Blackwood Cardigan vs. McCalls 6844

You can never have too many cardigans. I feel quite certain about that. That’s why, each Fall, I find myself yearning for a new one…or two.  I’ve made several in the past (here and here) but today I want to talk about the two cardigan patterns I reach for time and again – –  the Blackwood cardigan by Helen’s closet and McCall’s 6844 (OOP but available on-line). Both patterns are easy to sew and friendly to a variety of knit fabric options. It’s the neckline that is usually the deciding factor in why I choose to make one over the other.

IMG_9104 3This version of McCalls 6844 is a coatigan of sorts. I found this thick sweater knit at Joann’s. The weight is perfect for this time of year, and the stretch recovery is great for this pattern.

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I made view B but lengthened it by six inches. I love long cardigans these days (my Pinterest page is proof of that). The wide shawl collar makes it so warm, and by cutting the front bodice pieces a bit wider than I normally need, I was able to make the closure have a bit of an overlap, which makes it appropriate for windy weather.

IMG_9093 2Next up is (no surprise) the Blackwood cardigan by Helen’s Closet. Who doesn’t love this pattern?

IMG_9242I’ve made this before, but this time, I really wanted a stripe along a solid front band for contrast, as I’ve seen that detail on RTW cardigans.

IMG_9225 3With this striped fabric, I got lucky! The selvege edge of my fabric was solid navy with a thin purple stripe, and I had enough fabric to manage to cut the entire neck band from it!! Such a perfect opportunity to add a fun easy detail to this cardigan.  Again, I made this version very, very long. The advantage is that the longer look makes a shrimp like me feel tall. The bad news? It’s so long, none of my coats cover it. Such problems….

My new cardigans are so wardrobe friendly since they go with everything in my closet. I know they’ll get alot of mileage! What’s your favorite cardigan pattern these days?

The holidays are coming and I cannot let the season go by without a new velvet make so that’s on my sewing to do list. Oh, I guess I’ll have to go on Pinterest and start a new ‘velvet inspiration’ page, don’t you think?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Blackwood Cardigan – the Star of my ‘Me Made May’

 

For me, Me-Made May is all about figuring out what works in my daily wardrobe and and what doesn’t. As a rule, I tend to wear me-made separates that I mix and match. The questions I ask myself are – – which me-made pieces do I reach for because they make me feel great, and which ones drive me crazy as I wear them? I take notes about my daily choices for myself, only keeping photos of outfits that are revealing in some way to me. The pieces that don’t work are thrown into the revision or donate pile. I don’t post my outfits on social media – – yes, I love seeing other people’s posts but can’t bear thirty-one days of photographs of myself, LOL!!

I’ve had a couple of revelations this month – the big one, which is the subject of this post is my absolute daily dependence on cardigans! Seriously, I wear them almost every day Unpredictable May weather is the culprit – – in Oregon it can be cold enough for a coat in the morning, but shirt-sleeve weather in the afternoon. Enter the Blackwood cardigan!

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Last year, my favorite cardigan pattern was  McCall’s 7476 made here and here. This year, my obvious favorite is the blackwood cardigan by Helen’s Closet patterns.

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I’m probably the last blogger to be smitten with this pattern, but what can I say? Better late than never…

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Why do I love it? For one thing, the design is perfect for throwing over tops or dresses. Helen suggests that it be used as a layering piece and this blue version I made works with everything in my closet in part, because it’s blue, but also because the length and the cut are superb over everything!

I usually gravitate toward knits that have cotton as the primary ingredient, but I really love how this rayon knit feel against my skin. And it slides over sleeves so nicely!

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Design notes: The Blackwood rests perfectly on the shoulders which makes it great for wearing with a variety of tops and dresses. The bottom band is wide and it shapes the hemline of the sweater in a very flattering way. I love the longer length (perfect for me at 5”4”) and the wide cuff on the sleeve. The pocket size is perfection too!!

Construction notes;

  • For this pattern – the stretch and drape of the knit is everything. You want to make sure your knit has enough stretch on the cross grain for this pattern. Because it isn’t designed to close in the front, if you don’t have enough stretch, this sweater will likely gape open and probably won’t look or feel that great.
  • The front band needs to be stretched slightly to fit.
  • I stabilized the top of the pockets with a strip of fusible interfacing to keep them from sagging too much.

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I’m wearing it here with the Simplicity top I posted a few weeks ago (here).

I give this cardigan a big thumbs up. It’s a quick, fun sew that does the heavy lifting in my wardrobe, and as a result of my Me-Made-May discovery, I will likely make this pattern again and again! My other cardigan patterns will remain favorites, but it’s nice to expand my cardigan universe.  Thanks so much to those of you who recommended this pattern when I asked for ideas in a post last month!

Are you as hooked on cardigans as I am? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Textured Knit Cardigan For Spring

 

IMG_7399 3When I saw this textured knit last winter at Britex, it was love at first sight. I was so taken with the open weave, the natural color, the texture that was remiscent of eyelash knit, that I didn’t bother to check how much stretch it had, or to think about what I might sew with it. I just bought it!

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When it was time to sew, I was pretty surprised to discover my lovely knit had absolutely no stretch at all. Ha, that will teach me. My gut told me it was perfect for a cardigan, but most patterns require two-way stretch. I did find one in my stash though that was more like a jacket than a sweater, a style that would be compatible with a stable knit.

McCalls 6708 is an out-of-print pattern I’ve used before here. I love the Chanel Jacket look, and the structure the front and neck bands add. I think you could get a similar look using a collar-less jacket pattern, adding patch pockets and front bands.

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Challenges: This pattern required inserting buttonholes into a very loosely woven knit. I tried a few with remnants of the fabric and discovered my machine just wanted to eat it. So I fused little pieces of interfacing to the back of the band to put a protective layer between feeddogs and fabric. The buttonholes were a success, but this changed this project from easy to requires patience.

This knit, even though stable, has a tendency to stretch, a less than ideal characteristic when it comes to patch pockets. So, to help the pockets keep their shape, I interfaced the entire pocket. Because the fabric unravel easily, I serged the seams.

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I think it looks a little bit retro, don’t you? This sweater will be perfect for Spring. Even though this knit wasn’t ideal for this project, I do love how it turned out and I’m so glad it came home with me! Have you started your Spring sewing?

In other sewing news, I’ve started my night dress for the Day and Night Dress challenge. I can’t wait to show it to you. I’m also gathering fabric and patterns to participate in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Challenge. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get them all sewn before the deadline, but I’m going to have fun trying. It’s stripe month over on the Sewcialists too…so much inspiration right now in our community!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!