Even by my standards I have been making heavy work of sewing in the last month. With a couple of short breaks, an “intense” time at work and the school summer break, I’ve only just finished my cardigan. If any of you have noted from my previous participation in Me-Made-May, I have a serious cardigan problem. I wear cardigans to work a lot in the summer and have been relying on three old ready-to-wear cardigans that have seen better days. I have been planning to make myself a cardigan for ages, but somehow it just didn’t happen. For ages I couldn’t decide on a pattern or style. Anyway, I received the Jenna pattern from Muse in a pattern swap through The Monthly Stitch and I suddenly had no more excuses.
I chose a cotton and lycra jersey fabric from Ditto Fabrics. The fabric is described as “a good quality cotton and lycra jersey that’s slightly heavier than a normal T shirt weight” on the website. I thought this would be a good choice for a cardigan. Unfortunately, the fabric has more curl than an eighties perm and as soon as the support from the pattern pieces came off, it was trying to curve. It certainly was a challenging fabric. I’ve never sewn with a jersey fabric that curled so much (perhaps I’ve just been lucky before), is there any particular reason why jersey curls like that?
The first thing I like about the Jenna Cardi pattern is the different pattern choices. I chose to make the long-sleeved, hem-length option without the shoulder yokes. Lately, I have been getting a bit frustrated with my fabric stash as I don’t have much storage space. I have been looking to pare it down. For this reason, I’m currently trying to order as little fabric as possible. In the past I’ve often used whatever fabric length was suggested by the pattern, but I usually end up with loads left over, usually about a 1/2 metre which really isn’t big enough for another project in its own right. I ordered just 1 metre of fabric for the cardigan and with some radical tessellation managed to eke out enough fabric for all the required pieces. There was hardly any fabric left over, so thankfully I’m not adding to the growing stash. The pattern suggests a whopping 1.8 metres for the long-sleeved, hem-length option, so I’m very glad I didn’t have all that left over fabric. Although I do think Kat at Muse is quite tall and I did reduce the arm length and body length a little.
The garment came together quite easily, but I did slow down considerably when it got to the buttons. There were 8 buttonholes to do and I usually only manage a couple each evening! I had expected to find buttonholes on knit fabric to be tricky, but I stabilised the fabric with some iron-on, wash-off stabiliser and the buttonholes look good. I’m very fond of the combination of those buttons in that acqua shade with the darker teal of the fabric. The only thing that was a real problem in the whole make was the top-stitching. My fabric is quite thick and with three layers to sew through where the top-stitching is needed, my zig-zagger thingy (which I use as a walking foot) wouldn’t work and the fabric went a little wavy and stretched out around the neckline.
This didn’t bother me too much, because when you wear it the neckline stretches anyway and the problem doesn’t show. However, I didn’t want to risk this happening on the button / buttonhole bands. I settled for hand-sewing these in place, but I’m not happy with the finish. Although it is tidy, whoever heard of hand-sewing on a knit fabric cardigan? I’m not sure how this could be overcome really, at least not with the sewing machines I have.
Plus, I do think that if you wear the cardigan undone, the overlocker seam on the inside of the button / buttonhole bands can be quite visible. I would like to see a nicer finish there. Any suggestions? Has anyone else used a different finish for this part of the cardigan? My buttonholes still have a bit of the stabiliser attached as I haven’t washed the cardigan yet.
I’ve worn this cardigan quite a few times in the last week and I’m very pleased with the fit and style of it. The main problem though is the colour. It’s an unusual colour. It’s called “petrol’ on the website, although I’ve never seen any petrol that colour. I’m not really sure what possessed me to go with this colour. Sure, I like it, but it goes with hardly anything in my wardrobe. I have lots of black, white and grey, but can I wear it with anything else? The terracotta corduroy trousers are a challenging combination with my new cardigan!
I thought I’d do a little colour experimentation. Perhaps I could make something else that would work well with this top? Playing around with the Adobe Colour site, I managed to get a few more colour options.
What do you think, what colour would you go with? Do you have any clothes that you struggle to integrate into your wardrobe because of their colour?