How To Make A DIY Madewell Cardigan Sweater (From Scratch!)

Sweater weather is just around the corner! From a cool air-conditioned workplace office to the approaching cold and snowy winter season, this cozy oversized DIY Madewell cardigan sweater is always a great idea to have around.

A cardigan is a classic wardrobe essential item that can easily match your style and also helps you dress according to the weather. That is precisely the reason I choose to make a DIY cardigan sweater from scratch.

Because of convenience, wearing a cardigan anytime and anywhere tends to add to the wear and tear. A cardigan sweater needs a lot more care and attention than many other clothing pieces from your capsule wardrobe.


How To Care For A Cardigan

According to Madewell, these are 10 easy ways to care your sweaters to prevent having to visit the dry cleaner every time you wear your cardigan:

  • Remove pills with a simple razor.
  • Hand wash sweater cardigans every four wears.
  • To properly hand wash a cardigan, soak in gentle detergent for 30 minutes and then rinse it well in cool water.
  • To remove itchiness, add liquid fabric softener while soaking the cardigan.
  • Toss in the dryer on very high heat to shrink a cardigan if it has stretched out.
  • Gently pull for five seconds to stretch a cardigan that has been shrunk.
  • Store a sweater cardigan by folding or rolling and placing it on a shelf; avoid hanging a cardigan.
  • When folding, always lay a towel underneath to prevent snagging the cardigan on any surface.
  • For extended storage, place cardigans in clothing storage bags or boxes made out of cotton, muslin, or canvas to keep moisture away.


How To Wash A Cardigan Sweater In Washing Machine

For this tutorial, I used sweater knit fabric that is 50% polyester, 38% cotton and 12% rayon which I can easily machine wash in a gentle cycle with cold water and line dry and press iron medium heat. If you have different content than me for your DIY sweater cardigan project, check these winter sweater hacks that will save your money.

With just one cozy oversized sweater cardigan, it’s amazing how much various look you can have and don’t look grandma or frumpy.


Different Ways To Wear A Cardigan

  • Wear a dress and place a belt at your true waistline to give an hourglass body shape with a feminine touch.
  • Pair with a flow blouse and unbutton the cardigan to give a casual look; you will look taller and slimmer.
  • Wear a long t-shirt or tunic underneath a fitted cardigan to look proportion lengthwise.
  • Pick bright colored cardigans to update your outfit in a fun and energetic way.
  • Mix with a bold print outfit and ground it by adding a solid color cardigan.
  • Wear a camisole underneath and button up for a sexy relaxed look.
  • Dress up with jeans and simply wear a graphic t-shirt underneath for a casual look.


A cardigan sweater is a classic essential wardrobe piece I can’t live without. It gives a modern, preppy or even a feminine touch to your capsule wardrobe outfit for work or for a fun casual weekend.


How To Make A DIY Madewell Cardigan Sweater From Scratch!

With a few simple tools and this step-by-step tutorial, you can easily accomplish this how to make a DIY Madewell sweater cardigan from scratch.

This has become one of my favorite items that I can wear out for many occasions. From casual workwear to date night outfit, this DIY Madewell cardigan sweater comes in handy when I need it most!


How To Make A Cardigan Out Of Fabric

Purchase some affordable fabric for under $20 and add this cardigan to your essential capsule wardrobe!

I used a medium weight sweater knit fabric and picked a color that I look great in.

Picking out a quality fabric is the first step to accomplish before we begin covering how to make a cardigan out of fabric.

Let’s get started!


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  • 2 yards of Sweater Knit Fabric
  • Your Favorite Cardigan (to copy)
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Black Fabric Chalk
  • Scissor
  • Loop Turner
  • Measuring Tape

Free Cardigan Sewing Pattern


  1. For this tutorial, all you need is front right side and front left piece, 2 sleeves, a back piece, 2 pieces of 5” x 5” pockets, and 2 pieces of 6” x 7” cuffs.


Pro Tip: For a free cardigan sewing pattern, you can easily copy your favorite cardigan from your closet.


How To Make a Long Sleeve Cardigan

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  1. Fold the sleeve in half and sew the hem with a zigzag stitch.


Pro tip: For any knit hem finishes, you can either use a zigzag stitch or a faux overlock stitch.


  1. Then, make the cuff by folding the 6” x 7” pieces in half and sewing the edge with a zigzag stitch.


  1. Slide in the folded cuff into the sleeve and match the under arm seam with the cuff seam. Secure with pins before sewing a zigzag stitch.


How To Sew a Cardigan From Scratch

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  1. Next, lay the wrong side of the front and back pieces on top of each other. Pin both side seams and finish with a zigzag stitch.


  1. Match the underarm seam with the side seam to attach sleeve to the bodice. Pin around the armhole and finish with a zigzag stitch.


  1. To make the neckband, fold a 2 1/2” width strap in half and sew together. Begin pinning on the center back seam and go all the way to the front opening. Hem the finish with a zigzag stitch.


  1. Now, we are going to make a drawstring for the bubble hem on this DIY Madewell cardigan sweater. Cut 1 1/2” width bias strap about 40” long. Fold the strap in half, and zigzag stitch to close. Flip the strap inside out with a loop turner to make your drawstring.


  1. Fold the hem of the cardigan about 1” and edge topstitch along the hemline. Use the loop turner to insert the drawstring easily.


  1. Finally, fold and iron the pocket pieces about 1/2” on each side. Along the opening of the pocket, top stitch to secure the fold. Lay the pocket square on the front of the cardigan and edge topstitch around the sides and bottom.


For under $20, add this cozy oversized DIY Madewell cardigan sweater to your capsule wardrobe today.

With this easy and simple step-by-step sewing tutorial for how to make your own DIY Madewell cardigan sweater from scratch, you can save money and also give a personalized touch to your casual outfits collection.


Have you ever tried to make a DIY Madewell cardigan sweater?

Share with us your favorite ways to style your cardigan sweater!


fashion wanderer

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Soonjoo Uh

I graduated with a bachelors of fine arts degree in fashion design. I worked in the fashion industry as a lead designer for major brand name labels such as Stitch Fix, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Dillards. Now, I am the founder of the website Fashion Wanderer where I share current fashion trends, style tips and how to build a capsule wardrobe collection.

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