Marie-France here, ready to teach you how to turn that Serene Sweater into a cardigan! When I saw the handkerchief hem, I thought to myself that this pattern would also look great as a cardi! And thus, I set out to hack the pattern into one. Below are the steps I followed to make that happen.
First, grab your front piece. You’ll notice in pictures mine has already been modified to fit me correctly (as I am 6’2 so I needed to lengthen the pattern)—I also wanted to cut both the handkerchief and the curved hems, so I have some additional notes on my patterns because I traced the curved hem on some other paper and interchanged them with the top of the bodice. For clarity, I took a red marker to make it easier to follow the new marks I’m adding to my pieces.
I knew that I wanted to have a nice wide band, and since the top piece is meant to be cut on the fold I figured if I left the full width, it would be too much to add a band to. So, I started by measuring 2 inches away from the edge and I traced that:
You want to do this all the way up. Since the edge is nice and straight, I started off just drawing a straight line two inches away from the edge. Next, I wanted to follow the curve of the collar. I used my ruler to measure the two inches at intervals, placing dots so I could then draw the curve:
Next, because I wanted my band to be continuous, I had to remove the corner at the top edge, so I placed my ruler to draw a diagonal line from the top neckline to the side. I was careful not to make it too steep as I wanted to have wider fabric around the chest area, so I kept an eye on the chest line marking of the pattern (the dotted lines a couple inches lower) when deciding where to draw my diagonal line:
After I drew that line, I smoothed it out and made the edge rounder instead of sharp:
Next step: cut along the line you just traced and remove the excess!
Then we want to do similar with the back piece—the back piece only needs the neckline modified, and I wanted the band to actually nicely cover the neck so I didn’t want to remove 2 inches from the back. However, the front & back pieces needed to have the same width at the shoulders. So first, you still want to draw a line 2 inches away from the neckline edge:
Once you’ve drawn your line, you can compare it with your front piece to make sure the width at the shoulders matches:
Then, draw a second line, but this one 1 inch away from the neckline edge. This one will need to taper off towards the shoulder, like so:
Cut that second line you drew & remove excess (can keep to re-tape if you want to use your pattern pieces again for the sweater later!)
Next, cut your fabric using your modified pattern pieces, and sew it up like you would the shirt—first sewing the back pieces together, then the shoulder seams, then the sleeves, and finally sewing the sleeve all the way down the sides. Once that is done, you’ll want to grab a tape measure to measure the opening of your cardigan:
I measured 1 inch away from the hem, as I knew I wanted to have some excess fabric at the bottom to turn the hem up. Measured up one side all the way to the shoulder seam, and then took that number x2. Measured the back neckline piece. I knew I probably wanted to be able to ease the neckline a tiny bit—so I took that measurement and calculated 95% of it for the length I wanted to use. In my case, one side measured 34.5”, the back neckline measured 12 inches (95% is 11.4). So 34.5+34.5+11.4 = 80.4 inches. I decided for measuring to just up it to 80.5 inches. **Important note** I added 2.5” of length to my pattern pieces, so don’t rely on my numbers to cut your band, make sure to measure your cardigan to see what you need for yours.
At this point, you can decide how wide a band you’d like. I tried on the cardigan to see where it fell, and I decided I wanted nice wide bands (at least 3 inches wide). I drew a band piece that was 80.5 inches long (well actually 40.25 inches, and I cut on the fold) and 7 inches wide (to take into account my seam allowance).
Then I folded this band in half (right sides together) and sewed the short ends closed, like so:
Then, I clipped the band to my cardigan to get it installed:
Make sure to leave an extra inch at the bottom for turning up the hem!
Sew on the band without stretching until you get up to around the neckline—can do a bit of light stretching there. Should look as follows once it’s attached:
And voilà! You have made your very own Serene Cardi! If you have any questions, you can find me on Facebook and send a message, I am more than happy to help.
– Marie-France Brunet
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