HACK || How to turn a sweater into a zipped cardigan

November 28, 2020

Who doesn't love a good cardigan? They are easy to wear, great for layering and can even serve as light weight jackets in the spring/summer. Being a sweater lover myself, my kids are always mildly disappointed when I present them with a new handmade sweater - my hot blooded daughter prefers a zipped cardigan to regulate her body temperature and my son just thinks it looks way cooler. But do you know why I never think of designing a cardigan? Because a sweater is so easily hacked to one! And that's exactly what I'm going to show you in this how to blogpost!

For this hack I've used our new Flex Raglan sweater and a hood from our Shuffle Hoods & Collars Add On Pack, but you can basically use any sweater pattern. Sweaters with a cut-on-fold front bodice present the smallest challenge for this. Sweaters with an intricate (asymmetrical) colorblock (like our Dia sweater or Origami sweater) will present a far greater challenge.

 

SUPPLIES

Next to your fabrics and sewing materials, you need some additional tools and supplies: 

  • a separating zipper (a plastic one is easiest, but you can also use a metal one). The length of the zipper is determined in the next step.
  • optional: contrast jersey fabric to bind your zipper and hood seam. 
  • side/precision cutters - to shorten the zipper
  • zipper stops (those little metal "U" shaped things) - to create a new "end" at the top of the zippers
  • pliers - to attach the zipper stops
  • safety glasses (for cutting the teeth off)

 

Step 2 - Prepping your pattern pieces. First and most important thing to do - add seam allowance to all pieces that become part of your new zipped mid-front. In most cases this means adding seam allowance to your cut-on-fold front bodice. But you also have to cut the pattern parts in half that continue over the mid front line - like bottom bands and kangaroo pockets. For my daughter, I had to adapt the basic front bodice and bottom band of the Flex Raglan Sweater. The classic hood with visor from the Shuffle hoods & collars add on pack could be used as is - this hood meets at the center front. At this point you can also calculate the zipper length you need, taking the seam allowances into account. Also keep in mind that most bottom bands are folded in half later on, so you only need to take half of that measurement!

 

Step 3 - Sew your cardigan and hood by following the tutorial of the patterns, but don't attach the hood just yet! Collect your zipper.

 

Shortening your zipper

Step 4 - With the right sides together, line up your zipper with the left side of your cardigan, carefully lining them up at the bottom. Mark the zipper 1cm (3/8") below the cardigan neckline on both sides (this is the seam allowance you're going to need to attach the hood later on). Also mark the bottom band placement on both sides - this will make it easier to line them up!

 

Step 5 - Removing the teeth. Use your side cutters to remove the teeth on both sides of the tape. Make sure not to cut through the zipper tape! When you reach your marking, remove one last tooth below the marking - this creates space for the zipper stop.

 

Step 6 - Use the pliers to firmly attach the zipper stops at both sides.

 

Step 7 - Now you can cut off the zipper 1 cm (3/8") above the zipper stops.

 

Attaching the zipper

Step 8 - With the right sides together, line up the left side of the zipper with your cardigan. Make sure to match the marking for the bottom band with the bottom band seam. Fold the zipper tape down by creating a diagonal fold. Pin in place and attach the zipper using a zipper foot.

 

Step 9 - Adding a binding. This step is totally optional, at this point you can also  trim your seam allowance so it's covered by the zipper tape. But if you want to bind your zipper with a contrast binding, prepare a strip of jersey fabric a slightly longer length as the zipper x 4cm (1,5") width. Fold the binding in half with the wrong sides together. Place the binding with the right side up over the zipper. Make sure the binding extends by 1cm (3/8") below the bottom band. Tip: If you turn your cardigan with the wrong side up, the stitches of attaching the zipper can be used as a guide line for attaching the binding.

 

Step 10 - At the bottom, fold the binding up towards the binding by 1cm (3/8").

 

Step 11 - Attach the binding. Trim the seam allowances. Press the binding towards the inside of the cardigan and pin in place. 

 

Step 12 - Topstitch the binding close to the edge. Repeat for the other side of the zipper. At this point you're ready to attach your hood or collar!

 

Attaching the hood

Step 13 - With the right sides together, line up your hood with your cardigan and pin in place.

 

Step 14 - Keeping the seam allowance in mind, line up the side edge of the hood with the fabric edge next to the zipper. Attach the hood to the cardigan. 

 

Step 15 - Optional: hood seam binding. Measure the neckline and prepare a strip of jersey fabric slightly longer than the neckline measurement x 4cm (1,5"). Fold the binding in half with the wrong sides together. Place the binding with the right side up, over the hood seam, matching the raw edges. Make sure the binding extends by 1cm (3/8") from both sides of the hood.  Pin in place.

 

Step 16 - Turn your work with inside up. Fold the extending piece of binding over towards the inside, this way covering the zipper. Attach the binding by using the stitches of attaching the hood as a guide line. Trim the seam allowances.

 

Step 17 - Fold the binding over towards the inside of the cardigan and pin in place. Tip: place your label or a hanging loop under the binding! Stitch the binding close to the edge.

 

And that's it! One happy little girl with a hacked Flex Raglan Cardigan with a classic Shuffle hood with a visor




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Size Charts

KIDS SIZE CHART

Body measurements cm

Body measurements inch

Size

Age

Chest

Waist

Hip

Height

Chest

Waist

Hip

Height

80

9-12M

50

48

52

80

19,5

19

20,5

31,5

86

12-18M

52

50

54

86

20,5

19,5

21,25

33,75

92

18-24M

54

51

55

92

21,25

20

21,5

36,25

98

2-3Y

55

52

57

98

21,75

20,5

22,5

38,5

104

3-4Y

56,5

53,5

59

104

22,25

21

23,25

41

110

4-5Y

58

55

61

110

22,75

21,5

24

43,25

116

5-6Y

60

57

64

116

23,5

22,5

25,25

45,5

122

6-7Y

62,5

58,5

67

122

24,5

23

26,5

48

128

7-8Y

65

60

70

128

25,5

23,5

27,5

50,5

134

8-9Y

67,5

61,5

73

134

26,5

24,25

28,75

52,75

140

9-10Y

70

63

76

140

27,5

24,75

30

55

146

10-11Y

73

64

79

146

28,75

25,25

31

57,5

152

11-12Y

76

66

82

152

30

26

32,25

59,75

158

12-13Y

79

68

85

158

31

26,75

33,5

62,25

164

13-14Y

82

70

88

164

32,25

27,5

34,75

64,5

WOMEN SIZE CHART

Body measurements cm

Body measurements inch

Size

High Bust

Bust

Waist

Hip

Height

High Bust

Bust

Waist

Hip

Height

AA

75

80

64

88

168

29,5

31,5

25,25

34,5

5 feet 6"

BB

79

84

68

92

168

31

33

26,75

36,25

5 feet 6"

CC

83

88

72

96

168

32,5

34,5

28,25

37,75

5 feet 6"

DD

87

92

76

100

168

34,25

36,25

30

39,5

5 feet 6"

EE

91

96

80

104

168

35,75

37,75

31,5

41

5 feet 6"

FF

95

100

84

108

168

37,5

39,5

33

42,5

5 feet 6"

GG

101

106

89

113

168

39,75

41,75

35

44,5

5 feet 6"

HH

107

112

94

118

168

42

44

37

46,5

5 feet 6"

II

113

118

99

123

168

44,5

46,5

39

48,5

5 feet 6"

JJ

119

124

104

128

168

46,75

48,75

41

50,5

5 feet 6"