The long cardigan was a new style for me until the beginning of the year when I bought one at TJ Maxx. I wasn’t sure about the look, but I was curious and wanted to try it. I told myself I would test it out, and I really liked it! Then I saw this look and found McCall’s 7476. It was time to MAKE one of my own.
The only problem was that the super long version I wanted (View E, but without the shawl collar) called for A LOT of fabric.
I knew that if I was going to make this, I would have to find a good deal on material. One of my favorite places to look for such deals in person, rather than online, is at Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA. It’s not exactly nearby, but if I’m really efficient with my time and focused when I’m there, I can do it on a weekday.
I went with my list and my budget and my ideas and, providentially, there was a sale on wool. The fabric I found for the cardigan was a wool/acrylic rib knit, so it was affordable with the discount. I don’t normally like rib knits, but being able to see and feel this one in person convinced me that it could work for my cardigan.
On to the project! I washed and dried a fabric swatch (I think it was 4″ x 4″) to see how much shrinkage would happen. Despite the warm temperature I used, there really wasn’t any shrinkage. So, I put the rest of my fabric in the washer and dryer. The only downside to this fabric is that it’s a hair magnet, but at least it doesn’t shrink!
I cut my pattern out on the floor after cleaning it as well as I could so the fabric didn’t get dirty. I cut a large for the bust and waist and an extra large for the hip, leaving off the shawl collar. This was also my first time using knit interfacing. It went well, and I like the feel of it in the finished garment.
Except for the unwieldiness of the project due to its length, this wasn’t hard. I tried using Coats & Clark’s new Eloflex thread, which is slightly stretchy and made for knits.
After awhile, I switched from Eloflex as my top thread and in my bobbin to Eloflex in just the top and wooly nylon in the bottom. It seemed like my machine didn’t like something that I was doing, and for some reason, that configuration seemed to do the trick. I still used a zigzag stitch and all the other things I do for sewing with knits (walking foot, lighter presser foot pressure, jersey needle), but just changed up that top thread from my usual all-purpose Gutermann to Eloflex. We’ll see how it holds up. No complaints so far, but I also haven’t used it enough to say if I love it or not.
The other thing I tried out on this garment was Steam-A-Seam 2 (the 1/4″ one). I’ve had this for a while, but haven’t really used it. It’s a lightly tacky double-stick tape that you then use to fuse your fabric together with an iron when it’s positioned. I used it to help me hem and for my pockets as an extra stabilizer. It says it creates a permanent bond when ironed, but I still sewed my hems and pockets where I applied it. Why did it take me so long to use this?!
After wearing the cardigan a few times, I wonder if I need to shorten it just a bit. The hem is about an inch off the ground. (For reference, I’m 5′ 8.5″.) It doesn’t pick up as much dirt as you might expect, but I’m always worried it will drag. I was hoping I could just fold the hem up one more time, but when I tried pinning it, I realized that my hem was slightly uneven, and simply folding it up really exacerbated that. Maybe it’s time to use my new-to-me hem marker if it will go down that far.
I really, really like this cardigan. I know it’s a different look and it’s a lot of black for me, but it’s so cozy and warm (guys, it’s basically a blanket or a robe). I like how it looks with jeans or overalls, and it’s great to have something so long and dramatic–something so different from most of the rest of my wardrobe. I would definitely make this again.
- While reading the Wednesday Weekly from Helen’s Closet, I saw that Sewrendipity is creating a hub for local fabric shopping guides. You can see if she’s linked to one near you, or submit your own. It’s a great idea.
- Indie Sew wrote a great article on fabric weight, how to determine fabric weight, and why it’s important.