Free cardigan sewing pattern for beginners

This free step-by-step tutorial shows you how to sew a cardigan, step by step, with no pattern needed as you'll make it to fit your measurements.

How to sew a cardigan pattern

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.

This cardigan pattern tutorial was created by Portia Lawrie for issue 12 of Simply Sewing magazine.

Easy Cardigan Sewing Pattern Free

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.

H0w to sew a cardigan


Step 1

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.

How to make a cardigan step 1


Step 2

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

How to make a cardigan step 2

Step 3

How to make a cardigan step 3
With right sides (RS) together pin one of the front pieces to the back piece down the length.


Step 4

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

How to make a cardigan step 4

Step 5

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 make a cardigan step 5

Step 6

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

How to make a cardigan step 6

Step 7

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 make a cardigan step 7

Step 8

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

How to make a cardigan step 8

Step 9

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 make a cardigan step 9

Step 10

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

How to make a 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.

Cardigan Pattern Sewing Tutorial