Cardi inspiration....

One of the most common gaps I've noticed in MMM participants wardrobes (including mine!) is self made cardigans. I'm a huge cardi fan, and I've barely taken my brand spankin' new knitted Featherweight off in the last week.  It's the only self made cardigan in my wardrobe, and the rest are becoming tired and in need of replacing. So I thought I'd do a bit of a roundup of cardigan sewing patterns that appeal to me, because much as I love my Featherweight, taking 4 months to knit another one is a little impractical!!


Burdastyle
(all pics from Burdastyle)

Lace Jacket 03/2013


I loved this when it came out, mostly because it is pretty much identical to one of my favourite RTW cardigans in my wardrobe, right down to the bust gathering. I will give this a go, but my concern is how the button band is attached (and the fear of making button holes on knits - anyone got any tips on that one?). If I can master this pattern I'll be very well pleased.



Wrap Knit Top 11/2012


I've never personally had a wrap style cardigan, but I love the look - I'm just not certain how it will look on me. So this pattern, at only $5.99 USD is a fairly inexpensive risk (and also has the option for a full length wrap dress). It is a petite pattern though, so no doubt it will need lengthening. There are a few other similar styles on the interwebs, with Papercut Patterns Coppelia being one of them but I prefer these set in sleeves over the raglan for a wrap cardigan. I think before I waste fabric and time I might do some shopping research and find a RTW version to try on first....

Cozy Sweater 01/2012



I guess this isn't truly a cardigan, but I do love that neckline and the sleeve detail, and in a less bulky fabric I think it would be cozy indeed! I think it is designed for tall ladies, according to the sizing chart. I'd probably leave out the zippered welt pockets, maybe change then to inseam pockets at the side seams and shorten it a little - it looks rather long on the model (I think it's a tall pattern). I'd also leave the front zip closure off, and use sew-on snaps - it might only need one at the top. It is designed for 'jacket fabrics' (whatever that means - I'm guessing non-stretch) but I think in a stable knit it would be gorgeous. I saw a pure wool fleece at the Fabric Store last week that would be perfect......

Burdastyle has quite a few more cardi patterns, but they're all pretty similar - long and drapey or big robe-like wraparound things. I'm happy to be cozy but I don't want to be swamped!



Big Four

Simplicity 2560

I've got a feeling this is now out of print - I bought this off Ebay, but Simplicity 2206 is similar. Now before you think I've gone mental with these bat-shit crazy sleeve frills, the reason I'm keen to make this one is it's very similar to another favourite but aging RTW cardigan in my wardrobe. I'd be making View B in length C and with full length sleeves and less fullness in the gathering under the bust - it's actually a very flattering style. I have traced this off but am yet to cut it out. Being a dolman sleeve it will be a bit fabric hungry, but in a lovely fine merino knit I think this will be a winner. Trust me.  




I like the Chanel-esque lines of this cardi, plus the little darts and the wider neck band and button band. Sure it's a bit Stepford Wives, but combined with jeans I think it'd be cute. I'd probably shorten it a little and maybe add some waist shaping. Those raglan sleeves would lend themselves to some fabulous stripe matching....

There's not much else in the Big Four range that I like.... lots of drapey waterfally patterns - meh.


Independent Patterns

Schnittchen Louise Cardigan



Schnittchen is a German pattern company with some interesting designs. I do like this cardigan (but not the way it has been styled - that woman looks like she's wearing a nappy). At only 3.90 Euros for the PDF it's great value. I'm guessing the instructions will be in German, but that's what Google Translate is for!



The Scarf Neck Cardigan by Swoon


I'm not normally drawn to the longer drapey cardigans (I prefer mine hip length) but what I do like about this pattern (which incidentally is free!) is the princess seaming over the bust. It's just a bit different, and I'm keen to make this up in a shorter length. There's some great examples of colour blocking over on the Swoon website. There's lots of different body-shapes on there too and it looks lovely on all the ladies featured in their gallery. This pattern calls for a fairly fine knit. Mmm merino....


The Julia Women's Cardigan by Mouse House Creations



I love this pattern. It's so cleverly drafted and finished, and all the finished versions I've seen have been so flattering. I particularly love Katy's merino version with contrasting bands - so warm and cozy! At $9USD on either the designer's website or on Etsy and Craftsy it's priced quite well.

Saunio Cardigan by Named Clothing

 

I haven't been able to find any examples of this pattern made up yet. I like the sleeves, but I'm not super taken with the way the front sections hang.... It's not dissimilar to the Burda cozy cardi, but less interesting..... Not 100% on this one but could be convinced once others have taken the plunge...


Cosy Cardi by Style Arc


Style Arc has quite a few cardigan patterns, but most of them are long and drapey. The Cosy Cardi is similar to the Burda pattern - I prefer the Burda pattern when comparing them side by side.

Laura knit cardi by Style Arc


I've included this one as I do love the collar on it. But unsurprisingly I'd be wanting to shorten it to hip length!

