How to sew a no-pattern-cardi

How to sew a no-pattern cardigan

Ouch! This week’s semi final of The Great British Sewing Bee had us squirming as we watched the contestants grapple with their trickiest pattern-cutting challenges yet. If you’re not quite ready to take on high-end pattern play, but you’re still itching to have a go at making your own made-to-measure garment, then we’ve got the perfect project for you!

This free step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make an easy-sew cardigan, with no pattern needed! It was created by Portia Lawrie for issue 12 of Simply Sewing. We’ll show you how to make a flattering, jersey knit cardigan with a draped effect and no pattern in sight. Read on to find out how.

Easy sew cardigan tutorial detail

You will need

  •  Knit fabric: 2m (80in) x 150cm (60in) width
  • Basic sewing kit

Choosing your fabric

Select a light to medium-weight sweater knit or jersey that hangs nicely. This stretch jersey knit is from and has a ‘slubby’ loose knit texture and subtle metallic sheen. The key here is the drape. If the fabric is heavier, then the folds will stand out more, rather than drape in a fluid way.

Making the cardigan

Step one Start by cutting a rectangle that is as wide as your back shoulder measurement, and as long as you want your finished cardigan to be. This one measures 82cm (32in) in length. This will be the back piece of your cardigan.


Step two Cut two front pieces to the same length as the back piece, but the width needs to be 18cm (7in) wider.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 2

Step three With right sides (RS) together pin one of the front pieces to the back piece down the length.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 3

Step four Measure 15cm (6in) down this edge and mark with a horizontal pin.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 4

Step five Measure 20cm (8in) down from that pin and mark with another pin. Remove any pins in between to create an armhole opening. Repeat on the other side.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 5

Step six Overlock or sew together, leaving the armholes you marked open.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 6

Step seven The sleeves are two tubes cut from rectangles of fabric and sewn along the edge. When sewn they should be the same circumference as your armhole and your chosen sleeve length. Cut two to these measurements.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 7

Step eight Insert the sleeves RS together into the armholes and sew together.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 8

Step nine I used the fabric selvedge for the outer edge of the cardigan fronts and the sleeve hems, meaning I didn’t need to hem those. I like the raw effect If you are using a fraying knit, then finish any raw edges.

how to sew an easy cardigan step 9

Step ten Wear loose or knot the front corners at hip level for a different draped effect!

how to sew an easy cardigan step 10

You now have one handmade cardigan to show off to your friends! , We’d love to see your finished creation – share your photos with the tag #simplysewingmag.For more easy sewing projects like this one,  why not brighten up your post box and subscribe to Simply Sewing?

Easy sew cardigan tutorial back