Transformable Easy Cardigan: Dressing in Layers

easy cardiganDressing in layers with an easy cardigan was what was on people's mind the day I took the survey on our Facebook chat group.  With almost 30,000 members, it's sometimes hard to find a consensus, but this time, I happened to agree with what the group seemed to be saying.

There are a lot of things to like about cardigans.  It can be a very functional garment and suitable for many situations.  It's also very nice to wear when just hanging around the house.  Wearing a cardigan to protect the lining of a coat is one of the best money saving tips on dry cleaning bills.  Based on the feedback, I decided to design a pattern for a short, easy but transformable cardigan.  I decided to call it Kalinda.

easy cardiganI haven't lived in a cold place for a very long time, but I still remember the feeling of nakedness after removing my coat when I enter a building.  It is almost always too warm to keep the coat, but then I feel I am not dressed enough if I am not wearing a cardigan.  This easy cardigan is transformable, and depending on what fabric you use, it can be casual or elegant.

easy cardigan

This transformable easy cardigan can be worn medium-long or tied up short.  The collar/lapel becomes a hoodie for an even more informal, yet exceedingly practical look.  The sleeves are long with elegant thumb notches to keep the sleeves all the way to your wrists, or the sleeves can push up.  This is an original design of mine and I think it covers a lot of ground which is why I say it is transformable.  Please free to explore with different fabrics, it is truly an easy cardigan to make and wear.

easy cardiganeasy cardigan

We also have a few other options for cardigans if you are looking for a longer version.  Here is one we originally published in 2014 called the Cuddle Me Cardy, or a long cardigan we published back in October this year called the Easy Long Cardigan.

Cuddle Me Cardy – cardigan sewing pattern pattern and tutorial

The Easy Long Cardigan, A New Staple In Your Wardrobe

Key Features:

  • Front drape doubles as a hoodie
  • You can tie at the front
  • You can cross it over and tie at the back
  • Elegant or casual depending on the fabric you use.



Recommended Fabrics:

I am using a bamboo knit in blue a super soft great drape fabric and a jersey knitted fabric in military green.  The jersey knit will be a challenge because it unravels very easily.  I don't recommend this type of fabric to a beginner but it is beautiful.  This is not because I think beginners are not capable of making this cardigan.  I say it because beginners are afraid to try different fabrics.  So please try and with whatever fabric you choose.  Just make sure it's a four-way stretch knit fabric.  There are a couple of good fabric recommendations below.easy cardigan

Pattern Download

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Download the Free Pattern

You can download the pattern for this Easy Cardigan Pattern for Non-Knitters from our account at Payhip.

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

Pattern Layout

easy cardigan

Standard Body Measurements

Use these measurements to choose the right size to your easy cardigan.  It is supposed to be loosely fitted except for the sleeves.  Remember that the front drape can also become a hoodie.

S 6-8
M 10-12
L 14-16
XL 18-20
XXL 22-24

Step One: Preparing the fabric for your easy cardigan

My recommendation when working with knits is always to lay the fabric the night before and work on it the next day.  I find when I do this there are no ripples or bubbles in my stitches.

TIP:  If you are using a super slippery knit like bamboo jersey.  Lay a large cotton fabric, or a tablecloth and then lay the jersey.  This will stop the slippery fabric from moving around so much.  I know that many people say cut the fabric between layers of paper……I just find that this technique dulls my scissors.  But do what you think works for you best.

Place the front drape of the cardigan on the selvage.  In other words, use the selvage edge at the end of the drape.  We need the selvage to make sure the fabric is going to lay absolutely straight.

Step Two: Sewing the back

We will be starting to sew the cardigan from the back.  Pin the sides and sew at 3/8″.  Serge the seam allowances.  Fuse stretchable interfacing at the shoulder seams.

easy cardigan

Pin the ribbing to the back and sew at 3/8″ serge or zigzag the seam allowance.easy cardigan

Step Three:  Sewing the front

Pin the sides and sew at 3/8″.  Use your serger or zigzag to seal the seam allowance.easy cardiganeasy cardigan

The next step might get a bit confusing because of the shape of the neckline.

The part that gathers at the back is also what can be used as a hood.  This is the part that we need to sew before we can proceed.

easy cardigan

Sew at 3/8″ and zigzag or use your serger.  Notice the seam allowance rippling a bit.  I will use a cloth and a lot of steam to iron my seams but, I will do it at the end to avoid over handling the fabric. easy cardigan

Step Four: Attaching the back

Open the piece you just sewed with the seams showing or right side down.
easy cardigan

Get you back piece and make sure you have applied stretchable fusible interfacing.  Find the middle of the back neckline by folding the back piece and place a pin there.easy cardigan

Pin the back to the neckline and sew at 3/8″.  Finish the seam with a three-step zig-zag or a serger.easy cardigan

Step Five:  Attaching the sleeves

Attach fusible stretchable interfacing to the hem on the sleeves.  Serge or zigzag the sleeves seam allowances.  Mark the back of the sleeve so you know what way the sleeve must be sewn.  I will use a pin because my fabric unravels very easily so I can't make a notch.

