Renfrew Cardigan How-To


Ok, it's the moment some of you have been waiting for with baited breath.... the Renfrew cardigan How-To. Let's just get right to it.

For this modification you'll need to trace the following Renfrew pieces,
1. Scoop front and Scoop front neckband
2. Back
3. Long sleeves and long sleeve hem bands
4. Hem Band
 You'll also need a writing utensil, scissors, tape and extra paper.

(Note Renfrew comes with 5/8th seam allowances but I've reduced mine to 1/4.)

1. Take the scoop front and shorten the length by 2".  Then add 1/4" extra width to the entire side seam.  Add another 1/4" to the CF since you'll be sewing a button band to it.

2. Next put your ruler on the shoulder seam of the front. Measure 1 3/4" down from stitching line (not edge of pattern) and draw a line parallel to the should seam. This is your front yoke line.

If you're going to do gathered yokes add some placement notches on this line before cutting it. Later you'll need them to know where to put your gathering stitches.  On my sweater I put a notch 5/8"away from the stitch line on each side. Cut the pattern apart on the yoke line and then add seam allowance to the yoke edge. Label the top part Front Yoke and then set it aside.  We will be using only the bottom half of the pattern next.

3. To add ease to make gathers you'll need to slash and spread the lower part of the front.  Draw a line between the placement notches and parallel to the grain line though the entire length of the pattern.  Now cut the line from the top almost all the way through to the bottom.  You want to leave a little "hinge" for the pattern to swing open from.  Take a scrap piece of paper and place it behind the cut.  Spread the pattern open til there is an 1" gap, then tape the pattern piece to the scrap paper.  Make sure you add some seam allowance to the now yoke seamline now. Trim off any extra paper and label this piece front.  It should look something like this...

1. Take the back and shorten the length by 2".  Then add 1/4" extra width to the entire side seam.

2. From the CB line measure down 4" from seam line.  Draw a straight line perpendicular to the grainline across the pattern piece.  You'll only need to mark on placement notch since the pattern is on the half. Mine is 2.5" from the armhole stitch line. 
Cut the pattern apart on the yoke line and then add seam allowance to both cut edges. Label the top part Back Yoke make sure it says Fold on the CB edge and then set it aside.  Again we will be using only the bottom half of the pattern next.

3. Once again we will be adding more lines to slash and spread on.  Since I wanted to add 2" of ease to the half the back I drew in two lines parallel to the grain line.  Both lines are cut almost all the way through and each is spread open 1".  Fill in the gapes with scrap paper and tape down the cut edges.  You'll want to true the yoke seamline a little bit.  Just make sure it is smooth and it will probably have a tiny curve to it.
Add seam allowance to the yoke seamline edge, trim any excess paper off and label the pattern Back. It should look something like this...

Optional yoke alteration
You can keep the shoulder seam  or you can remove it and have a continuous yoke.  I decided to remove the seam since the front yoke piece is so small.  Simply tape the two pieces along the should seamline and you're done.

1. Add 1/4" to both side seams.  I also shortened the length of my sleeve by 1/2" which is optional.

1. Hem and Sleeve hands stay the same
2. Neck band gets 1/2" additional length added to each end.  (If your fabric has plenty of stretch you may not need the extra length)

Drafting a button band
1. Button band needs to be the length of the CF + half of the hem band + seam allowance doubled (Ahhh Maths!) and 2 1/4" wide plus your chosen seam allowance. You'll fold it in half and serge it on just like the other bands.

And now for a few sewing notes....
1. I used tricot interfacing on the button bands and neck band because I wanted to keep these areas stable.

2.While my overlocker does have a gathering setting it makes no sense to me, so I just used the regular sewing machine to put in some basting stitches.  Using a ball point needle stitch a basting stitch between your placement notches.  Then pull threads until the the main body piece fits the yoke piece.  Serge together and then remove basting.

3. I cut two yokes like you do in shirt making.  Sandwiched them around the back gathers and serged all 3 pieces together.  On the front I only serged the right side yoke and main piece together, then slip stitched the inside yoke to the seam.

4. Sewing order was back yoke, front yoke, neckband, sleeves, side seams, sleeve bands, hem band, button band.

Hopefully this is clear enough but it you have any questions, leave them in the comments.  Happy Sewing!


  1. Nice! I've also been wanting to try Fa-fa-fashion Sewing Supply's interfacing. Thanks for this.

    1. Pam's interfacing is wonderful. I haven't bought any other interfacing for years now.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I pinned it for later so I'll be able to come back to it when I have time!

    1. Pining tutorials, how smart. I'm not worthy of your smartness.

  3. Thank you for sharing! I'm pinning this, too!

    1. Your welcome, I'm going to have to find these boards on pinterest.

  4. Awesome! Cheers for sharing. I'd love to try this at some point :)

    1. I hope you do try it, I'd love to see some other versions. :)


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