This is one of those makes where I feel like a bit of a fraud taking any sewing-skill credit for it: the beautiful fabric and pattern did all the work for me, and I’ve ended up with an effortlessly rather gorgeous cardigan in no time at all.
Fabric fangirling first: this is a delicious double-faced wool jersey from a little midweek splurge I had at the Cloth House a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, it’s a good thing I don’t work in Soho or I’d be perpetually broke from spending all my £££ in Cloth House; they have the dreamiest stock across their two Berwick St shops. I’d been going in and petting their wool jerseys for a while and finally bought this one; I think it was around £16 a metre. I ran it through a gentle wool machine wash before cutting and lay it flat to dry. It was a dream to work with, and feels gorgeous to wear: soft and snuggly and as warm as you’d expect from wool. In this early spring weather I can wear it as a replacement for a light jacket.
I was looking for a slouchy, shawl-collared cardigan pattern to show off the reversible fabric. There aren’t many cardigan sewing patterns out there, but the Julia Cardigan, a PDF download from MouseHouseCreations available on Etsy, fitted the bill nicely. I was really happy with the pattern itself: the printout is nice and tidy and it comes with very thorough photo instructions bundled in the PDF. It’d be a great pattern for beginners to learn the ropes of knits and construction techniques. From putting together the pattern to finishing you could make this in one session: the most time-consuming part is pinning on the long circular collar evenly, otherwise it’s just a few speedy overlocked seams.
(I swear it doesn’t really look that creased all the time, it had been folded away in my bag as it was too warm out!) Sizing-wise I went for the Large based on my hip measurement, and I’m glad I did as it’s quite narrow across the lower back and I wouldn’t want it any snugger. The side seams still pull to the back a bit, but I think this is part of the design: I may widen the back pieces next time to fix it. The only adjustment I did make was to shorten the sleeves by 2″.
The pattern includes various sleeve lengths and options for a regular hemmed edge or the hemless option I chose: you use cuff bands and a doubled-over shawl collar band to finish all the raw edges. Luckily I juuust had enough fabric to cut both faces of the collar (using the reverse of my fabric facing out for a contrast), and I love the seamless finish it gives. The only other thing I’d do differently next time is to try adding side seam or patch pockets.
Err, I dunno what my face is doing here, but look at those tidy guts. I could almost even get away with wearing it inside out. I wove the few loose overlock threads neatly away and added a drop of fray check to keep them in place.
This is perhaps one of my favourite things I’ve made yet. That seems a bit silly as the sewing part was so basic, but I think it’s taught me a valuable lesson in investing in quality fabrics and letting them dictate the project. I can just tell it’s going to get loved and worn to death already. I’m keeping an eye out for more knits for another Julia: I’d love one in burnout stripes or a heathered sweater knit. Mmm, knits…
You know a fabric is truly lovely when you can’t even bear to throw away the tiniest of leftover scraps! Maybe I’ll make some little stuffed cat toys with them.