Classy Cardigan Dress Sewing Tutorial

13 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to make the Sierra duster cardigan. This cardigan is so versatile. It can be worn open as a duster, or closed as a dress. It can be styled with jeans and sneakers for a casual look, or paired with heels to dress it up. Enjoy the process of creating this beautiful piece!

Tools and materials:

  • Sewing pattern
  • 2¼ yards of stable knit fabric
  • 2 yards of 1-inch wide interfacing
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
  • Matching thread
  • Stay tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Four-thread serger
  • Iron
  • Long stick
  • Seam ripper


  • Buttons
  • Buckle
  • Buttonhole foot
Cardigan dress pattern

Lay out pattern pieces

Once you’ve determined your size and the preferred lengths for your sleeves and cardigan based on the pattern booklet, cut out your pattern pieces. Fold the fabric in half, and lay out the pattern pieces.

How to make a cardigan dress


Cut out all the pattern pieces.

Mark the wrong side


Mark the wrong side of the fabric on all your pattern pieces to avoid confusion.

Make a cardigan dress


Pin the shoulder seams and side seams of the bodice.

Pin the sleeves

Pin the side seams of the sleeves.

Sew a cardigan dress


Apply stay tape to the shoulder seams and serge with a four-thread serger.

Serge the seams

Serge the side seams of the cardigan and the sleeves.

Press the seams


Press the shoulder seams and side seams, with the seam allowances facing the back of the cardigan.

Pin the sleeves

Pin the sleeves

Insert the sleeves into the armholes, right sides facing. Match up and pin each of the following points: The side seams of the sleeve and cardigan, the center notch on the sleeve and the shoulder seam, and the back notches on the sleeve and the cardigan. Then, evenly distribute the fabric between the notches, and pin it in place.

Sew the sleeves


Sew the sleeves in place. Then, press the seam allowances facing the sleeve.

Serge the hems

Serge the hems of the sleeves, and the hem of the cardigan itself.

Sew the pieces of the neckline band

Sew and press

Sew the two pieces of the neckline band together at the ends with the notches. Then press the seam allowances apart. 

Apply interfacing

Iron on the interfacing

If you are planning on making a cardigan without buttons, you can skip this step. If you are adding buttons, you will need to stabilize half of the neckband. To do so, iron a piece of interfacing onto either end of the band. 

Sew the ends

Sew and press

Fold your band in half, right sides together, and sew down the ends. Then turn it out, fold it in half, and press.

Cut the corners


Cut the corners of the seam allowance diagonally to minimize bulk. 

Attach the neckband

Pin the neckband to the cardigan

Without stretching your fabric, pin the band to the dress starting at the center-back, matching the notches at the shoulder seam.

Fold up the hem

At the bottom, cover the band with the hem of the cardigan, and pin.

Sew down the neckband


Sew the band to the dress, band side up, being very careful not to stretch your fabric. If your fabric is not cooperating, you can easily do a quick baste stitch beforehand.

Serge the neckband

Serge and press

Serge the edge of the band, and then press it flat.

Press the hem

Fold and press

Fold the hems of the cardigan and the sleeves in one inch, and press them flat.

Sew the hem


Top-stitch the hem.

Sew the belt

Sew the belt

Fold your belt in half, right sides together, and sew, leaving one end open.

Press the belt

Turn the belt right side out and press

Using a long stick, turn the belt right side out. Then press the belt flat. Hand-stitch the opening at the end of the belt closed. 

Attach the buckle

Attach the buckle

To add a buckle, hand-stitch the buckle onto one end of the belt.

Mark the buttonholes

Add buttonholes and buttons

To add buttons, mark the first buttonhole on the curve of the neckline on the right side of the fabric. Then, mark the next buttonholes three to four inches apart. 

Easy cardigan dress

Choose the appropriate settings on your machine, and sew the buttonholes. Cut the center with a seam ripper. 

Cardigan dress tutorial

Fold the neckband evenly, and place a pin in the center of each buttonhole. Open the fold, and the pins will remain in place, marking where to sew the buttons. 

Add buttons

Sew on the buttons.

Basic cardigan dress

DIY cardigan dress

Let me know if you found this tutorial helpful!

Suggested materials:
  • Pattern   (
  • Fabric
  • Interfacing
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