This project started with the fabric. I found this beautiful sweater knit fabric at a secondhand store called Mission 27 here in Indy. I couldn't pass it up. I've never sewn with a sweater knit before, but I figured I was past due. Sweaters are staples in my wardrobe because I really like having the freedom to put on and take off layers depending on my ever changing temperature.
I had heard so many good things about the Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet (plus I love the Love to Sew Podcast), so I decided to give that one a try. I brought this project with me to my annual sewing retreat, and I actually finished it that weekend too! It felt so so good to be able to create something completely from start to finish all in one go, instead of the 5 mins here and there that I've been doing lately in between naptraps and feedings.
I also love that because I was on a retreat with a bunch of other sewists, I actually got to try on a Blackwood Cardigan before picking my size. Whitney, of Tomkat Stitchery happened to be wearing her blackwood that day and she let me try it on to test the fit, which was so handy!
The tiled PDF went together no problem, and I used my new roll of medical tracing paper to trace off my size: Large (FYI, I downloaded this before the new release of the Blackwood with the changes in sizing) This was basically the first time I've decided to trace off my size from a pattern instead of just cutting it out, and I loved it! I think I may be switching to #teamtrace. It was so quick and easy to trace, and now I still have all the sizes in tact with no need to reprint and retape the tiles if I want to change sizes or sew for someone else (ha. that never happens).
Well I'm happy to say it worked out for me this time. And I took measurements and photos while I was cutting just to be able to let you know how I was able to make it work. My piece of fabric was 1.5 yds of 58" wide fabric and the pattern usually calls for 2 yds for my size. The main difference was that I ended up cutting piece 6 perpendicular to the grain instead of parallel to the grain. I thought this would be a good piece to have to turn because it didn't actually need any stretch to it, unlike a piece like the sleeve, which needs stretch for fitting purposes. I also cut it on the fold to be able to fit it in my layout. I just folded the pattern piece in half and had to lay it out twice (which is why there is an empty space in the photo above). Oh yeah, and I ended up changing the grain of the pockets too, just for fun. It's a subtle difference, but I actually like the crossgrain look better, and felt like incorporating it more.
The pattern came together so quickly and easily. I used a serger for the majority of the sewing, and the differential feed was super helpful with this knit. Topstitching the pockets on was a cinch because the chunkiness of the knit means you can't even see any mistakes I may have made.
Whitney (whose blackwood I got to try on) also let me use some of her stay tape to put in the shoulders of my Blackwood to keep them from possibly stretching out of shape. I used SewkeysE Woven Stay Tape. It was super simple to use, and I think I need to order myself some!
After incorporating it into my wardrobe, I realized what the problem was. It was less about the length of the cardigan, and more about the length of coat I would wear over the cardigan. I felt silly wearing a winter coat that ended a good 8 inches above the hem of the sweater. But once I paired it with a longer coat that I have in my closet, I felt so much better about it. This coat is definitely not as warm, but works for those random warmer days in winter, and for fall and spring.
The sweater itself is also great for spring weather. I just took a trip to Lisbon, Portugal and my Blackwood was the perfect layering piece. With the cooler mornings and evenings, but sunny afternoons, my cardigan was an easy and stylish way to adjust to the changing temperatures while out and about in Lisbon.
Pattern: Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet
Fabric: 1.5 yds of a chunky knit remnant from a local thrift store
Details: Pockets and neck band cut on the cross grain.
Next Time: I would love one in a golden color, or a dark grey. And I'd like to try it with a shorter hemline.
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