This easy long cardigan is very minimalistic and streamlined –perfect for the busty girl. I have used tulle in the back to add a bit of drama but it is completely optional and you could use the same knit fabric to make the project even simpler. This is a super easy project. You'll see that there isn't a long tutorial because the design and construction are so simple.
The easy long cardigan is a design that has been around since the sixties. A favorite of women who have to step out in their pajamas to drop the kids at school. At least that is what we see in the movies, isn't it? The fact is that it is a staple in women's wardrobes. Worn with leggings and a tank top or shorts and heels, it is the perfect accessory to hide your bottom. Yes, you read right.
There's a little backstory to this design that I'd like to share with you. I was living in Sydney, Australia in 2001 when my mother came to visit. As far as I can recall, my mother never has never worn pants before that. In Sydney, winter weather is usually glorious except for a couple of weeks when it can get down to 10 degrees C or 50 degrees F and it's often windy. As you can imagine, coming from tropical Panama, my mom's wardrobe was not adequate, so we went in search of warmer clothes.
I had jeans in mind, but she refused to wear them. Her reasons shocked me. She said my father had told her 30 years back that she did not look good on pants. Determined to prove him wrong, I invited my mother to sit with me at a cafe and watch the people walking by. The women in Sydney were comfortable in jeans. That is what she saw and I was pleased. However, she was still hesitant to give it a try, so I made her an easy long cardigan. This would keep her warm and provide her somewhat I personally felt was unnecessary– modesty. It did the trick and she's literally worn that same easy long cardigan (and pants..) ever since. I wanted to share the concept with you. Let's call it Sydney.
Key Features of the Easy Long Cardigan:
- Mid-calf but can be lengthened or shortened
- No buttons or belt giving a slimming and very elegant look
- Sizes 8 to 18
- Adaptable to a printed or plain fabric
- Super easy to sew
- Thin cotton or rayon knit jersey (only). 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 yards depending on size. Please print the pattern to make sure you have enough fabric.
- Soft tulle to match the color of the jersey. 1 yard.
- Woven fusible tricot. I used Pellon.
- Sewing machine
- Double twin jersey needle. I prefer Schmetz.
- Jersey needle
- Cover stitch sewing machine (optional)
- or Serger
Finished Garment Measurements
Make sure you have the revised version.
Step One: Preparing the fabric.
Lay the fabric on a flat surface and let it rest overnight. The resting time allows the fabric to relax if it is overstretched. Apply fusible tricot to the armholes, shoulders, and neck.
Step Two: Sewing the back and shoulders
Place the back yoke print side down, pin the tulle and sew at 5/8″ using your serger. It is possible to make this long cardigan using only your sewing machine by using a stretchable stitch. Some machines have a stitch that resembles a serger. Check your manual for the best stitch possible.
For a bit more background on sewing stretchy knits, please check out our article on the topic linked below:
Step Three: Sewing the sleeves and sides
Before you cut the fabric, measure the sleeves and the shoulder to determine whether you are happy with the length of the sleeve. I have designed it so it is shorter on the sleeves because of housework and the fact I work with my hands all the time and do not what the sleeves on the way. Please make the necessary adjustments should you require a longer length.
Place the two notches of the sleeves to the back and align the middle notch of the sleeve to the shoulder seam.
Sew the sides of the cardigan and close the sleeve.
Step Four: The neck binding
Cut two 4″ wide strips of fabric the length of the cardigan from the middle of the neck to the hem. You can measure this off the pieces you have already sewn.
Sew both strips right sides together and end to end at 5/8″ to make one long binding. Serge the seam allowance to eliminate the bulk. Fold lengthwise and pin the center seam of the binding to the center of the neckline.
Start sewing from the center of the neckline to the hem.
Step Five: Hemming the long cardigan
Change your machine to a twin needle. Fold the hem 5/8″ and sew very slowly. Do not stretch the fabric at all. Let your machine do all the work. Or you can use of cover stitch machine if you have one.
If you need some more guidance about how to use a twin needle, please check out our tutorial linked below:
In five easy steps, it is possible to have a very stylish cardigan. Worn with leggings and a tank top, it has become my go-to outfit to rush out of the house to pick something or someone. It is the perfect car ride outfit or for a long haul overnight flight. As for my mother, she uses her easy long cardigan with straight pants or jeans but hiding her bum is no longer the reason. She is turning 70 in a couple of months and she's no longer concerned about what people think.