How To Finish A Knitted Cardigan?

To finish a knitted cardigan, you can follow these general steps:

  • Weave in Ends: Use a tapestry needle to weave in any loose ends of yarn from the knitting. Thread the needle with the yarn tail and weave it through the stitches on the wrong side of the fabric. Trim any excess yarn.
  • Block the Cardigan: Wet blocking or steam blocking can help even out the stitches and shape the cardigan. Follow the instructions for the specific fiber content of the yarn.
  • Sew the Seams: Use a tapestry needle and yarn to sew the seams of the cardigan. Match up the edges of the front and back pieces, and use a whip stitch or mattress stitch to sew them together. Sew the sleeves to the armholes in the same way.
  • Add the Button Bands: If the cardigan has button bands, follow the pattern instructions to pick up stitches along the front edges of the cardigan and knit the bands. Use a whip stitch or mattress stitch to sew the button bands to the cardigan.
  • Add the Buttons: Sew the buttons onto the button bands, making sure they line up with the buttonholes.
  • Finish the Edges: If the cardigan has any unfinished edges, such as the collar or cuffs, follow the pattern instructions to finish them. This may involve knitting a few rows of ribbing or adding a crochet border.
How To Finish A Knitted Cardigan?

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Blocking the Knitted Pieces

Wet Blocking

Wet blocking is a crucial step in finishing your knitted cardigan. It involves soaking your knitted pieces in water, gently squeezing out the excess moisture, and then laying them flat to dry. Wet blocking helps even out the stitches, relaxes the fibers, and gives your cardigan a professional finish. To wet block your knitted pieces, fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a few drops of gentle detergent. Submerge your pieces in the water and let them soak for about 20 minutes. After soaking, carefully squeeze out the excess water, without wringing or twisting the fabric. Lay them flat on a clean towel, shaping them into the desired dimensions and smoothing out any wrinkles. Leave them to dry completely before proceeding with the next steps.

Steam Blocking

Steam blocking is an alternative method to wet blocking and is particularly useful for wool or heat-resistant fibers. To steam block your knitted cardigan, hold a steam iron a few inches above the knitted fabric and allow the steam to penetrate the fibers. Gently smooth out the fabric with your hands as you go, being careful not to place too much pressure on the garment. The steam relaxes the fibers, allowing you to shape the cardigan and achieve the desired measurements. Make sure to move the iron continuously to avoid scorching the fabric. Once the cardigan is evenly steamed, lay it flat to cool and dry completely.

Seaming the Pieces

Seaming the Shoulders

To seam the shoulders of your knitted cardigan, you will need a tapestry needle and yarn in a similar color. Lay the cardigan front and back pieces flat, with right sides facing up. Starting from one corner, insert the needle under the first horizontal bar of both pieces and pull the yarn through. Continue working your way across the row, alternating between the front and back pieces until the shoulder seam is complete. Make sure to maintain an even tension and avoid pulling too tightly. Tie a secure knot at the end, or weave in the yarn tail for a neater finish.

Joining the Sleeves

To attach the sleeves to your cardigan, lay the cardigan body flat with the right side facing up. Position the sleeve on top, aligning the shoulder seam. Using the same seaming technique as for the shoulders, join the sleeve to the cardigan body by sewing through both layers of fabric. Start from the underarm and work your way up to the shoulder. Repeat the process for the other sleeve. Once the sleeves are attached, reinforce the armpit area by sewing a few stitches back and forth. This reinforces the seam and prevents any gaps or holes.

Seaming the Sides

To seam the sides of your cardigan, fold the garment in half, with the right sides facing each other. Starting at the bottom edge, insert the needle through the corresponding stitches on both sides, working your way up. The mattress stitch is a commonly used seaming technique for joining garment sides. It creates an invisible seam, giving your cardigan a professional finish. Make sure to maintain an even tension and sew all the way up to the sleeve opening. Repeat the process for the other side.

Attaching the Collar or Neckband

After seaming the shoulders, sleeves, and sides, it’s time to attach the collar or neckband to your cardigan. The specific method will depend on the pattern you are following, but generally, you will pick up stitches along the neckline and work the collar separately. Use a circular needle or double-pointed needles to pick up stitches evenly around the neckline. Then, follow the pattern instructions to knit or purl the collar or neckband in the desired stitch pattern. Once the collar is complete, sew it onto the neckline, making sure to distribute any excess fabric evenly.