Spread the cardigan wrong side up, or with the seams showing.  The front and back will be on the sides and the armhole in front of you. On the picture below, the back is on the right and the front is on the left. easy cardiganPin the sleeve to the armhole starting at the ends. Sew the sleeve to the armhole at 3/8″.

easy cardigan

Step Six: Finishing the easy cardigan

By now you should have one crazy piece of work.  Don't get lost.  I recommend, but it is not essential, to add stretchable fusible interfacing strips 1/2″ wide to the hems of the cardigan.  This is to prevent the notorious wave look of some knit fabrics when sewn.  Please practice on a scrap of fabric to avoid ruining the cardigan at this advanced stage of the project.

There are a few ways to tackle the hem.  Use the interfacing with a ballpoint needle and a straight stitch.  You can also try a walking foot and a regular needle.  Or a twin needle and fusible stretchable interfacing.

Of course, if you have a cover stitch machine, then you are the “Queen of Sewing” already and I've got nothing to say to you as I simmer here in Singapore turning the color of the project.  Pure envy!  Yes I know it's a sin.  Someday I too will get a coverstitcher…

I'm opting for the jersey twin needle, fusible stretchable interfacing, and my serger.  Sounds complicated, but it's not.  The hem will look like I made it with a cover stitch sewing machine (almost..).

Add fusible stretchable interfacing on the front and the sleeves hem, as well as the neckline.  easy cardiganeasy cardigan1.   Fold the neckline seam allowance 3/8″ and using your twin jersey needle sew the edge of the neckline.

easy cardigan  2.  Fold the hemline 3/8″ and sew using your twin needle.

easy cardigan

3.  The last seam you are going to make is the side seam.  Start sewing from the hemline to the sleeve.

4.  This step is optional, the sleeves are slightly longer.  So the sleeves and stop 4″ from the hemline.  Leave an opening of 2″, and continue sewing until the hem of the sleeve. 

This opening is to insert your thumb through it.  Sew a straight stitch around the opening. Fold the hemline of the sleeve at 3/8″ and using your twin needle sew the hemline.

This is how the side seam should look like.

There are at least three ways to wear the cardigan.  I could argue that there is a 4th way, however, I will let you discover it.  Send me a picture and I promise to share it on the site.

Until next time!


easy cardigan

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85 Responses to Transformable Easy Cardigan: Dressing in Layers

  1. Melissa says:

    Could you please please please repost? The link redirects to your home page instead of downloading PDF. Thank you!!

  2. Kim Conner says:

    The pattern link takes me to The link seems to be broken.


    My wife would really love to get this pattern, but the link is broken. We’ve tried to download it using Apple and android devices but it will not work. Is there another way to get it? Please help me put a smile on her face.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    What is the measurement for the sizes of? Is it the bust measurement or waist?

  5. Shirene Iesalnieks says:

    Can I use a 4-way stretch sweater fabric for this?

  6. Tierra says:

    Hi there, is this pattern only available in pdf? Im not able to print it but will love to order it!!!!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hello Tierra, lovely name by the way, it is for now. You can save in a thumb drive and take it to a copy place for printing or to a public library some of them do perform printing for a small fee.

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  8. Verna says:

    I think I really like the look of this versatile cardio pattern. Can’t wait to make it. Thanks so much for all of your generosity and love Debi too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  9. Cindi Johnson says:

    I have looked and can’t see the measurements for the sizes. Such as bust 42 is a large

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      42 around the bust is in between, in some countries it is 16 in others 18, I would suggest go for L if the person has an hourglass figure if not go for XL. Hope that helps.

  10. Barb F says:

    I’d like to see how you styled the back when you wrap it. Is it tied? Is it tucked? Thanks

  11. PPat says:

    Love it! Thanks!!!

  12. rach says:

    Hi, I am confused on how to assemble this cardigan. Why is there only one Side Front and where do I sew it to? The pictures are too zoomed in for me to comprehend. πŸ™ I am pretty sure I have the back done; the four pieces; however, I am completely suck after that. Please help! Thanks!

  13. Sara says:

    I cannot find a 4-way stretch knit fabric locally (I prefer to handle my fabrics rather than buying online). Can this be used with a 2-way stretch knit?

