How to Make a DIY Patchwork Cardigan Using Old Scraps of Fabric

7 Materials
2 Hours

This adorable patchwork cardigan is made with scrap sweater fabric. This DIY patchwork cardigan tutorial has a cardigan sewing pattern and will teach how to make a patchwork cardigan you can wear today!

You don’t need advanced sewing skills to make it. Let’s get started!

Tools and materials:

  • Old sweaters or sweater fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Ruler
  • Ribbing 
  • Buttons
  • Iron
Squares for the patchwork pattern

1. Make the pattern

You have two choices to make this cardigan. You can make it long or short. Each one uses squares that are 6 X 6 inches. Either is gorgeous!

Long patchwork cardigan sewing pattern

For the long cardigan you’ll need 56 squares. You’ll neeed 16 squares for the back, the two front panels get 8 each, the sleeves get 12 each, and you’ll need ribbing for the cuffs and the button placket.

Short patchwork cardigan sewing pattern

For the short cardigan, you’ll need a total of 48 squares. Each square is the same size as for the long cardigan - 6 X 6 inches.

Here, you’ll need 12 squares for the back, each front panel gets 6 squares, and the sleeves, button placket, and cuffs remain the same.

Paper pattern for the patchwork square

Make a paper pattern that is 6 X 6 inches. Pin the pattern to the fabric.

Cutting squares of fabric for the cardigan

Then, cut squares from old sweaters or other fabric that you’re repurposing. Mix and match the colors and patterns you like best!

Sewing the patchwork squares together

2. Sew the patchwork

Pin two of the squares right sides together. Sew across the top using a zigzag stitch. Press the seams to one side.

Now attach two of those to each other. Now there are 4 squares in a panel. 

Sewing panels of patchwork squares

3. Sew the back

Lay out 4 panels of 4 squares. Pin two of those panels right sides together. Sew them together. Then sew the other panel together. Finally, sew those 2 larger panels to each other.

How to make a patchwork cardigan

4. Sew the front

Lay out 4 panels of 4 squares. Pin two of the squares to each other, right sides facing, Sew those two together. Then do the same for the other 2 panels. Those are your two front pieces!

Sewing the DIY patchwork cardigan

5. Sew the body of the sweater

Lay the back of the sweater right sides facing up. Lay the two front panels with the wrong side facing you, so their two right sides are kissing.

How to sew a DIY patchwork cardigan

Sew the tops of the panels together, leaving 8 squares unsewn on either side for the front.

Making sleeves for the DIY patchwork cardigan

6. Add the sleeves

Make the sleeve panels following the same method. Lay the body of the sweater right side facing up. Lay the edge of the sleeve so their right sides are together.

Pin in place at the shoulder line. Sew the sleeve and side seams using a zigzag stitch.

Attaching ribbed fabric to the cuffs and hem

7. Add the cuffs and hem

Hand-sew a gathering stitch at the end of the sleeve with the sweater’s wrong side facing you.

Once the gathering stitch is sewn, place a ribbed cuff with the right sides facing into the edge of the sleeve. Make sure the raw edge of the cuff is touching the raw edge of the sleeve.

Pin in place and sew using a zigzag stitch. Do to both sleeves. Once you’re done sewing the cuffs, turn the sweater right side out.

Use ribbed fabric that’s about 3 inches wide and about 15 inches long. Pin the raw edges of the ribbed fabric to the raw edge of the cardigan by starting at the ends.

Distribute the cardigan fabric evenly along the hemline. Pin in place.

Sewing the ribbing to the patchwork cardigan

Sew with a zigzag stitch.

How to sew a button panel on a cardigan

8. Add the button panel

Use pieces of ribbing that you’ve sewn together. The ribbing should be as long as the measurement from the bottom of the cardigan to the other end of the cardigan - 48 to 50 inches long and about 4 inches wide.

Fold the top of each end of the ribbing so the right sides are together. Pin in place and sew just the short ends.

Sewing a button panel onto the cardigan

Fold the ribbing lengthwise and pin the center of the ribbing in place at the very center of the back of the cardigan. Make sure the raw edges of the ribbing are touching the raw edges of the cardigan.

Pin all the way down. Then sew with a zigzag stitch.

Sewing buttons onto the patchwork cardigan

9. Add the buttons

If you need help sewing on buttons, watch my short video tutorials on this subject:

DIY patchwork cardigan

DIY patchwork cardigan tutorial

You’re done! I do hope you make this DIY patchwork cardigan! Please let me know in the comments if you’ve made it or gifted a special friend with one. Happy holidays!

Suggested materials:
  • Old sweaters or sweater fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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