The Blackwood Cardigan

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!

Sewing Notes

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!)


Clearly this needs to be pressed!

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!



Update! February 2021

I’ve just made another version of the Blackwood Cardigan, this time in ribbed knit that was purchased from Fabric Mart a couple of years ago. This is described as “Steel Blue Gray Ribbed Knit” from St John, yes – that St John! I found a photo of a RTW sweater in this fabric and I think it looks better as a cardigan than it did as a $700 pullover.

This time around I cut an XL and I’m now wishing that I had cut an XXL because I do prefer a cardigan that comes further across my bust. Maybe this will be the impetus I make my bust smaller instead of sewing bigger.

I used a piece of narrow black ribbon instead of clear elastic for the shoulder seams. And I made a neck tag from a piece of selvedge. This fabric needs very gentle care and I don’t want to forget that! To make the tag, I added black stabilizer to the back of a strip of selvedge and sewed my initials and “Hand Wash” using the lettering on my Brother Pacesetter PS 500. It was a fun project!

14 thoughts on “The Blackwood Cardigan

  1. I love them! I really love the pink heather one. I have been oogling this pattern for a while. I guess I will have to get off the fence. I love long cardigans like this. They are great for staying warm, keeping stylish even in casual clothes, and they are body flattering. Like you said. What’s not to like? You did a great job on these, Janine. They look RTW.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your sweaters look great. I especially like the pink one. I like that you can see the banding better in the lighter one. You’ve convinced me to give this pattern a try. I have one really old sweater and it needs to be retired. I just bought a sweater knit and I think this pattern would be a good fit with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have wanted to make this pattern for a long time. Weather is cooler now so have this in my pattern queue to sew soon. I have some nice fabrics in my stash that will be perfect. I like both of your versions each has a different look with the same pattern.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. They’re lovely! I especially love the pink heather one.

    I keep eyeing this pattern because it’s been so lauded in the sewing blogosphere, but I’m also pretty frugal so the cost for such a simple pattern gives me pause. Don’t get me wrong, I buy a lot of indie patterns, but only getting a PDF and not paper for that price point makes me a sad panda. I feel like I’m pretty close to pulling the trigger anyway, though, despite searching out alternatives with other indie designers and the Big 4.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And thanks for reading my blog and commenting 🙂

      It’s funny you say this. When I was taping the pattern my husband asked me if it was free. When I told him that it was not he rolled his eyes and said that there should be a discount for patterns that you have to print and put together 🤷‍♀️ I know there is one in the works for a Christmas gift so that’s bringing the price-per-print-and-cut down but yes, I completely get this.

      Someone I know mentioned something about a McCall’s pattern that is similar. If I can find the number I’ll post it back for you.


      1. I’ve been so bad about commenting lately in general; life has been lifey. Ha. I mean, I’m taking like 6 weeks to reply just to this.

        LOL your hubby. I ended up buying the Blackwood during Black Friday sales. Still need to sew it up: hoping I have time in February!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ruth! I have found the measurements are spot on. Of course sizing depends on your fabric. If you have a very stretchy fabric then you should have no worries. The sleeves have very little ease so if you plan to wear it over something bulky you may want to add a wee bit to the sleeve width. Good luck with your project!!


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