DIY: Velvet Cardigan/Kimono

I put together two cardigans recently and made them out of velvet as a nod to the holiday shimmer. One was much more basic, a fitted long cardigan, and the other had a touch of silk, pockets, and a kimono fit.

The kimono cardigan was inspired by an Aritzia piece. Here's us side by side for comparison (I'm wearing the original in blush and Tara is wearing our sea foam creation).

I'll explain how I measure and cut the easier cardigan's pieces, then list the dimensions I used and go through the steps covered in the video. For the first cardigan you'll need 2.5 yards of fabric, and the second will need 2 yards velvet and 1 yard of silk.

This is how I use existing clothes to cut fabric. I start with folding the fabric in half twice to get 4 layers of fabric to cut through (will give me two symmetrical pieces for front and back). I then fold a comfortable sweater along the centre and lay that on top of the double fold. I align the folded edges and cut an inch away from the sweater, curving along with the armhole. To make the cardigan long, I also extended the bottom.

Once the sweater is removed and the fabric is unfolded, I should end up with two symmetrical pieces. Both of these are the size of the back piece, but one should be trimmed to become the front piece. To do this, simply cut one of the layers in half down the centre to open it up and become the front of the cardigan.

I also cut the front pieces to slope from the shoulder down to the centre point to turn the neckline into a deep V shape.

For the sleeves, fold the fabric in half twice again and lay one sleeve along the edge with two folds of fabric inside. Cut an inch away from the sleeve all the way around, following also the slight S-curve shape at the armhole.

When you unfold the sleeves, you should have two identical pieces.

That's how I use my clothing to make patterns all the time! Once you get the hang of following your existing clothing, so many silhouettes are possible. Below are the sewing instructions for both the cardigan and kimono, plus the video tutorial.

For the Easier Cardigan

1. Fold the back in half (right sides together) and sew a .25" seam to add a spine (this is optional but looks structured and is easy!)
2. Sew the front pieces to the back at the two shoulders with a straight stitch
3. Fold the sleeves in half (right side outside) to find the line of symmetry, and pin this to the shoulder seam on the left and right of the cardigan
4. Continue pinning the sleeve to the armhole all the way down the front and back, sew this with a straight stitch right sides together
5. Pin the armpit seams together and sew the left and right side right sides together with a straight stitch (starting at the armpit ensures the armpit seam lines up)
6. Hem the front opening by turning the fabric in half an inch and sewing with a straight stitch
7. Hem the bottom edge by folding the fabric in twice and sewing with a straight stitch (feel free to make this hem wider to anchor the look with a heavier hem)
8. Cut two cuff rectangles (9.25" x 6")
9. Fold each cuff rectangle in half to sew the short edges together with a straight stitch, then fold and flip the cuff so that the seam is tucked inside and only the right side of the fabric is visible all around
10. Slip the cuff over the sleeve and pin all the raw edges together evenly around the wrist, sew with a zigzag stitch and avoid tugging excessively on the fabric

For the Fancier Cardigan

1. Cut out the pieces shown above, mine were these dimensions to fit a small:
Back - 29" x 36"
Front (2 pieces) - 13" at the narrower end x 36"
Sleeve (2 pieces) - 31" x 11.75"
Pocket (4 pieces) - 7" straight edge x 6" wide
Silk bottom back - 29" x 18"
Silk bottom front (2 pieces) - 13" x 18"
Silk collar (2 pieces) - 5" x 50"
2. Pin the two front pieces to the back (right sides together) and sew the thin neck edge together, as well as straight across the shoulders
3. Fold the sleeves in half (right side outside) to find the line of symmetry, and pin this to the shoulder seam on the left and right of the cardigan
4. Continue pinning the sleeve to the armhole all the way down the front and back, sew this with a straight stitch right sides together
5. Pin the pockets to the front and back, left and right, 2 inches down from the sleeve ending and sew to the cardigan with a straight stitch
6. Pin the armpit seams together and sew the left and right side right sides together with a straight stitch (starting at the armpit ensures the armpit seam lines up). Encircle the entire pocket while going down the side to close off the pocket. Don't go all the way down the sides if you want a deep side slit.
7. Fold the bottom silk pieces in half (right side outside) and pin to the bottom raw edges of the back and front, sewing across with a straight stitch
8. Hem the side slits by folding the fabric over a half inch, and folding the silk section twice to tuck away all raw edges
9. Sew the two collar silk pieces together along one short edge, right sides together (to ensure it's long enough for the entire front opening)
10. Fold the collar silk piece in half (right side outside) and pin the raw edge to the right side of the neckline. To ensure symmetry, start at the centre back and go down the left and right
11. Sew the collar to the cardigan with a straight stitch along the pins
12. Hem the two sleeve openings by turning the fabric in half an inch and sewing a straight stitch

OUTFIT:

Slip Dress: Mine
Cardigan: Mine
Jeans: Topshop
Shoes: Adidas

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Allure of Simplicity