DIY a One Piece, No Pattern Cocoon Cardigan

Alisa Shay
by Alisa Shay
5 Materials
1 Hour

I am all about creating fashion show stoppers! If you are searching for the ultimate winter closet essential then you have found what you are looking for! Join me and get started on creating a statement cocoon cardigan, and the best part is, you don't even need a pattern! This winter wonder is so easy to make! Follow my step-by-step tutorial and let’s get started on DIYing the perfect balance between comfort and class!

Tools and Materials:

  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins
DIY cocoon cardigan
Draw the design

Although this cardigan doesn’t need a pattern, I started by drawing it so that I would have a clear vision of my end result. I wanted to create a cardigan with an amazing collar, triangular sleeves, and cute sleeve cuffs. 

Take measurements
Take measurements

Before I could get started I needed to take two simple measurements. I started by holding the measuring tape with stretched arms, making sure it fell over my bust. I would only use half of this measurement when making the cardigan. 

DIY one-piece cardigan

Next, I held the measuring tape at the back of my neckline and measured it to my waist. I doubled this measurement in order to create the perfect cardigan. 

Fold a paper model
Create a paper version of the cardigan

To get a better idea of my vision, I folded a piece of paper to resemble the cute cardigan I would later create. This helped me better understand the measurements of the cardigan. If you prefer the look of a shorter cardigan, don’t double the neck to waist measurement.

Choose the fabric

Before moving onto sewing the cardigan I think we should talk about fabric! One of the best things about this cardigan is that it can work with so many different fabrics! You can choose a knit fabric or a fabric that has no stretch at all. I chose a warm fabric to keep me cozy through fall and winter. If you want a cardigan for chilly summer nights, feel free to choose a lighter fabric! 

Measure the fabric
Measure the cardigan fabric

I used my two measurements and got started on measuring the fabric. First I folded the fabric in half and then measured half of the open arm measurement across the fabric, adding an extra half inch for seam allowance. I then measured double the neck to waist measurement for the length of the fabric, adding 2 inches for seam allowance. 

Cut the fabric

I cut the fabric according to my measurements and made sure I had some fabric left to create the cuffs. If you love mixing and matching materials, you can use a different fabric for your cuffs. 

Easy DIY cardigan
Try on the cardigan

Before I moved to the sewing machine, I decided to pin the cardigan and try it on to make sure everything was symmetrical and fit properly. 

Fold a hemline
Fold the cardigan

I started at the top of my cardigan. Having left an inch for seam allowance, I folded the edge of the cardigan by half an inch and then again by another half. I pinned the fold in place and sewed the edge using a zig-zag stitch. If you are using a non-stretch material, a straight stitch will work well! This stitch will be visible so try to keep it as straight as possible. 

Fold the bottom half

I then repeated this step on the bottom half of my cardigan. The only difference is that I folded the hem the other way. 

Create a lapel
Create a lapel

Next, I decided to create a lapel style. I folded the top of the cardigan about 3 inches and pinned it in place to keep it secure. 

Align the edges
Sew the sleeves

I aligned the top and bottom edges of my cardigan and pinned them together.

Sew closed the sleeves

I sewed closed my sleeves, along the pinned edge.

Cut the sleeve
Create an opening for the cuff

I was so excited to get started on the cuff! I just love this fun, added element. I measured my wrist with a little wiggle room and then measured about half of that on my sleeve. I marked according to the measurements, making a curve rather than a straight line. I then cut following my curved marking. 

Sew the cuff

The cuff can be as long as you want but its width should match the width of your sleeve opening. I cut the perfect piece of fabric, pinned the edges together, and sewed.

Attach the cuff
Attach the cuff

I put the cuff over my sleeve and made sure to match the cuff seam with the center bottom of the sleeve. Matching the seam to the center is important for giving your cardigans a clean finish! I pinned the cuff on and then moved over to my sewing machine to sew it on. I then repeated this on the other sleeve. 

DIY cardigan

There you have it! A beautiful and cozy cardigan! What type of fabric would you use for this piece? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric scissors
See all materials

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Join the conversation
  • Elaine Elaine on Oct 10, 2020

    What a great idea, but this would be much more helpful to me with a video. Any chance of you making one?

    • Upstyle Trends Upstyle Trends on Oct 12, 2020

      Hi Elaine! There's actually a video at the very top of this post :)