Adding Buttons or Fasteners

Once your cardigan is fully assembled, you can add buttons or other fasteners to secure the front opening. Choose buttons that complement the style and color of your cardigan. Sew the buttons onto one front edge, making sure they align with the corresponding buttonholes on the other edge. For a neater finish, reinforce the area behind the buttons with a small piece of fabric or interfacing. Alternatively, you can use clasps, toggles, or even a zipper depending on your personal preference and the design of your cardigan.

Creating Buttonholes

Vertical Buttonholes

Vertical buttonholes are commonly used for cardigans and provide a neat and secure closure. To create vertical buttonholes, you will need to determine the placement and size of the buttonholes based on the size of your buttons. Once you have marked the positions, use a small circular needle or double-pointed needles to knit the stitches for each buttonhole. Follow your pattern instructions or use the following basic method: knit to the desired buttonhole position, knit two stitches together, yarn over, and knit the remaining stitches. On the next row, purl the buttonhole stitches to reinforce them. Repeat for each buttonhole.

Horizontal Buttonholes

If you prefer a more decorative buttonhole, you can opt for horizontal buttonholes. These buttonholes are created by binding off stitches and casting on new ones in the same row. They can be a bit trickier to work, but they give a unique touch to your cardigan. To create a horizontal buttonhole, knit to the desired buttonhole position, bind off the required number of stitches, then using the cable cast-on method, cast on the same number of stitches that were bound off. Continue knitting the remaining stitches. On the next row, work the buttonhole stitches as regular stitches, ensuring an even tension. Repeat for each buttonhole.

How To Finish A Knitted Cardigan?

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Weaving in Ends

After seaming and attaching any embellishments or ribbing, you will have loose yarn ends that need to be secured. Weaving in ends is essential for a clean and professional finish. Start by threading a tapestry needle with the yarn tail. Insert the needle under several stitches on the wrong side of the fabric, following the path of the yarn. Weave the needle in different directions, making sure not to create bulk or distort the fabric. Trim any excess yarn close to the fabric, taking care not to cut through the woven-in end. Repeat this process for all remaining loose ends.

Adding Ribbing or Edging

Picking Up Stitches

To add ribbing or edging to your cardigan, you will need to pick up stitches along the edges. Use a circular needle or double-pointed needles and begin picking up stitches at the desired starting point. Insert the needle into the fabric at regular intervals, typically one stitch for every two rows, or as specified in your pattern. Gently tug on the working yarn to create the new stitches. Continue picking up stitches evenly, following the contour of the cardigan. Once all the stitches are picked up, you can begin knitting the ribbing or edging as instructed in your pattern.

Knitting Ribbing or Edging

Ribbing and edging add structure and a polished finish to your cardigan. They can be worked in various stitch patterns, such as 1×1 ribbing, 2×2 ribbing, or garter stitch. Ribbing is typically done using smaller needles to create a stretchy and firm fabric. Follow the pattern instructions or use the desired stitch pattern to knit the ribbing or edging. Depending on the design, you may need to work multiple rows or rounds of the chosen stitch pattern. Make sure to maintain an even tension throughout the process. Once the desired length is reached, bind off the stitches and weave in any loose ends.

How To Finish A Knitted Cardigan?

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Finishing the Neckline

Adding a Decorative Edge

To give your cardigan’s neckline a decorative edge, you can add a simple crochet trim or picot bind off. Crochet edge options include single crochet, half-double crochet, or a decorative shell stitch. Choose a crochet hook size that complements your yarn weight and the desired effect. Work the crochet stitches evenly along the neckline, spacing them as desired. Make sure to keep the tension consistent to avoid puckering or stretching. If you prefer a knitted edge, a picot bind off adds a delicate touch. Follow your pattern instructions or research various tutorials for guidance on these techniques.

Creating a Folded Hem

Another way to finish the neckline of your cardigan is by creating a folded hem. This technique provides a clean and polished edge. To create a folded hem, knit a few rows of the same ribbing or edging stitch pattern used for the rest of the cardigan. Then, fold the fabric towards the wrong side along the last knitted row and use a tapestry needle to sew the folded edge securely in place. Depending on the thickness of your fabric, you may need to use a larger needle size or a crochet hook to create a looser bind-off edge. This technique adds stability and a professional finish to the neckline.

