Finished - Style Arc Simone AND McCalls 6696

My love for the cardigan is constant and unending. This has been well documented on le blog. Melbourne weather is fickle and I have the metabolism of a reptile, thus cardigans are an almost daily part of my wardrobe, at work and at home. I'm still not sure I've found the perfect one yet. Maybe there isn't the perfect one. Maybe there's many cardi's for many situations. Or maybe I'm just getting far too existential about cardigans.

This time around you get two cardi's that are already in heavy rotation. If cardigans bore you to tears tune out now.....

First up is the Style Arc Simone, made up most stylishly by Lara here, Leith here and Katie here.

It's very easy to make, and quite a chic and clever design. The pockets are formed by deep folds of fabrics that are folded over and caught in the side seams. The neckline is formed by a simple band (cut 2 - the pattern only says one) and the hem is meant to be a simple turn and top stitch affair. Mine is a size 8, which fits very nicely around the shoulders but allows plenty of room for my caboose that is 2 sizes bigger.

I vacillated over the length. I'm not really a top-over-bum kind of girl. I know the bum is generous but I feel a bit old and droopy wearing tops that are long-line. I decided not to try to stuff around with the length for my first go.

The fabric is a gorgeous jacquard merino knit from The Fabric Store in an off white and silver grey pattern. The colours really do me no favours, but with a bright underlayer and a nice scarf it's not too draining. Close up it's really beautiful.

It has a lovely drape but is quite a substantial heavy knit. This proved problematic at hemming time because the folded pockets get caught in the hem, which means at some points the hem is four layers of fabric thick. Mine looked atrocious machine sewn, so in sheer desperation I decided to hand hem it using a blind catch stich, which was a vast improvement. I'm wondering next time whether a band might be a better way to go but no-one else has had a whinge about this other than me which makes me wonder if the heftiness of my wool is to blame.....

The only other deviation I made to the pattern was finishing the bottom corner of the neckband and hem differently. The instructions would have you attach the band leaving the bottom edge raw, then turn up hem and band and top stitch. Below is a little sequence of what I did which I think gives a nicer, more polished finish....

1 - Finish the bottom of the band by folding wrong sides together, stitch across, then grade the seam to reduce bulk. Turn band right side out, with nice sharp corners and give a little press.

2 - Pin the band to the cardi right sides together. You might notice that the band ends slightly before the notch (where that random needle is pointing) - this is to allow for turn of cloth with the method I am using and the bulk of my fabric. I did have to experiment a little with this distance. It's a few mm. The hem is the overlocked edge BTW.

3 - Fold the hem seam allowance over the top of the cardi band nice and snugly. If there's any spare space in that fold you'll find the edge will be quite uneven. Snug is good! Sew the neck band to the front opening using the SA as per instructions.

4 - Turn it all right side out. You can see I've got a little step of a few mm but I was happy with that. If you're happy then turn it back inside out and overlock the seam allowance.

5 - Turn it back out and give it a nice press. So neat and pretty!

The opening does have a tendency to flip open, so it's worth taking the time to have nice innards and match overlocker thread (which clearly I didn't do very well....).

So all up I'm quite pleased despite it being a bit longer than I'd like and a bit of a dreary colour from a distance. Next time I'll take a couple of inches of length out just below the bust as it's a bit hard to play with the length from the bottom without mucking up the cool pockets. Maybe I'll experiment with a band to finish it off......

Next up is McCalls 6996, described as a jacket with a few different variations in neck finishing, length, and back views.

I made this a few months ago, but I'm pretty sure I made either the Small or XS as there seemed to be a lot of ease. I with with the front of View A but the back of C, avoiding the peplum. I shortened it considerably too.

The fabric is a beefy faux quilted viscose poly from Darn Cheap Fabrics that I couldn't resist with its giant pretend purl stitches. It's pilling a little bit as one would expect from such a blend, but was a great fabric to make a wearable toile.

I really like the shawl neckline finish. It sits beautifully.

I like the fit too - the slightly nipped in waistline is very flattering.  I could do with a narrowed shoulder adjustment on the next one I think. 

Finishing the neckline and hems are just a turn and topstitch. For me the finishing of a cardi really is the part that makes or breaks it, in terms of looking polished and not 'homemade'. As you can see there isn't a huge seam allowance for the neckline. I ended up hand sewing this one too (all the hems actually!). Being a double knit it was very easy to hide the stitches. I used Steam-A-Seam Lite to fuse them all down first. Next time I might play around and try to draft a facing.... Would probably need to remove the gathers from the back neckline though.....

So thats the latest in my cardi quest. I scored the Style Arc Coral as my freebie when I bought the Simone, so that's next on the list but I think I'll be extending the neck band all the way to the hem.  

If I ever get a tattoo it will probably say cardigans forever. That's how deep my love goes here people.