January 21, 2014

Adapting a block pattern into something else pt. 8 T-shirt to Cardigan

It took me quite a while to finish up the pattern modifications for this style. I would try on the first sample and look in the mirror, then go back to the pattern many times. There were a few things that were not right. Each time I would try it on, I would pull the jacket forward so the back neck rested higher. This would throw off the shoulder line. Finally, I realized I needed to raise the back neck and raise the shoulder at the neck point on the front bodice. This situated everything nicely. The first jacket is definitely a wearable first muslin, but the second sample turned out great.

Final pattern alterations:
  1. Remove extra wearing ease. I noticed that many similar cardigans are not really that much bigger than the average t-shirt, so keep this in mind when adapting your t-shirt pattern.
  2. Raise the back neck 3/4". I had left the original neckline of the t-shirt, which ended up being lower than I wanted for the cardigan.
  3. Raise the shoulder at the neckpoint 3/8" on front bodice to correct shoulder slope problem. I need to apply this correction to my t-shirt pattern too.
  4. Shorten sleeve length.
This is how I wore it.

All that's left is to double check the seams to make sure they match and cut the pattern out of tagboard. This jacket is now ready for further iterations. Maybe a shorter or slimmer version. A waist line with darts. It's all possible.

If I wanted to take this cardigan into production, I already have some of the information needed and recorded in my blank forms:
  1. Style and cutting sheet lists all the pattern pieces with spec drawing.
  2. Sewing spec lists each step of construction.
  3. Fabric swatch cards with content information.
  4. Recorded the pieces in the pattern catalog.
To turn this into a more complete spec package, I just need to add:
  1. Finished pattern measurements for quality control
  2. Grading spec
  3. Cost analysis
I've also added a wash testing data form, which is not yet available (soon!) and not included in the book. This form records shrinkage information which is critical for knit fabrics.


  1. Very cool to see the completed project!

    Would you mind explaining (briefly!) which direction you're referring to when you write "Raise the shoulder at the neckpoint"? I tend to take things literally, so "raise" to me means to add height, but I don't think that's how it's used here. My guess is to add length to the shoulder on the neck end of the shoulder seam. Am I close?

    1. I'll do up a drawing to show what I did. Just give me a day or so to get it done.