How to refashion a jumper into a cardigan

jumper to cardigan refashion

I love cardigans. They are wardrobe work-horses: easy to layer, easy to dress up or down and as useful on cold Winter days as chilly Summer evenings.

As it happens, I inherited this cream-coloured, woollen pullover from my Grandmother about a year ago. And while I had used it quite a lot as it was, what I really wanted was a cardigan. So why not refashion it?

Want to try it yourself? Here is how I did it:


Jumper to cardigan, step-by-step


1. Centre front

Find the centre of the jumper by measuring across the top and bottom. Draw a line or sew a seam of basting stitches to mark the centre front line.

2. Zigzag & cut

On either side of the centre front line, sew a seam of zigzag stitches. I used a 3-step zigzag stitch. This step ensures that the fabric doesn’t unravel once cut, but it may not be necessary if your jumper is a tightly knit wool.

A little tip to avoid stretched out, wavy seams when sewing with knit fabrics: try reducing the pressure of the pressure foot on your sewing machine.

Cut along the centre front line, between the two zigzag seams.

3. Button band

Attach a band of cotton ribbon or bias binding to the back on each side. This helps stabilize the button band when you later sew buttonholes and buttons.

I used bias binding. You then line up the cut edge of the jumper and the raw edge of the bias binding so that right sides are facing, leaving an extra 2-3 cm of bias binding at the top and bottom. Sew a seam along the fold line of the bias binding. Next, fold under the ends at the top and bottom, and fold the whole binding to the back. Pin and press. Finally, sew the band in place by hand for a neat, invisible finish. Do the same for the other side.

If you are new to bias binding, take a look at this tutorial. The same principle holds here, except that you are sewing a straight seam instead of joining for a neck line, and finally attaching the band by hand instead of by machine.

4. Buttonholes and buttons

Mark where you want your buttons, and sew the buttonholes.

My top buttonhole is a bit wonky due to the extra bulk of fabric at the collar. To avoid a similar problem, you could move the buttonhole further down, or sew it by hand.

Finally, sew on your buttons, and you are done!

Congratulations, a cardigan!