The Easy Long Cardigan, A New Staple In Your Wardrobe

easy long cardigan

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.

easy long cardigan
Sydney, Australia

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.

easy long cardigan

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

easy long cardigan

Recommended Fabrics

Pattern Download

Make sure you have the revised version.

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Download the Free Pattern

You can download the pattern for this Easy Long Cardigan from our account at Payhip.

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

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.

easy long cardigan

Step Two: Sewing the back and shouldersimg_4082

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.

img_4091Step 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.


easy long cardigan

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237 Responses to The Easy Long Cardigan, A New Staple In Your Wardrobe

  1. Ruthie Peterburg says:

    Thank you so much for this pattern. It is fantastic!

  2. Pingback: Free pattern: Easy long cardigan for fall – Sewing

  3. trifles says:

    What bust measurement do you consider a size 8, please?

  4. Deb says:

    Does the fabric need to be a stretch fabric or will it work with woven?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Deb, given the cut of the garment, a knit with some stretch would be preferable. If you do give it a go with a woven, please let me know how it turns out. I’d be curious to know.

  5. Ruth Israeli says:

    I like it and want to make it. I’m not fluent in English. where do I find the gauge/or size for cutting the jersy? what do the numbers mean?
    thank you
    ruth israeli

  6. Lesley says:

    I had a fabulous trouser suit in the 60s that had a long jacket like this. I am going to a wedding later this year and had been thinking about something like that trouser suit. I came on to my email this morning and what did I find? Thank you!

  7. Sheryl Wenstrand says:

    This will be fun to make. Thank you!

  8. Wynn says:

    A few days ago I saw a young woman wearing a long floral patterned cardigan just like this! It looked great! Patterned fabric would go with so many wardrobe items too, if the colours are right. I also saw someone with a black or navy long line jacket/cardigan. Must be a new trend. Wynn. Aus.

  9. Michele-Marie says:

    What an absolutely wonderful email to see first thing this morning! 🙂
    I am truly thankful for something so versatile which encompasses so many different body types too!
    Thank you and have a wonderful day. 🙂

  10. Charleen DiSante says:

    I love your idea. As a quilter, I’d love to do this in cotton.

  11. Karen says:

    I like the pattern thank you. I want to make with all the same fabric and may try one with tulle in the front instead of in back. I still like to my bum.

  12. Dani says:

    Is there a list of recommended fabrics? I’m looking and don’t see it anywhere.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Dani, at the bottom of the first page of the tutorial there should be some recommended fabrics. Maybe refresh the page but I think I listed six recommendations. Please have a look.

  13. Anne Weaver says:

    I love this! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow morning that features your pattern: –Anne

  14. Tammy Mattson says:

    Absolutely love this! Thank you so much

  15. Jacki Larson says:

    Quick question! I see that the pattern covers sizes 8 -22. How does this correspond to the pattern lines/ colors on the pattern? I’m looking for a size 12 – 14.

    • mccandlessquilts says:

      Once you download the PDF, view the pieces even before printing, you will see on the pattern which line correspondence with what size.

  16. Madeline says:

    Thanks for the pattern! I purchased a black one a year ago for a very specific event and now I wear it everywhere! This will save me the time and money it was going to take to find other colors that fit/flatter as well as my black one! Great story btw.

  17. Pingback: CraftCrave | DigiFree | CraftCrave

  18. mccandlessquilts says:

    Thank you so much for pattern. I bought several yards of lace last week, in three different patterns, all of which would have enough on thee bolts to make any of the lengths. I now need to finish reorganizing my sewing area.

  19. trifles says:

    Might be a typo: caption on one of your photos says “neck bidding” which I think maybe should be “neck binding”

  20. trifles says:

    Is there a size chart for this? Size 8 can mean so many things…. 😀 I did a little digging, and downloaded the pattern, but am not seeing a size chart. Thank you!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      yes I did forgot to put in, I will update the blog with the size chart but basically goes from 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 the last one.

