There are several great fabric choices for cardigans, such as jersey, interlock, fleece, sweatshirt fleece, french terry, and sweater knits. Be sure to check the pattern requirements for fabric suggestions for each style. heavier fabrics like sweatshirt fleece and dense wool jersey are great for structured button-up cardigans, while drapey fabrics like rayon jersey or open-weave sweater knits make great open-front cardigans. If your pattern has sleeve cuffs or neckline bands, you will probably want a fabric with good stretch and recovery, such as a cotton / spandex blend. Before you sew with your chosen fabric, try draping it over your arm and stretching it gently with your fingers to see if it behaves as you expect. Even fabrics of the same type with the same material content can behave differently.
Don't like buttonholes?
If you love the look of the classic buttoned cardigan, but don't want to sew buttonholes, try replacing buttons with snap. I like KAM snaps because they are cheap and easy. (Get a KAM snap starter pack here*). The snaps are easy to install by poking through the fabric and securing in place with the snap press. The snaps come in almost every color and various sizes. I particularly like them for kids clothes because they are easier to fasten than buttons. If you don't like the look of the snaps, consider hiding them underneath buttons or other embellishments. Simply install the snaps, then use fabric glue to adhere a button, bow, jewel, or other embellishment on top.
These cardigans are fastened with KAM snaps.
|Pattern: Peekaboo V-Neck Cardigan*|
Make your cardigan unique
Here are some other ideas to inspire your one-of-a-kind cardigan.
- Elbow patches. Cut out a basic oval shape from a non-fray fabric and stitch it to the elbow using a zig-zag stitch around the edges. This is easier to do before the sleeve is sewn.
- Add an applique or iron-on patch. You can get creative with all kinds of different looks just by adding some extra details. Use a iron-on letter patch from the craft store to make a varsity-style sweater. A favorite character or animal adds a whimsical touch.
- Ruffles. It's easy to add ruffles to any pattern seams. Just gather a long strip of fabric and sew it into the seam at the button placket, the neckline, or along the hem.
- Piping. Add piping in the seams for extra pops of color
- Unique Buttons. Look for unique buttons at vintage and antique shops, or fun buttons at the craft store to give your cardigan extra character.
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