The Jess Cardi {A Tutorial}

Do you recognize this blue cardigan? It’s the one I made for Abby’s Jess Dress ensemble during week 2 of the Project Run & Play sewalong! Here Abby is wearing it with her Heather Ross mermaids dress which she has been wearing for-ev-ah. Maybe when Spring rolls around again I’ll do a tutorial for it, since it’s a sun dress and we’re moving into fall here. Finally.

Anyhoo. Back to the cardigan…

I love blue on Abby but she always wants to wear pink, or fushia, or white with pink… you get the picture. I had to wrestle this cardi on her the first time but now she luuurves it.

She’s been playing little monster in it all week. Raaarrrr!

Geez, could she be any cuter? 

Anyway, what you really want to know is how I put this cardigan together, so here’s the skinny.

This cardigan was made using a t-shirt pattern, it has no hem (hurrah!) and the bias binding was left raw and attached using a zig-zag stitch. It’s girly, yet slightly edgy.

I started with Made By Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee in a size 3T. Abby usually wears a size 2T, but I’m starting to make things a little big so they’ll last longer. A cardigan should be a little bigger than a t-shirt anyway.

If you don’t have Rae’s skinny tee pattern yet, I totally suggest it as a staple. But you can use any t-shirt pattern to make a cardigan like this. Or you can trace a tee and make your own pattern, it’s up to you!

You can see all my pieces cut out in the picture below.

1 back
2 long sleeves
2 front pieces

If you’re using the Flashback skinny tee pattern, just cut the front piece in half straight down the middle, or just don’t cut it on the fold to begin with. Either way, you should end up with two front pieces.

This cardigan doesn’t button down the front, so no need to add space for a button placket.

Note: I wanted this cardigan to have a nice waist, so I trimmed the side seams in with a curve. Can you see this in the picture below? This is what gives the cardigan a nice fitted look. 

Now follow the pattern directions to construct your cardigan. First, sew the shoulder seams. (BTW, I used my sewing machine, not my serger, because I didn’t have enough time/was too lazy to change my white thread out for blue).

Note: make sure the right sides of your fabric are facing while you construct the cardigan! 

Now prepare your sleeve by pinching it in half to find the center.
Now line the center of your sleeve up with the shoulder seam and pin. 
Pin the rest of your sleeve to the arm hole. 
At this point, the under-arm and side seams are still open.

Turn your cardigan inside out and pin along the under part of the arm, along the arm pit and down the side seam. Make sure your seams matchup at the arm pit. Stitch this down with whatever seam allowance the t-shirt pattern calls for (I used 1/4″) and press.

This is what you have so far:

Now cut some strips 1″ wide and as long as you’ll need to bind all the raw edges of your cardigan. Press your strips in half lengthwise like you’re making bias tape, but stop there. Since you are using knit, the edges won’t fray. Pin your binding down around all the raw edges, including your sleeves. You might want to cut some length off the sleeve since you’re not turning under to hem.
(Note: If you don’t want to leave the edges raw, cut the strips 2″ wide and fold the raw egdes into the middle while pressing like you’re making bias tape. The rest of the steps are the same.)
Meter the corners so the binding looks nice and clean. You may be leaving the edges raw, but you still still have your standards, dang it!
Stitch the binding down using a zig zag stitch. I suggest practicing this on another strip of fabric first, so you can choose the right length and width for your stitch. I tried to stay within the raw edge while stitching, but sometimes it went over. I’m ok with that because this cardigan wasn’t supposed to be perfect-preppy. This is the perfect-preppy cardigan’s more fun and funky sister.
I totally lame for not having pictures of the next step: adding the button. For this part I just stitched a HUGE button to the right side of the front collar and added a small elastic loop to the left side. If you want to hide where you stitched the elastic, cover it with a small square of material and stitch it down really well. 
The last thing I did to this cardigan was cuff the sleeves up. They were a bit too long after I added the bias tape, so I rolled them up a couple of times, pressed and tacked them in place with a few stitches. When it’s colder I will probably let them down.
Thanks for reading, friends! Happy sewing and bye bye for now!

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