Hello all, I'm Hannah (@yorkiemouse) and I’m here to talk to you about a cosy cardigan.
I was pondering on Instagram stories over whether this amazing true knit fabric would work as a Blackwood cardigan. The pattern asks for 40% stretch, but the fabric has 30%. Han (of The Sewist Fabric Shop) got in touch offering me the fabric in exchange for a blog post. Having bought from my namesake before, I knew that the quality of her fabric is great and I was keen to dip my toe into collaborating. Plus, I'm always cold and needed a cardigan!
Having fallen foul of "stretch maths" before - there was a tiny sports bra "incident" that still haunts me - Hannah reassured me by saying that if it didn't work, it was an experiment we would both learn from. Spoiler alert.....it worked really well.
When I excitedly opened my parcel, I immediately wanted to wrap myself in the fabric. It was exactly what I was after - really soft and quite a light knit. I didn’t want too heavy a knit but I wanted a layer for spring/summer evenings spent huddled around fire pits outside.
Let's get technical for a moment
As it's described on the website, this is a knitted fabric, rather than a "knit" (aka stretch). This means that this fabric has the look and feel of a classic knitted jumper.
The key difference I've found when working with knitted fabric is that the seams need to be finished to reduce the risk of unravelling. Whereas with stretch/jersey knit, I sometimes don't bother finishing my seams. I used my overlocker but a zig-zag stitch would work just as well.
Helen's Closet provide great instructions and they also include detailed fitting advice in their booklets. This helped me decide what size to sew given that I was working with a slightly lower stretch percentage than recommended. I was across sizes (usual for me) so I decided to size-up after reading the fitting advice, mainly because the seam allowance (3/8") didn't leave much room for manoeuvre.
I shortened the bodice and neckband by 1.5", and the sleeves by whopping 4". The pattern references the generous sleeves for a slouchy fit, but with the ever-present need to wash our hands, soggy cuffs are an unappealing prospect.
A break from tradition
I'm a relatively new overlocker user so I always sew my pieces together on my sewing machine, then use the overlocker to neaten the seams. However I couldn't get the pressure right on my sewing machine and the fabric was coming out wavy and stretched. When I ran the fabric through my overlocker, the pressure was much better so I ended up sewing most of the cardigan on my overlocker.
The only time my overlocker objected to this approach was with the middle seam of the neckband. I've experienced the same problem with sweatshirting – when I get to the bulky middle seam, my overlocker can't cope and a needle breaks. A 10pm-needle breakage meant that I came back to the final seam the next day. I ended up hand-cranking over the bulky seam section and managed to spare another needle's demise.
The pockets are in the perfect place for me, thanks to shortening the bodice.
I love this cardigan and think it pairs really well with the fabric. It's perfect as an extra layer and the classic navy means it fits in with my wardrobe. I’ve mainly been wearing it over skirts and dresses, but I think it will go well with jeans (think classic 90s Rachel from Friends) and shorts.
I think this fabric would also work well as an Astoria jumper, and I know Han has made a great Marlo cardigan.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing.
You can find Hannah on instagram @yorkiemouse
Hannah also has a fabulous sewing blog, which you can read here.