  21. Elizabeth pruiett says:

    If I wanted to make it I size 26 could it be done?

  22. Karen K. George says:

    Both of you design such useful, wonderful things, from clothing to bags and many more. You are indeed very talented and best of all they are things that appeal to the average person. You have are very talented both and I commend both of you. Thanks for your great ideas!

  23. Bijoux Ward says:

    I like that!!! It looks more figure flattering than many I have seen in stores. I am short and hesitate to try something like that…don’t want to appear shorter.. 🙂
    I will have to look for something similar & brave it. Thank you so much for your contributions & stories.

  24. Melissa Terhune says:

    Your pattern is amazing! I have been looking for a pattern like this for ages. Simple, elegant, dress up or down. Thank you!

  25. ebmozo says:

    This is on trend now, especially for airport fashion. Wear over leggings and comfy t shirt and chic flats. You’re set to go!

  26. Jacquie Blacquiere says:

    Divine but, like so many patterns, stops at eighteen – sigh

  27. Tonya says:

    I love this. Thanks for the tutorial

  28. Mel says:

    Oh! I love this!!! Thank you for the free pattern. Looking forward to making this for myself and a mini version for my little.

  29. says:

    Thank you!

  30. Lindser says:

    Picking out fabric now! Thank you for the pattern and the so many others you’ve made available! Thinking about a high-low hem and if all goes well I’ll be making a mini version for my 3 year old! Thank you again.

  31. Peg says:

    Love this. I have a piece of fashion fabric bought at Fair some years ago. Thanks.

  32. Tove Edens says:

    A stylish, elegant cardigan with it’s long simplistic lines. Beautiful and thank you for making it available.
    In different fabrics it will be well suited for out Canadian climate which fluctuates from -30C (or more) to +30C (or more).
    With slightly wider sleves and a gauzy fabric it will be a great bathing suit cover-up and a cozy light/mid weight sweater knit, a cuddly, warm sweater for the winter chills – definitely a versatile garment.

  33. Sharlyn A says:

    Thanks for a wonderful pattern! Looking forward to making this?

  34. Karen Nelson says:

    Love the story! Thank you for this lovely pattern.

  35. Bonnie Roerdink says:

    I’d like to make this with warmth in mind. Would you suggest a few cold weather fabrics? Here in Wisconsin our winters are way below 50 degrees F. More like 0 – 30 degrees F. Thank you so much for the pattern.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Bonnie, any thing think with a 2 way stretch would work. This type of knit should be available in 4 weeks more or less, just need to remember to have the stretch to accommodate the bust.

  36. tracejackson says:

    this pattern starts at size 8 … bummer for us smaller folks. 🙁

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Sorry Trace, how small are we talking about?

      • Tiffany says:

        Hi. I also love this pattern! I am smaller too. I wear a size small, like size 2, so much smaller then the size 8. Any chance us smaller folks can get help with a pattern? Thanks!

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          Hi Tiffany, in future yes, I will have a video sew alone where I will show you how to grade up and down. Hope you tune in.

          • mccandlessquilts says:

            I can’t wait to see the video on grading. I have been learning little bits here and there on the PBS sewing programs, but they go so fast, only one of them SwN can be watched online, over and over again for those of us who need walking through the process. I want to learn, get it right, with minimal issues, so I have a tendency to go slow till I am comfortable with the process.

          • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

            Grading is not an easy thing to do, and I am learning to teach, which is why your feedback is always welcome. Let you know when it is ready for viewing on youtube.

    • Starr says:

      Again, you can grade it down, two sizes at a time.

  37. Leni says:

    I am so making this!!! It’s the beginning of Autumn and I’m looking forward to having a cardigan to match with basically everything! Thanks so much for sharing?

  38. danvillegirl says:

    Interesting back story! Nice pattern!

  39. Mary Phelan says:

    The instructions did not state how much fabric to get. Not a fan of adding the tulle, would prefer all knit.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for catching that. Have added the quantities to the post. Please check again and kind regards.

  40. Mary Phelan says:


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