She released the Driftless Cardigan just a few days ago. I got it within 5 minutes of the announcement hitting my email inbox. Check this out!
From the pattern description:
"The Driftless Cardigan drapes beautifully and has a casual, yet polished appearance. It’s the perfect cardigan for cooler temperatures throughout the year...This pattern features pockets and drop shoulders. View A is straight across the bottom, while View B has a split hem and is longer in the back.
Techniques involved include sewing with knits, straight seams, attaching binding, thread chains, inserting buttons and buttonholes."
I decided to go with View B - buttons on sweaters don't interest me, and I was intrigued by that back hem band. How fun is this!
The pattern has 10 pieces for either view. That's a lot of pieces for a cardigan sweater - but they make for such nice details. Here's a look at the inside front - those great pocket bags (I had to lighten the pic a lot, purple is almost a bad as black for showing details):
And here's the nifty back - the two main pieces echo the front piecing, which I think adds a lot of interest to what would otherwise be a sea of fabric:
This pattern is rated at Advanced Beginner level, so I sort of thought about that as I was making the cardigan. I think it's valid - the most challenging construction is probably attachment of the neckline and hem bands. Not because it's hard, but because it needs to be done carefully so that the band width is uniform and the finishing is nice.
The pockets might look complicated, but they're actually very easy to sew. I have to credit the pattern drafting on this point - everything fits so well, and it's very gratifying to see the pockets come out so well, particularly in a knit.
As one might expect, the instruction booklet is very well written and illustrated. So the 'hard' parts have lots of guidance for anyone trying some new sewing skills.
A few sewing notes - well, a lot, but I hope they're helpful:
- As noted, I sewed View B, and cut the size 10. Love the fit!
- Being brave, and because this was intended to be a muslin, I used a poly/lycra sweater knit from Fabric Mart by way of France. It's closely knit and has a very small horizontal rib - which meant I had to be super careful in laying out and cutting the pattern so those ribs wouldn't wander around. Aaacck.
- My cutting regret: I failed to note that the pattern comes with 1/4" seam allowance. I prefer to sew knits with 1/2" allowances, and I usually draft my tissue with the added width. Next time... And here's a tip - it's very dangerous to cut notches into 1/4" allowances! I marked all of them with a small gold safety pin instead. Worked great.
- This sweater knit is kind of squishy and thick, so I spent a good bit of time finding the best settings for my machines (the seams are sewn first with a lightning stitch, and the seam allowances are serged together). I had to release the foot pressure on my sewing machine, something I haven't had to do before - but what a difference it made. And I didn't use my walking foot. Another surprise, but it sewed better with a regular foot.
- Because of the weight and ample stretch in my fabric, I staystitched the neckline and front edges about 1/2" in from the edge, and removed the staystitching once the bands were in place.
- IMHO, the sleeve is very narrow - I don't think I would be comfortable with a shirt sleeve under it. And the cuff is fitted as well - mine is only 7.5" around. Redrafting would be easy - just add width to each side of the bottom edge and redraw the side seams. The cuff would also need a little more width. E.g., if an inch is added to the bottom width, one might increase the width of the cuff by 1/2" - 3/4" to accomodate it.
- Finishing the front band: I serged the inside edge, and secured it by stitching in the ditch on the outside, along the band/front seam. That open-toe foot is great for stitch-in-the-ditch because you can see where you're going.
- I didn't use thread chains to secure the pocket bags - I just didn't need them. If you want to try them, Jen has a tutorial on her blog site for making them.
- Last note - I lengthened the front and back by 1", as I'm a little taller than the fit models for most patterns.
I really like this pattern - it would be great in a mid-weight jersey or light sweatshirt fabric as well.
Bye for now - Coco