There are plenty of raves for this pattern in the blogosphere. Now I understand why!
The Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet is a pdf pattern for a straight fitting, open cardigan in one of two lengths – mid-thigh, or mid-hip. I bought the pattern about 10 months ago and the thought of taping together pattern pieces and cutting the fabric meant that it sat for too long.
Sweater-knit fabric from Fabric Mart Fabrics. Actually, two sweater-knit fabrics … the first is very lightweight, almost sheer, with navy, cranberry and white striations. The second is a slightly heavier weight fabric in pink heather.
The navy print was $2.99 a yard (!), and the pink was $5 a yard. Considering that the pattern only needs about 1 1/2 yards, this is a super frugal sweater!
Earlier this year one of my favourite sweaters got a run in the front band right at the top where it’s really noticeable. I considered attempting to repair the run, but there is no way I could manage such fine work in a highly visible place. And since I’m on the RTW Fast I can’t buy another until January.
I had some trepidation about cutting into a sweater knit – I knit and am well aware of how easy it is to start a run. It turns out that sewing a purchased sweater-knit is just like cutting any other fabric. Okay, not exactly the same. You do have to be careful not to catch the fabric on a pin or anything sharp. Once I got past the fear of ruining a $5 piece of fabric, this was an easy sew.
There were no alterations needed, although the long version of the sweater is designed to have front pockets. That looked a bit too grandad for me, so I left them off.
Both sweaters were sewn completely on my serger, except for the topstitching around the front band at the end for which I used a narrow zig-zag (.5mm x 3 mm). On the shoulder seams, clear elastic was applied for added stability.
On the pink heather version, I had pink thread and grey thread, both of which would have brought too much attention to the seams if the sweater blew open. So I used both threads in the serger and the result was really good!
You know it wouldn’t be a Janine sewing project without some mishap! On the first version, the navy one, I cut the fabric double which was a mistake because this fabric moves so the stripes were all over the place and a couple of the bands and both sleeves had to be cut again (and even then the lines aren’t straight on the back). Then inexplicably I cut the front band about 3″ too short, and I had to add a piece at the lower edge of the band. Fortunately, that piece aligned with the bottom band, however, the mistake was a head-scratcher. (I made up that version at an ASG sewing bee so can’t blame wine this time!)
The first version took about 5 hours from start to finish because of my errors, not including taping the pattern pieces together. The second version took under 3 hours. Man, that’s a satisfying sew!
Highly recommend this pattern! The shape is great, it sews up easily, and this is a classic style that works for probably every figure type and age. The longer length gives the appearance of a longer and leaner body, which is a bonus in my books. There will be at least one more. The fabric is in the hopper for November!