Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

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Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong – How to grade between sizes

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

Welcome back to the sewalong! In case you missed it, we have already gone over choosing a size and assembling your PDF pattern. Today, we will be talking about grading between sizes.

You can grab your copy of the Blackwood Cardigan here.

The sizing for the Blackwood Cardigan is US letter sizes XS – XXL.  Each size spans a wider size range than numbered sizing (2, 4, 6, etc), so you may find you fall between sizes. Because the Blackwood Cardigan is designed for knit fabrics with quite a bit of stretch, we’ve got some wiggle room. It is also designed to be open at the front, so if it is a little tight around the hips it is not likely to be all that noticeable. All that said, today we will be going over how to grade between sizes with this pattern should you decide to do so!

Make sure to print both the size you are and the size you want to grade up or down to, or you can print all the sizes. The choice is yours as this pattern includes size layers that you can turn on and off before printing.

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

Grading at the hips

To grade out at the hips, simply draw a new curve from the bust or waist down to the hem, falling either between sizes to give you a little more room, or all the way up to the next size. Add the same amount to the front and back pieces.

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

If you grade out at the hips, you need to add the same amount to the bottom band. Measure the added amount on the bodice front and times it by 2. Add that to the bottom band.

Note that the notches on this band will not be in the wrong spot, since they are meant to line up with the side seams. In order to get them to be accurate, we must move them AWAY from the edge that is cut on the fold. Move them the same amount you added to the bodice.

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

To grade in at the hips for a petite bottom, do the opposite of the above and move the notches toward the edge that is cut on the fold.


Grading at the sleeves

The sleeves on the Blackwood have a slim fit, so if you have big guns you may want to grade out OR do a full bicep adjustment. Grading out will give you more room all the way down the sleeve, whereas a full bicep adjustment will focus the extra room at the upper arm. We will be covering how to do a full bicep adjustment next week!

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

If you have really slim arms and petite hands, you may want to grade in to give a slimmer fit. Simply draw a line from your size at the top of the sleeve to the next size down at the cuff.

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

If your adjustments affect the bottom of the sleeve, keep in mind you need to adjust the cuff, too!  If you have graded out less than .5” total, you can leave the cuff as is. If you graded out more, add the same amount to the cuff to keep things even.  If you graded in at all, be sure to take the same amount off of the cuff piece.

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

It is not recommended to grade at the bust, but rather to choose your size based on your bust measurement and adjust from there. Making full bust adjustments or small bust adjustments is a more accurate way to get a good fit here. We will be covering many adjustments next week! Come back to learn the following:

  • Monday – Full Bust Adjustment for knits option #1
  • Tuesday – Full Bust Adjustment for knits option #2
  • Thursday – Full Bicep Adjustment
  • Friday – Narrow Shoulder Adjustment
  • Saturday – Broad Shoulder Adjustment

Let me know if you have any questions about grading the Blackwood Cardigan in the comments or you can reach me directly at, or send me a direct message on Instagram @helens__closet!

About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

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