So that's my personal top ten or so cardigan patterns. Based on personal style, value for money, wearability and being able to get a good quality finish (because ultimately I think that would be one of the most challenging aspects of self-sewn knit cardigan, particularly with a button band) I think my top picks would be the Burdastyle lace jacket, the Burdastyle Cosy Cardigan, my adjusted version of Simplicity 2560, the Swoon Scarf Neck cardi, and the Julia Cardigan.

The next big task of course is finding the right fabric! I won't buy knit fabrics without feeling them first - the quality can be so variable. I'm lucky - in Melbourne there are several great fabric shops that sell great wool knits - Darn Cheap has the occasional treasure, and the Fabric Store has an endless range of divine colourful merino knits in different weights. And Rathdowne Remnants has excellent value for money knits too - I remember last year they had a divine wool-silk blend at a very reasonable price.

So what's your favourite out of my picks? Have you made any of these? Can you suggest any other patterns that I might like? And any tips for doing buttonholes on knits?


Comments

  1. Darn blogger ate my last comment! I've made the Simplicity and the Laura. Make sure that the button band is well stabilised and practice first. And I think that the Julia is the pick of your bunch here - you've introduced me to some lovely patterns. And Rathdowne has some terrific wool and wool blend jerseys (Bettina Liano ones) at the moment.
    My last comment was so much more eloquent.....

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    1. Haha I knew you'd be a good brain to pick, queen of knits that you are! Thanks for the rathdowne tip - might have to check them out next week I think.....

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  2. I like quite a few of these, but I really like the Swoon one. I am a bit of a drapey cardi fan, they always feel so snuggly and since I live in skinny jeans the silhouette is quite balanced. Oh, and we all know I like me a free pattern! I think I need to get myself back to The Fabric Store for some merino. Bugger they had a sale on merino recently I think?

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    1. Oh I'm sure it'd look ace on you! I haven't seen the merino st the Melbourne store on sale before, but then I don't go that often! Maybe I need to Stalkbook them....

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    2. Yep checked and it's on sale for $20/m until the end of the week. Get thee there. I can't, child in tow for rest of week :(

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    3. Thanks mate you're awesome! Fingers crossed you get there too - $40 for a merino cardi is too good to pass up!

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  3. A few goodies here! I've been feeling the cold lately (??) and so when I saw the cocoon cardi from Burda on Project Sewn this morning I immediately became obsessed with it. You are right about Katies Julia cardi, it's great.

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    1. I bet Canberra's getting chilly now - a nice cozy cardi would be essential up there!

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  4. Thanks for the great list! I think I'll give the wrap version a go :)

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    1. Oh nice one - I just wish I had the time and cash to make them all! I thought next time I'm near a Bloch store I'd get my inner ballerina on and try one! Good luck - let me know what you think!

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  5. Thank you, this is so useful! I've been needing a cardi for ages but just don't have the ability or time to knit one.

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    1. You're welcome Lauren - I think even coming into summer in the UK a cardi is always essential!

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  6. Thanks for the timely wrap up of these, I was just about to go on the hunt or self draft! Lekala has a princess seamed one also: http://www.lekala.co/catalog/women/cardigan

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    1. You're welcome! I did look at the Lekala ones, it's all a bit of a blur now! I know Lara over at Thornberry loves Lekala patterns but I've not had any experience with them myself. It's a cool idea though!

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  7. I just bought the Julia cardi pattern. Hopefully I can get one sewn up soon. I did hear
    The Fabric Store has merino knits for $20/m but I'm on the opposite side of the city. Maybe this weekend as they look so good for the cardi. :)

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    1. Oh I hope you get there - I was there about 2 weeks ago and they are the most gorgeous fabrics. They vary in price but are so pretty. Loved your knit dress you made for the wedding in March and look forward to seeing your Julia!

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  8. Thanks for the round-up, Sarah! I could definitely need a few new cardigans, my RTW ones are almost all falling apart. Some of these are going onto my wish list right away!
    It’s a little harder for me to find (or make) cardigans because I have some weird kind of allergy to wool. ):
    If you (or anyone else) try the Schnittchen pattern and need help translating the instructions, just let me know. My native language is German and even though I mostly sew from English-language patterns, I understand most German sewing terminology and can ask my mum when I’m unsure.

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    1. Thanks Jana - thats so kind of you! A wool allergy sounds pretty unfortunate! Is that all animal fibres or just true sheep wool? Perfect excuse to only buy cashmere if you ask me! ;) At least cotton is less expensive!

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  9. That's a happy coincidence! I'm trying to do the same thing right now and trying to pick from many of the same patterns. Another option I saw is that, if you have the Sewaholic Renfrew top pattern or a similiar top pattern that you like, you can convert it into a cardigan (just google sewaholic renfrew cardigan for examples).