  14. gardenrealm says:

    I love the idea of this cardigan but am struggling to following th instructions and am pretty much guessing as i go. Did anyone else have any problems instructions?

    • Sarah says:

      Yes, I am not finding any instructions for this pattern, as to, which pieces should I sew together first? Why am I only cutting one “side front”? What am I supposed to do with the “Back ribbing”? I am a beginner and though I got the patterns printed out, I see no directions. I would love some help too. Thank you!

    • Sarah says:

      Oh yeah, and also, where do the two strips go that we are supposed to cut out that do not have a pattern? I would appreciate your instruction. Thanks so much!

      • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

        Hi Sarah they they become the binding for the front and neckline, please see the picture.

  15. Vera says:

    Hi there, I couldn’t find the info whether I have to add seam allowances to the pattern or if it is already included?

    Many thanks!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Vera, the seam allowance on this cardigan is already added for you. The patterns that do not have any seam allowance is because we will be using them on a new series of tutorials soon to come out.

  16. Andrea Letourneau says:

    Just completed making up this pattern using some sweaterknit fabric I have had in my stash for a very long time (more than a decade). I did a full bust adjustment to make it fit better on me. I think for next version I’ll make it from a lighter knit with a bigger “hood” & an additional 3″ length.

  17. Rachie Bull says:

    Hi there!
    Just a couple of questions. What is ‘stretchable fusible interfacing’? We don’t seem to have that here in Australia but I thought it might be called something else?
    And could you please explain about the ribbing on the back? Is it in place of hemming? Is it folded over and serged? It’s not very clear.
    Thanks for your time and all your beautiful patterns ?

  18. LeeAnne Bradley says:

    There is not an option to go to the second page, where the pattern is !

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  21. It said to cut two pieces 4×22 inches that werent in the pattern. What are those for? I didnt see them mentioned in the directions for sewing.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Where in the instructions did you see this? Are you sure you are in the right tutorial?

      • Karen Taylor says:

        After downloading the pattern, it’s at the end of the printing instructions. It’s been left from an old pattern. It confused me a few downloads ago. Now I ignore it.

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          HI Karen, finally I found what you meant, yes there is that line about the 2 straps. Please disregard. I thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  22. Damjana says:


    this cardigan pattern is just amazing. So versatile, love the design. And just can’t believe you are giving it away for free! This one could easily become the new most popular pattern here at So Sew Easy. Thanks – and happy holidays!

  23. designbysue says:

    Is this a free pattern? I do not see the link to get it. Thanks!

  24. Hey Mayra, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    It’s my first time landing on your blog and I really like the pattern you shared. Going to try it soon.

  25. Kate says:

    Thanks so much for another excellent pattern. Just what I’ve been looking for with some great bonus features built in. I’m in Canada and always looking for good layering pieces when the cold weather hits. Not only will I make this in the suggested light bamboo knits, I’m thinking light/medium wool sweater knit and also light/medium stretch polar fleece. This is going to the top of my selfish sewing list!

  26. kathy says:

    Love it! Will be perfect with a dress that needs a jacket of some sort. And these are so stylish right now.

  27. Donna Gamble says:

    This pattern looks great. I think it would be great for mums with bubs who’d like to snuggle their babies in close when feeding or simply cuddling. The only problem is that I can’t find the link to download it. Can you help, please?

  28. carmen says:

    thanks for the lovely pattern, it’s perfect when you need to hide some extra pounds as I do !
    where can we find the actual bust/waist measurements corresponding to the sizes ?
    thank you,

  29. Juli Simpson says:

    Never mind. I just found it. I guess I need larger numbers. Thank you.

  30. Juli Simpson says:

    Where is the next page for the pattsrn? I would love one of these! Thank you for sharing.

  31. Jennette says:

    I love the pattern, but cannot get to the tutorial.I’ve tried Mozilla and Explorer and don’t see how to get to the next webpage.

  32. Marlette Louisin says:

    Very current. I’ve seen similar styles online but don’t like the prices they charge! Thank you for sharing this great pattern!! I have a feeling my DiLs and DGDs are going to be asking for one!!
    Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year

  33. Brenda Thompson says:

    Thank you for the pattern. So nice of you to give this away.

  34. Bobbie says:

    I really like the versatie ways to wear this cardi. Thank you for such wonderful patterns.

  35. What a great pattern, think the thumb link will make this perfect for my wheelchair.
    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this and so many patterns for free.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Lucy, England

  36. Lodi says:

    I can’t get to the 2nd page to get the pattern…

  37. Rosalie Neufeld says:

    Looks like a great cardigan!

  38. Judy Spooner says:

    Love this cardi and thank you for the pattern. I will be giving it a try in the new year. So much you can do with it and so practical at the same time. Wonderful.

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