So with #MMMay16 providing the wind beneath my wings, I've dived head first into my Spring/mid-pregnancy sewing plans. The remade denim Tova top has been a real success, but this second project may have spawned a new obsession. May I introduce my first attempt at the SBCC Cabernet cardigan pattern?
If you recall, I bought the Cabernet cardigan pattern because I had 1.5m of turquoise Ponte de Roma burning a hole in my stash. As soon as I bought the pattern though, I knew it was the best decision I'd made all week. Suddenly, in my future I could see complete cardigan self-sufficiency! What power! I loves me the Jenna cardi pattern, and my Brightside shrug will certainly come into its own as it gets warmer. But what I hadn't realised I needed until now was a looser, layerable, low-neck cardigan pattern that looks good unbuttoned. Basically, I needed a way to recreate my beloved secondhand mustard cardigan, which you can see me wear an embarrassing amount of times during this week four years ago!
(image source: SBCC Patterns)
However, I know that an exact replica of the mustard cardi would never be achievable: the Ponte doesn't behave anything like fine manufactured knitwear so the best I was ever going to get was a decent interpretation. Plus, I knew I wasn't going to nail it first time, so going into this project I kept in mind that the best possible outcome would be a wearable toile.
I checked the fit half way through this make which resulted in me making two small changes. Firstly, I'd forgotten that SBCC patterns are intended for petite figures, which is fine for me in the body because I am short-waisted, but it meant that the sleeves were coming up too short. I ended up recutting the cuffs as the easiest solution for this version, and made a note to extend the sleeve pattern for future ones. The second change I made was to unpick the waistband and reshape the side seams for a straighter shape. You can see below the new line I drew on the front and back pieces to bring the side seam in from above the waist down to the hips.
I also decided to omit the pockets as I didn't plan to wear this cardigan buttoned up, and I thought the pockets might create bulk that would prevent the front from hanging properly. This didn't really work out (more on this below), but I don't think I will be arsed to go back and add them.
I wrote about this turpquoise Ponte de Roma in my Spring sewing plans post, and now all I really have to add is that it was lovely to sew with and wear, but has bobbled (pilled) a little bit after several wears and one wash. The colour is still gorgeously vibrant and it makes me happy to look at, although finding clothes to match with it, other than black, has been a bit tricky.
Well. You could interpret this project as a success or a failure, I guess. A success because it was a really fun project, I intend to use the pattern again AND I've worn the outcome heaps. Yet a failure because it's been assigned to house-wear only because it looks really frumpy (I included these last two images as evidence). It's managed to hit the 'sweet spot' of neither baggy-in-a-cool-way, nor the more slender fit of my beloved secondhand mustard cardi. So I have work to do.
So what do I intend to do? I have two more recently acquired pieces of Ponte (this navy and this mustard) that are earmarked to try this pattern again. I think the navy will be first on the chopping block, and I'll start with a whole size smaller (this turquoise was a medium). I'll also include the straightening of the side seam and make the button stand/neckband narrower. I may even slim the front panels down as well, making the front edges straighter and less curved. I've also got some beautiful grey marl wool blend knit that I recently bought for lounge-wear trousers but that has washed up a bit too itchy. I'm tempted to try it as a Cabernet, but go the other way and select a larger size for an oversized look.
Fabric: Ponte de Roma remnant £6.99 from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton
Pattern: PDF $12 (£8.37) from here
Buttons: vintage from stash
As someone who is used to sewing from stash and getting any non-me-made clothing, especially knitwear, from charity shops, that feels like quite a lot for a cardigan that is only getting worn around the house. However, house-cardigans see years of wear, so in terms of pounds-per-wear, I know it'll more than justify that outlay in the long run. But more importantly, I see that cost as an investment in being able to create the cardigans of my dreams with my own hands in the future!