Blocking the Finished Cardigan

Wet Blocking

Once your cardigan is fully assembled, including any added ribbing, collars, or trim, it’s time for a final blocking. Wet blocking the finished cardigan ensures that the fabric relaxes, the stitches even out, and the garment takes on its intended shape. Following the wet blocking process described earlier, submerge your cardigan in lukewarm water with a few drops of gentle detergent. Let it soak for about 20 minutes, gently squeeze out the excess water, and lay it flat on a clean towel to dry. Shape the cardigan to the desired measurements and smooth out any wrinkles. Once dry, your cardigan will have a professional and finished look.

Steam Blocking

If you prefer to steam block the finished cardigan, make sure to use a steam iron on a suitable setting for your fabric. Hold the iron a few inches above the garment and move it continuously, allowing the steam to penetrate the fibers. Use your hands to smooth out the fabric and shape it as desired. Be cautious not to press down too hard or scorch the fabric. Once you’ve evenly steamed the cardigan, lay it flat to cool and dry completely. Steam blocking is an effective method for giving your cardigan a polished finish without soaking it in water.

How To Finish A Knitted Cardigan?

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Adding Embellishments


If you’d like to add a personal touch or enhance the visual appeal of your cardigan, embroidery is a wonderful option. You can choose to add intricate designs, simple motifs, or even personalized initials. Embroidery can be worked directly onto the cardigan fabric using embroidery floss or lightweight yarn and a tapestry needle. Use a hoop to hold the fabric taut and ensure even stitches. Explore various embroidery stitches, such as satin stitch, backstitch, or French knots, to create beautiful details. Take your time and experiment with different colors and designs until you achieve the desired effect.


Appliqué is another way to add embellishments to your knitted cardigan. It involves attaching decorative fabric or knitted pieces onto your cardigan using hand or machine sewing. Cut out the desired shape or design from the fabric or knitted material and secure it in place on the cardigan using pins. Hand sew the edges using a matching thread and a small, neat stitch. Appliqués can be used to create decorative patches, motifs, or even entire sections of fabric on your cardigan. This technique allows for endless creativity and customization.

Crochet Details

If you enjoy crochet, incorporating crocheted details onto your knitted cardigan can add a unique touch. You can crochet decorative edgings, flower motifs, or even crochet panels to attach to specific areas of the cardigan. Depending on your desired effect, choose a crochet hook and yarn that complement the weight of your cardigan, and follow a pattern or create your own design. Crocheted details can provide texture, color contrast, and a whimsical charm to your finished garment. Experiment with different stitches and motifs to showcase your crochet skills.

Cleaning and Caring for the Cardigan

Hand Washing

To ensure the longevity of your knitted cardigan, it’s essential to follow proper cleaning and care instructions. Hand washing is typically the safest method for most knitted garments. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Gently submerge the cardigan in the water, swishing it gently to remove any dirt or residue. Avoid agitating or wringing the fabric, as this can cause stretching or felting. Rinse the cardigan thoroughly with clean water, gently squeeze out excess water, and lay it flat on a towel to dry.

Machine Washing

Before considering machine washing your knitted cardigan, check the care instructions on the yarn label or pattern. Some yarns may be machine washable, while others may require more delicate handling. If machine washing is suitable for your cardigan, use a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent. Place the cardigan in a mesh laundry bag to prevent snagging and tangling. Avoid washing with garments that have zippers or Velcro, as they can damage the knitted fabric. Once the cycle is complete, reshape the cardigan and lay it flat to dry.

Storing Properly

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the shape and quality of your knitted cardigan. Before storing, make sure your cardigan is clean and fully dry to prevent musty odors and potential damage. Fold the cardigan neatly, avoiding tight creases that can distort the fabric. If possible, store the cardigan in a breathable garment bag or wrap it in acid-free tissue paper to protect it from dust, moths, and other pests. Choose a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations. Avoid hanging your knitted cardigan, as it can cause stretching and deformation of the fabric over time.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can successfully finish your knitted cardigan and achieve a polished and professional final product. The blocking, seaming, adding buttons or fasteners, creating buttonholes, weaving in ends, adding ribbing or edging, finishing the neckline, blocking the finished cardigan, adding embellishments, and cleaning and caring for your cardigan will result in a garment that you’ll be proud to wear or gift. Enjoy the process of crafting your knitted cardigan and wear it with warmth and style!

How To Finish A Knitted Cardigan?

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