Over the years, I’ve learned that good cardigan patterns are hard to come by! I’ve made this McCall’s pattern up in lots of variations. It’s a great staple to chew up scraps and create a unique “toss it on” over a sundress jacket without adding a lot of weight. This is an uncommon pattern as far as sewing patterns go – knit cardis with details are rare, but an absolute must have as a wardrobe builder/twinset coordinate. If you can find it, give it a try! It’s definitely one of my “go to” patterns.
I’ve made a total of three, each taking about 1 afternoon
This pattern is sized XS-XL. I typically am between a 12-14 in McCall/Butterick/Vogue knits. It is my standard alteration to cut a 12 (S) front, 14 (M) sleeve and 12/14 back (M). I grade the S shoulders to the M bodice in the back by tracing the M armhole and repositioning it to the S shoulders. To grade a larger size arm onto a smaller bodice, trace the larger armhole and place the top corner at the top corner of the smaller size. Rotate until the sides overlap. You should notice the armpit is about 1/4″ lower if you went down one size. (I should add this to the techniques section at some point). I commonly do this to grade a size 12 shoulders to a size 14 body. I experimented with mixing up the bodice and sleeve options from those in the pattern views.
The first time I did it, I meticulously followed the instructions, adapting for a serger. I also changed the step where the front facing is hand stitched down. I pressed the raw edge 1/2″ instead of 5/8″ and then used a stitch in the ditch to finish it.
The first time through, I used my Bernina 1150mda serger. It makes beautiful stitches, but has to be dialed in every time I change fabric or thickness. The last one was constructed on a Babylock Ovation, which does not have tensioning to fiddle with. it was night and day how much faster I can complete these knit projects!
if you have a Bernina, you know how fussy the buttonhole foot is with lightweight knits. I used the metal buttonhole plates and medium weight tear away stabilizer.
Overall, of the pattern details I like the most is the bands on this pattern. It gives me lots of creative options. I can pick out 3 to 4 knit scraps, or a printed tee, from my stash and make a unique art piece!
For the main body I’ve used a variety of fabrics: men’s printed cotton surfer tee, men’s vintage pin-up girl tee, graphic city EOS print, patchwork of EOS scraps. For the bands, I’ve used everything from a 0% stretch knit to an EOS buttermilk scrap and EOS stripe scrap. The bands are interfaced, so the amount of give is not very important, but the collar edge is not interfaced. This edge will require some give in the fabric. For the sleeves I’ve also experimented with knit burnout I found in the fabric clearance at JoAnn’s at 50% off.
As you may notice, if you follow me, I do a lot of “color-blocking”, but with prints. I have a stash of pretty this-and-that’s. I will pick up a yard here and a yard there, kinda like a quilter would, but knits 😉
The idea of sourcing RTW for fabric is not a new idea. When I was a little girl, my grandmother would go to garage sales and buy mumus and other XL garments for fabric. I’m just continuing this tradition with cool tees.
I also embroidered a couple of these, just for kicks. This was my first project using the 750 QE as a 750 QEE (my 830E was STILL in the shop at that time).
- The stabilizer in the photos is wash away. I did two layers of stabilizer under (Aqua mesh, aqua mesh plus)
- I used the sticky side of the Aqua mesh plus to tack the fabric down on a med hoop.
- I lightly sprayed with temp adhesive and applied a layer of wash away film.
- I installed a 75/11 Schmetz embroidery needle
- Stitched the design out at the QE’s highest setting (1100 SPS)