Anyone can make a cut and sew sweater, you will be amazed at how easy it is! Look for sweater fabric and make one today!
Make a Cut and Sew Sweater
The holidays are over and I am back at work in my sewing studio. I am excited to share this project with you, it is super easy and one of my favorite makes! This Cut and Sew Sweater is made from sweater fabric that you can purchase at the fabric store. It’s heavier than regular knit fabric and there are many styles and colors to choose from. Sweaters that are made in garment production can be made in one of two ways. With a cut and sew yardage fabric or knitted into sweater shape by machines. We all know how much work knitting by hand is, and very few people own knitting machines. By purchasing sweater fabric by the yard you can make a sweater in a very short period of time.
Cut and Sew sweaters were first introduced to me when I was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC many years ago. At that time, it was nearly impossible to find sweater fabric in the fabric stores and I recall roaming the garment district of NYC looking for the perfect knit to make a sweater. I don’t think I ever found what I was looking for! So much has changed since then! I purchased my cut and sew sweater fabric at Joann Fabrics and Crafts, but you can find it on Amazon (affiliate link) and other places.
The Sweater Fabric
Sweater fabric is usually 60″ wide, and comes in different fiber contents such as acrylic, rayon, cotton and wool. Much of it is only dry cleanable, so be sure to read the care label before you purchase. My navy blue “eyelash” fabric has bits of yellow, blue, red and white and is hand washable. I plan to wash it on the gentle cycle and dry it flat. Sweater knits stretch out easily when hung and don’t recover their stretch well, treat it a bit carefully when washing and drying. I was so excited to make this sweater I forgot to pre-wash my fabric (that never happens!), hopefully it will not shrink much in the wash!
The great thing about these sweater knits is that there are so many unique designs available. Cable knits, ribbed knits, argyle, boucle, and chenille all will give you lots of different design options. I recommend using a simple pattern like this Simplicity Pattern #S8738 for your first attempt. It has an oversized vintage look that I completely adore, and it’s easy to follow the directions.
The Sweater Details
There are only 3 seams in this sweater: the shoulders, the side seams, and neck. I serged the seams and added a piece of 1″ wide fusible interfacing in the shoulder seam as a stay to keep the shoulder from stretching. Threads magazine recently had an article about this technique and it worked perfectly! The only pattern fit adjustments needed was in the turtle neck length. I have a short neck, so I reduced the turtle by half to make a mock neck style. It fits my short neck perfectly and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Sorry for the blurry photos, my camera is on the fritz lately!
I added a little bit of length to the sleeves as well, but I shouldn’t have. The sleeves are plenty long and I end up rolling them up most of the time. It is so refreshing to have sleeves that fit my long arms, almost everything I own is short in this area! I can’t wait to make some more sweaters, this one went together in less than an hour from start to finish!
The sleeve and bottom hem are finished with a simple zig zag stitch. You could use this stitch to sew the entire sweater if you don’t have a serger. The sweater fabric really hides a lot of things and makes this a great beginner project. I use an old Elna serger that I have had for more than 25 years. It works great with just about any fabric and I love how easily it sewed this heavy knit.
For more inspiration try these posts!