to sew the hem while encasing the elastic.

Step Six: Hem your cardigan

Serge the bottom of the cardigan then fold the hem and sew at 3/8″.  Try not to pull the fabric while you are sewing or the hem will become wavy.

If you do not have an overlocker, use a small three-step zigzag.  All basic sewing machines should have this stitch.

As you can see, however, I have chosen not to hem my cardigan.  I have found the fabric buckles a lot and if I use a strip of stretchable fusible interfacing will make the hem rather thick.  In any case, I like the way the rough edge looks.

It is that easy to finish!

Next week I will be showing you how to alter this cardigan pattern and will be showing you another look for your autumn wardrobe.

The Hooded Cardigan with Pockets, Proteus: Part 2

As always, leave in the comment below of what type of alterations you would like to see for this pattern and a photo of your creation.  If you get stuck anywhere, just snap a pic on your iPhone and attach it to your comment.  That will make it easy for me to help guide you.

cardigan pattern

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4 Responses to Cardigan Pattern for Many Occasions, Proteus: Part 1

  1. ~elf says:

    This is a lovely pattern–thank you!

    I would like to note that I find it easier to add elastic by: 1) sew the casing itself (sans elastic), leaving ~1″ gap; 2) using a bodkin, safety pin, or bobby pin, thread elastic into the casing, making sure not to twist elastic; 3) mark the proper length–pin & try if needed–then cut elastic to fit; 4) scrunch all the fabric to the middle of the elastic band and sew the elastic ends together; 5) stitch the gap closed; 6) distribute gathers evenly. Done!

    This way, it’s super fast & easy to sew a straight seam without puckers or worrying about catching the elastic, and you can easily modify the elastic length by pinning and trying on before you commit and close the seam. 🙂

  2. Dallas says:

    LOVE this versatile and doable style! Was dreaming of just such a garment coming in to my life soon. Just a few of these can be the foundation for a complete winter wardrobe, just change accessories! Thank you so much, saved me HOURS of shopping hoping to find such a cardigan. May Blessings come your way!

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