Hot! The “Piratical” Cardigan

The Facts

Fabric: Striped merino wool knit from my stash, no idea where it came from so I’m considering it free
Pattern: Self drafted
Year: 2012
Notions: 5 red buttons, ~$1, scraps of lightweight interfacing for inside the button placket, free
Time to complete: 1.5 hours
First worn: Valentine’s day, 2012
Wear again? Yep

Total Cost: ~$1

Arrrr! I’m a pirate! Or at least, this cardigan seems to be channeling piratical styles. Ar-arrr!

So it turns out I’m running a bit low on plain ol’ red fabric in my stash. (Or at least in the easily accessible part of my stash.) Since I’m determined not to buy any new fabric this year, this week’s ‘red’ creation has a bit of non-red in it as well. But that’s ok, right?

While hunting for red (or vaguely-red) fabric in my stash, I unearthed a short length of black-and-red striped lightweight merino knit. I have no idea where this came from, how long I’ve had it, or what it would have cost. It’s origins are a complete mystery to me, which is a little bit odd. (Perhaps it snuck itself into my stash one day, just waiting to be found and made into a cardigan?) I briefly considered making a top out of it, but it decided to be a cardigan for three reasons.

1 – I really like cardigans and have hardly any me-made ones, so I’ve been meaning to make some for aaaaages
2 – I’ve been wanting to brave making a button-up cardigan for a while and this seemed like a good excuse
3 – I wear cardigans all year round. Pretty much every single day, in fact. So a cardigan is going to get a heck of a lot more use than a top ever would

And thus, the piratical cardigan sprung into being!

The pattern is a self-drafted one I made over a decade ago when I did a short pattern-drafting course. I just modify it on the fly when I make knit tops. I did decide to get brave with the buttons, though. I wasn’t sure if the merino knit would be stable enough for buttons and button holes by itself, so I folded a strip of lightweight interfacing into the placket before overlocking it down. It doesn’t seem to add much bulk, and it makes the button placket a lot more staple. Complete making-it-up-as-I-go-along win.



Kat stumbled upon The Sew Weekly at the end of 2010. Inspired by Mena's creations and dedication to sewing each week, Kat stitched along with all the weekly themes for 2011. Through The Sew Weekly and the girls who contribute to it, she deepened her passion for vintage styles and started amassing a large collection of vintage patterns. Now she needs an excuse to try using them all.


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  1. I like the whole outfit. Nice use of polkadots with stripes!

  2. Mmmm I want one. My fave colour combo and I love New Zealand made Merino wool jerseys, must try to track some down in Australia – since it’s actually our wool it comes from!! What a great piece – so useful. Love a cardi!

  3. Lovely. The skull and cross bones tights are a great idea! I love piratey things. :)

  4. Very cute. Love the pattern mixing.

  5. Your cardigan looks adorable. I’ve never thought about making one, but you and a few other Sew Weekly contributers are making me think twice!

  6. Love it! My daughter has one similar that I am really jealous of – if she was a bit older I would be stealing it off her.

  7. I love cardigans – and need more in my wardrobe. I like the stripes, spots, block colour and skulls. Cute all round.

  8. You’re a total spunk bubble, your cardigan looks like a store bought it’s that good and self drafted??AWESOME!! . Well done lovely lady.

  9. Great top, looks like a staple piece has been added to the wardrobe.

  10. I love that your tights add to the piratical-ness!

  11. Awesome! Love the strips & dots together. Cardis are a must for me, too… I should try making one for a change.

  12. Thanks everyone! :-)