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    1. Thanks Tiffany! I've thought about hacking the Renfrew - I'm not sure my skills are up to the finish that I'd want..... But it's definitely an idea that's been lurking in my brain for a while! Good luck with your cardi sewing :)

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  10. What a great list! I just finished McCalls 6844, and am super happy with it. I used a linen knit from Offset Warehouse, otherwise I like to use rayon or bamboo, or something that is heavy on the drape. Also if you can get your hands on some merino knit, that´s fabulous! :)

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    1. Hi Solvi, thanks for coming by - m6844 looks nice and simple - I hope you blog yours soon! We are very fortunate in Australia to have easy access to reasonably priced merino jersey - I can't wait to check out my local haunts next week!

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  11. I'm making McCall's 6844 this weekend too! (drapey one, popular on pattern review) and I have been eyeing off the cake patterns Pavlova wrap top, similar to coppelia, but with kimono/cut on sleeves. She also does 'cocoa' knit shrug (cropped).

    As for buttonholes on knit - I avoid them at all cost! but have had some success using tearaway stabliser underneath.

    I checked out the merino knit sale at the fabric store but all the ones I loved were not reduced :o(

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    1. Ooh I look forward to seeing your mccalls cardi - such a nice basic shape. It's similar to a RTW metalicus one that I have worn to death. Thanks for the tips on buttonholes. I'll have to be brave and see how I go! Thanks also for the cake recommendations - I did check them out but they're a bit cropped for me....

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  12. This is very timely post and cardigans are also a very much needed addition to my wardrobe. I have made two from Jalie 2566 which I find is a great pattern and am just about to cut out another one. I have also heard/seen great comments about the Kwik.Sew cardigans, the pattern envelopes are horrid, but what is inside is a gorgeously drafted cardigan with brilliant instructions. I am on a mission to find some wool jersey as I think this would make up a gorgeous cardigan.

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    1. Thanks Sharon, I'll keep an eye out for kwik sew patterns in my local op shops - glad you've found a winning pattern in the jalie!

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  13. What a useful post - sewing a cardi is totally more achievable for me than knitting one (seeing as I can't knit)! I love the cardi Katie has on her blog...the fabric is amazing.

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    1. Hi Melanie - glad it might be of some use! Yes Katy's is such a great version - she makes fab things all round.

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  14. Such a great post - thanks for doing all the legwork for us all! There are some companies here I haven't come across before that I'm looking forward to checking out. You're absolutely right about The Fabric Store's merino...I must start saving.
    This is an untested idea, so I can't vouch for it, but I've had good success with using tissue paper underneath the fabric when sewing temperamental knits - I wonder if that would help stabilise the band for buttonholes?? Just a thought!

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for the paper tip. I've been doing some reading and the main tips I've found have been to interface the entire placket, and use a tricot interfacing with the non-stretch direction going along the length of the placket to stop lengthwise stretching. And I'll use my soluble interfacing tip to stop it being sucked into my machine. And I'll practice practice practice! The other cool tip I saw was to use a false button over the top of snaps - cheeky!

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  16. Hiya! I have made up the free Yohji Yamamoto cardigan. Here it is in the flesh and I'm sure to wear it at some point during this MMM! http://marillawalker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/sew-stretchy-monthly-stitch.html

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    1. Thanks Mariila, I've just checked them out, fantastic!

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  17. Thank you for your cardie round-up, there are a few I haven't seen here! I can't believe how few options there are for sewn cardies! I've been looking high and low for patterns I like. I'm quite short and get swamped in longer line cardies, so prefer them cropped, and I also like vintage style cardies, but not the Chanel-esque ones. Quite picky really! I just made the Swoon scarf neck in a lovely soft drapey cotton/rayon blend. It has nice extra-long sleeves, which I like, and I do love all the extra drapiness that you can wrap around yourself, which is my problem with the Julia, because it curves away at the front, it doesn't seem quite so snuggly. I made a cropped version of the Swoon cardie, taking off a good 6.5 inches, and now it has a really flattering silhouette. It's a great pattern (especially for a freebie!) and I do think I'll make a few more. I just saw this post on the Colette blog a couple of days ago and thought what a cute cardigan it would make. I already have the Moneta pattern, so I'm going to give that a try. http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/how-to-make-moneta-into-a-cropped-sweater One alternative to buttons is a single hook and eye closure at the neck for that vintage look, with decorative buttons.

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    1. Hey there, thanks for coming by - it's great to know the swoon cardi works well shortened, as that's what I intend to do when I make it. And you're not being picky - it's all about personal style not pickiness! I did see that colette post too - very clever! Glad you enjoyed the post - cardi's for everyone!

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  18. I've thought of doing that Burdastyle lace cardi too - my thoughts on stabilizing the buttonholes involve some organza in the button band.
    Honestly, a bunch of these are on my to-sew list, but a) it's summer, and b) I started knitting in January, so part of me says "Why sew a cardi? Just knit one!" (And then another, and another. My husband's recent comment was "How many sweaters do you need?" Uhm, lots, because I'm always cold!)

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