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30-Minute Cardigan Jacket

Video: Threads Magazine

If you have 30 minutes and a few yards of fabric, you can sew a drapey, cozy cardigan jacket. This project requires no pattern, and it is rewarding if you have only a limited time to sew.

Tools and supplies

•  2 3/4 yards fabric: You can work with any drapey fabric, woven or knit, from filmy chiffon to heavily textured sweater knits. Note that the fabric’s wrong side may show when the cardigan is worn, so be sure you like both faces of the textile.

•  Measuring tape

•  Pins

•  Scissors

•  Sewing machine

•  Thread

Cut the fabric

Cut a rectangle that is 2 3/4 yards long by 25 inches wide. You can piece the fabric to make a rectangle this size if necessary, or to create a unique color-blocked or patchwork effect.

Finish the edges

On each long edge, press and sew a double-fold hem. Finish the short ends by serging or zigzagging. Then press the edge to the fabric’s right side by 3/8 inch.

Construct the cardigan

Begin by marking the back neckline. Fold the rectangle in half crosswise, and insert a pin to mark the center back. Place a pin on each side of the center back, 2 1/2 inches away.

Bring one short end up and align it along the long edge, with its lower corner at the corresponding back-neck pin. Repeat for the opposite side. Lap the finished long edge over the short ends’ folded edge and pin. Then apply two rows of topstitching to secure the short ends and enclose their raw edges. Those two seams complete the cardigan.

Working with the fabric

Some of the best fabrics for this project are unstable. Learn tips for handling them:

Sheers: “Firming Up Fabrics with Gelatin”

Sweater knits: “How to Sew with Luscious Sweater Knits”

Double-faced fabrics: “How to Sew Double-Faced Fabric”

Velvet: “How to Sew Velvet Like a Pro”

Don’t forget that a simple silhouette like this jacket’s is the perfect canvas for embellishment.

Previous: Three Capsule Wardrobes Next: Make Custom Panties that Fit Perfectly


  1. user-3251948 | | #1

    This design of shrug is very useful if you have fabric that you don't want to cut into - hand woven for instance. In that case you can finish the warp ends as fringes and leave them on the outside of the shrug shoulders as extra embellishment.
    A good video, because it is difficult to grasp how to fold and seam this garment without good diagrams. BUT do we have to have the irritating inane musac to go with it?

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Sewing With Knits

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