How to Make a Cardigan Out of an Old Dress in 9 Simple Steps

Jessica Shaw
by Jessica Shaw
5 Materials
30 Minutes

Today we are going to upcycle this knit dress and make it into a fall cardigan. This DIY cardigan is super cute and fun. The best part is that it is totally free! Here's how to make a cardigan out of a dress quickly and easily!

Tools and materials:

  • Old knit dress
  • Pins 
  • Chalk 
  • Sewing machine 
  • Scissors
Dress before the DIY cardigan upcycle

Marking the length of the DIY cardigan

1. Mark the length of the cardigan

Using an old dress, mark the desired length of the cardigan with a pin, leaving an inch of room for a hem.

Cutting off the bottom of the dress

2. Cut

Cut off the bottom of the dress. 

Make sure to save the scrap because we are going to use it soon. 

Cutting the dress open down the middle

3. Measure the center 

Measure the center of the dress and cut it open down the middle. 

Cutting the scrap fabric into pockets

4. Make the pockets

Measure the scrap of material we just cut off to eight inches long by seven inches wide. 

Do this twice to create two pockets. 

Folding the edges of the pockets

5. Pin down the hem

Fold down the top of the fabric by an inch and pin down. 

We will hem this part first. 

Sewing the top edge of the pocket

6. Sew the top edge

Sew up the pocket along the top edge. 

Pinning the pockets to the cardigan

Pinned pocket ready to sew

7. Prep the pockets

Pin the pockets to the cardigan.

Fold the edges down by half an inch to give the pockets a nice clean finish along the edges.

Sewing the pockets onto the DIY cardigan

8. Sew the pockets onto the cardigan

Sew along the sides and bottom of the pockets. Make sure to leave the top open. Repeat on the other side. 

Hemming the bottom of the cardigan

9. Hem

Hem the bottom and the sides of the cardigan

Fold the bottom and sides of the cardigan in by half an inch and pin in place. Sew down the front edge and all along the bottom edge. 

How to make a cardigan from a dress

How to make a cardigan tutorial

Here's the finished DIY cardigan. I love how this turned out! It's such an easy upcycle and really fun way to reuse an old dress that you may have laying around.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Old knit dress
  • Pins
  • Chalk
See all materials

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2 of 3 comments
  • Shuganne Shuganne on Dec 12, 2021

    Jessica, your cardigan looks warm and cozy! Buffalo checks is one of my favorite patterns. I'm wondering, since you had a good amount of leftover material, why you didn't try to match the pockets with the front patterns? I always try to do that on patterns, for instance, when I'm making a shirt with separate pieces for the left and right, or even matching the front and back of a skirt. Especially with a bold print like your buffalo check, it stops the eye instead of admiring the whole outfit. You did a great job on the video. The steps were easy to follow and you showed just enough to give us a clear idea of what to do. Thanks for sharing your project!

  • Debra Debra on Dec 12, 2021

    Marvelous, Dear! 😍