Sarah's Esme Cardigan

Hello! I'm Sarah (@sewslowsarah) and I'm really excited to be sharing my Named Clothing Esme Cardigan on The Sewist Fabric Shop's blog - a duster cardigan in dusty pink!

Han asked me to choose a fabric and pick a pattern for it, and while browsing the website I was so drawn to this Ottoman Jersey in dusty pink. For starters, pink has become one of my favourite colours in the past year or so, I really like how it looks on me and makes me feel happy. And the fabric itself was intriguing, it looked like a rib knit, but the description said it was medium weight and quite stable, almost ponte-like. When I received a swatch to try out, I was delighted! It's a lovely cosy weight of fabric but still with a lot of stretch, and I thought I could play with the rib direction to make some interesting features. It was also perfect for the Scottish winter!

Sarah's Esme Cardigan

I knew I wanted to make a cardigan and had seen the Esme pattern released by Named Clothing - it's an oversized, maxi cardigan and I just loved the style. Is it a cardigan? Is it a shacket? Is it a duster? Let's call it all three, but for the purposes of this post I'll call it a cardigan, in line with the pattern description. It features big statement pockets and the front is made from two panels that meet at the pocket. The pattern calls for a medium weight or heavy fabric with 20-40% stretch - this was a perfect match for the Ottoman Jersey, and so it was a goer!

As it's an oversized style, I cut the size M - my measurements were spread between a M and L so I went with my hip size and upper bust measurement. I decided I would contrast the rib pattern on the button band only, as I didn't want to stretch out one of the front panels unnecessarily. The fabric requirements in the pattern, as they often are, were quite generous, and so I have about 80cm left, which I'll use to make a matching cardigan for my daughter (I love the Maple cardigan pattern from Poppy and Jazz for using up medium weight stretch remnants). 

Sarah's Esme Cardigan

The pattern came together well. The pockets take a bit of time as they need some reinforcing to keep the shape, but I find the pockets the most time-consuming element in any cardigan project. Despite the time it takes, I like that the instructions included a note to reinforce the pocket seams and the shoulder seams. Many patterns don't ask you to do this, but with stretchy fabrics, it's really helpful to stabilise the seams that take a lot of stress – often it’s the shoulder seams as they carry a lot of weight and so reinforcing them will stop them from stretching out. I used stay tape from my stash, you could also use ribbon if you don't have stay tape.

Sarah's Esme Cardigan

After completing the pockets the cardigan was a pretty quick make. I did have a little wobble while making it though. When I first tried it on after sewing the sleeves and sides together, I had that mid-project moment of panic...It's too long, I should have shortened it! And to be fair, I am only 5ft 2, so it's an understandable worry to have. I pinned out a 7inch adjustment to the length and had a look in the mirror, but although the length seemed more in proportion to my height, something didn't feel quite right to me. So I did what I always do and took to Instagram to search the hashtag. There are varying lengths among the insta community, but the ones I loved all had one thing in common - they were duster length. So, decision made! I unpinned it and went back to the original 3cm hem specified in the instructions. It really is a duster in that it pretty much dusts my ankles as I walk, but I do love that style.

Sarah's Esme Cardigan

If you were going to adjust the length, I'd suggest splitting the adjustments between the upper and lower pieces so that the pockets stay in the right place for your height. If I were to make the cardigan again, I'd probably shorten the upper park about an inch, as the pockets are very low, I can reach them but only just. 

Although the pattern uses buttons, ultimately I decided against them, which I often do on cardigans. I like to wear cardigans open, so the buttons aren’t very functional, and so I just skipped that part, as many others on Instagram have done too. A perk of sewing your own clothes! I also ignored the pattern instructions for the neck/button band seam as I felt it'd be too bulky. I simply sewed both edges of the band to the main body of the cardigan and pressed the seams towards the cardigan. The method in the instructions conceals this seam by attaching only one side of the band and then topstitching the outer side with the seam concealed inside, but that’s quite time consuming and would likely be bulky, so I went with the method I already knew.

Sarah's Esme Cardigan

I really love this cardigan. You know it's a good one when you’ve worn it every day since you made it! I’m very happy with my fabric and colour choice, and the decision to keep it long. The fabric is super cosy, and I love the colour on me too. It's great to wear with jeans and a t-shirt, so is perfect for mum life. Overall, a very successful first make for 2022! Thanks Han for allowing me to make and share it! I think there’s a tiny bit of this fabric left on the website if you’d like to snap it up.


You can find Sarah on Instagram @sewslowsarah and on her personal blog

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