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How to sew a Sweater with knit fabric

diy knit fabric sweater

I’ve got this knit fabric lying around from more than two years, I bought it because it was pretty!! I used a small piece to make this chair cover and then forgot about it! I first tough to make a knit cardigan, like this one, but I change my mind and I decide to make a sweater.

I didn’t have any pattern on hand so I find a way to make the sweater without one. I use an XL t-shirt as a template to make my own pattern. I will explain how to draw the pattern and how to sew the pieces together to make yourself a nice sweater. It’s much easier than you think. Ready to sew your sweater?

make the pattern of sweater

Place a large t-shirt on a sheet of paper. I wanted the sweater to be loose, so I used a t-shirt bigger than my usual size as template. To give you an idea I usually wear L woman size, this is an XL men t-shirt. You can try the t-shirt to have an idea of how the sweater will fit. Once you have your t-shirt template, report the t-shirt shape on the paper.

trace neckline sweater pattern

Draw a more open neckline than the t-shirt one. It has to be 2 inches lower and 5 inches larger than the t-shirt neckline( 2 1/2 inches longer on each side).

trace sleeve sweater pattern

You need to adapt the sleeves width, measure 5 inches from the bottom sleeve edge. Trace a line to joint it with the extremity of the neckline.
Remember that the measurements I give are to make an L size sweater, so you may have to adapt the dimensions if you wear smaller or larger sizes.

trace bottom sweater pattern

The high of my sweater (aka the measure between the neckline and the bottom) is 24 inches. You can choose to make the sweater longer or shorter. Just take the measure, starting from your shoulder to your belly / hips / thigh. Modify a little the bottom line, draw a slight curve instead of a straight line.

cut sweater pattern

Fold your drawing in the middle and cut it, it’s the best way to have a perfectly symmetrical pattern.

cut sleeve sweater pattern

Cut a rectangle of 10 inches by 8 1/2 inches to make the second part of the sleeves.

adjust sleeve sweater pattern

Ford the rectangle in the middle and draw a triangle of 1 in. high on one side (not on the fold). And cut, this will make the end of the sleeve smaller.

repart sweater pattern on knit fabric

Report each shape twice on the fabric. I couldn’t draw on the knit, so I pin the pattern and cut it out. Don’t forget to leave a 1/2 in. allowance for the seams. Once the 4 pieces are cut, serger all the edges! If, like me, you don’t have a serger machine, just make zigzag stitches. This will prevent the fabric to fray.

sew the sweater

Place the 2 sweater pieces on top of each other, wrong sides out. Pin and sew the shoulder part of the sleeves using zigzag stitches.

sewing sweater sleeves

Take the sleeves pieces, make a fold on the smaller side and sew it.
Open the sweater, right side up, and put a sleeve piece on it, wrong side up. Pin and sew the sleeve with the sweater. Repeat the same on the other side for the second sleeve.

sew sweater with knit fabric

Put your sweater flat again, wrong side out. Pin the edges and sew (zigzag point) the low part of the sleeves and the sides together.

sewing sweater bottom

Once both sides are sewn, make a fold all along the bottom, pin and sew.

sewing zipper on sweater

I wanted to add a pop of color to my sweater so I added a pink zipper. These following steps are optional.

If you want to add a zipper, turn your sweater right side out and place the zipper in the center of one side. Pin it (fold the zipper end under it) and sew it on the sweater with a matching colored thread. You need to sew the zipper on only one side of the sweater, so be careful not to sew both layers.

adding zipper on sweater

Once sewn, open the zipper and cut the knit fabric. Use some pins to make a fold, trough the inside, all along the neckline and sew.

finishing zipper on sweater

The last finishing touch all long the zipper, roll the fabric on itself and make small hand stitches to hold it. And done! Wear and enjoy your new sweater!

diy sweater with knit fabric

What I love the most is the zipper! And as the sweater is symmetric, you
can wear it with the zipper in front or on the back, with the zipper close or open! It’s kind of fun.

While I was writing the tutorial I realize that drawing the pattern wasn’t as easy to explain as I thought. So, would you be interested if I make a printable pattern? Any suggestions about that?

how to sew a sweater with knit fabric


diy sweater with knit fabric


how to sew a sweater


diy sweater with knit

Want to remember it? Save this DIY knit sweater in your favorite Pinterest board.

how to sew a sweater



You will find all the tutorials featured in the video on my “Best DIY” page.



Tuesday 16th of February 2021

I really love knitting. Thank you for sharing. I'm eager to make the first one for my mom.


Wednesday 17th of February 2021

I have no clue how to knit, but this sweater was very easy to sew. I hope your mom will like it! Have fun sewing!


Thursday 24th of November 2016

Great idea. It looks comfy and also very trendy. Thanks for sharing the idea.

Ama Ryllis

Friday 2nd of December 2016

Thanks Sonja, I'm glad you like it!