Plantain cardigans

I’ve mentioned in passing several times the cardigans I’ve made from the free Plantain top pattern. Having just finished the 10th version, I figured it was finally time to write about them!

Most of these cardigans were easy to draft, with only minimal changes from the original pattern. The original Plantain has three main pieces: a front, back, and sleeve.


For most of the cardigans I kept the sleeve as is; the only change was shortening the sleeve length or adding a band. For the front and back pieces, the most frequent change was to get rid of the Plantain’s A-line shape by redrawing the side seams straight down from the armpit. I also played with the length, and in some versions added a band at the bottom. The bands were always cut slightly smaller than the length of the bottom; ditto for all the neck bands, wrist bands, etc. I usually cut the band to length, and then removed a centimeter or two.


This purple cropped cardigan was by far the easiest variation. All I did was chop the front and back a few inches below the armpit (this was dictated by the amount of fabric I had), add 2″ to the front for a foldover button placket, and add a band at the bottom.


The basic cream cardigan also had minimal changes: I straightened the sides and added an inch to the center front.

capsule wardrobe Fall 2015


Navy and white stripes – to avoid having to match stripes at the side seams, I drafted a side-seam-less version. I also added width at the center back and center front for a looser fit, and raised the neckline. I might have loosened the fit of the arms also but I don’t remember.


This yellow version was a bit more complex.  I added a welt pocket, as well as bands on all sides – that is, neck, center front, and bottom. I ended up not adding any closures to this one, because the fabric was a bit stiff (it’s that sort of thick jersey for sweatshirts) and it hangs mostly closed by itself.


This version with drapey pockets was so nice that I made it three times – twice for me, and once for a friend (after she gave me about a hundred compliments about how nice the gray version was, my thick brain finally realized I could make her one). The gray one was the first and is finished at the bottom with a band. For the orange and green versions I improved on the design by cutting the back double, on the fold at the bottom. This way, no band is needed, and the side and shoulder seams are enclosed inside the back for a nice-looking inside.


This tie-front version was inspired by the several versions made by Carolyn. I more or less followed her instructions as to how she put her versions together. Drafting the front on the fold means you have one less edge to worry about finishing, so in the end the only exposed seams are the armholes.


This black wrap version can be worn open or closed. It was drafted by simply extending the front out in a long curve. As shown, the front should be three times as wide as the regular front in order to wrap around and meet at the center back. The edges are just turned over once and zig-zagged, and there is a single button and buttonhole at the point so it can be buttoned at back.


And the most recent version… well. You know that feeling when you make something so nice that you’re actually afraid to wear it? At least I’ll never have that problem with this cardigan. Halfway through this project I had to choose between tossing it out unfinished or finishing it as an at-home-only type of garment. I’m glad I finished it, and actually the details, if I had bothered to do them right, could have been nice. Even the pictures turned out so bad that you can’t actually see the mistakes (terrible loopy seams and dropped stitches, mismatched thread, unfinished edges, gathers and puckers everywhere). Anyway, the concept here was a simple cardigan with rounded front corners, edges finished with a single long band of folded-over fabric.

So I’m well-stocked with cardigans for a while. And good thing too, because spring in Hungary is chilly this year and every extra layer is needed!




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4 Responses to Plantain cardigans

  1. Pingback: April MAGAM: April Showers, Stash Flowers | Hungarian Housekeeping

  2. KaSchu says:

    Brilliant! I envy your creativity. I’m so boring I just make things as the pattern dictates. You have inspired me to try better.

    • Emily Handler says:

      Thanks! The truth is I’m just too lazy and poor to try new patterns, so I keep using the same pattern again and again in new ways 🙂

  3. Pingback: TNT: the Plantain top | Hungarian Housekeeping

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