I had a cardigan-shaped gap in my work wardrobe. While noodling around on various sewing blogs, I came across the Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan. I wish I could remember where I saw it, but that’s lost in the mists of time, but I liked it, it was free, I printed it off and taped it up. had some heavy merino knit fabric that I bought at the Alanna Hill outlet at least six years ago, that I’d been mulling over. I had initially bought it to make a jumper dress, but put it off because it’s SO nice I didn’t want to muck it up, and then eventually decided it was probably too heavy to hold up to a whole dress. But I thought it would make a perfect cardi.
First I made the pattern up in some random jersey I had lying around. It’s from spotters, I bought it in an end-of-line sale some time ago, for I have no idea how much.
The pattern construction is a bit confusing – you sew the front pieces together and then connect them at the cowl part, which sits over the back of the neck, and then sew THAT to the back. But the instructions were really clear, and included a diagram and notes on the pattern pieces, which helped.
The only thing I did differently was to sew the sleeves in flat and then sew them and the sideseam together, instead of sewing the sideseam and then setting them in. I sewed the whole thing up on my overlocker, and hemmed the bottom and the sleeves with a twin needle. I left the collar edge unfinished, since I didn’t want to mess with the drape. The pattern suggests french seaming if you don’t have an overlocker, as some of the seams might be visible. I’d never thought of french seaming a knit! It would be neater but to be honest, I think a regular seam would be fine. The seams are hardly ever on show.
This is a thicker knit than would be ideal, I think. It would be lovely in a really drapey thin jersey, but this was deep stash and now it’s being worn quite a bit, so that’s a definite win! The only thing is I think the colour is a bit washed out and powdery, if that makes sense? I bought a RIT packet dye to dye it a darker navy, and it did exactly nothing. Should have gone with the dylon dye which I know works, even though it was twice the price.
The sleeves are REALLY long on this pattern, btw. Which is good – it meant I could try it on and fold them down to how I wanted them before hemming. But if you’re trying to save fabric, I ended up taking a good 10cm off them, so you could measure your arms first. It did cause a problem, though, because when I was trimming the already-hemmed sleeves, I took a chunk out of them in what I was hoping would be an inconspicuous place but turned out to be right at the top of the sleeve, near my wrist. I zigzagged over it but it doesn’t look great, gotta say.
I have worn this to work three or so times, because the cardi gap in my wardrobe is large, but I feel a bit frumpy in it because of the less-than-crisp fabric. I like it better as a casual weekend top. Luckily, I FINALLY got around to hemming the black merino one, which I did make.
Not much to say, once again just made the pattern up as is. I overlocked this one too, it would have been nice in a nicer finish but the fabric is so heavy and drapey and puckered under a straight stitch, and I thought it might need the extra strength of the serging.
Can’t even really show it to you, it’s so dark! But it’s so lovely and buttery and soft. This fabric is really special. I have a bit left over but not enough to really do anything with, more’s the pity. I can see this one getting a lot of wear, though. It feels so luxurious.
And here’s another one where you can’t really see anything, and it’s fuzzy to boot, but my witchy stance is making me laugh:
As for the vests, in my craft camp catchup post I was prevaricating about my white shirt being sheer. Sooz mentioned the idea of vests, and VERY kindly traced and sent me an Ottobre cowl neck knit vest pattern from issue 2/2010. I’m pretty fussy about cowl necks, I find they often are too voluminous or else sit too high, but this one looked pretty good. I wanted to make this in the same merino (I cut out the vest and the cardi at the same time, to be sure I had enough for both). But first, I made a muslin, with some remnant fabric from the fabric store.
I should have taken a photo before I made adjustments. I did a few – nipped in the side seams from the waist up by about 3cm, took the shoulders up at an angle, brought the armscye in although I should have done it a bit more I think. Then I just turned it under and hemmed it with a twin needle. I left the neck unfinished, although I might hem the back because as you can see it sticks up quite a lot. But I think this will only get worn as a summer at-home top, so I might not bother.
I thought it worked well enough to make up in my merino knit, but I wish I’d tweaked a bit more.
It’s hard to see, with the black, but I’ve actually basically hemmed the cowl out of the top. Again, I wish I’d thought to take photos! But it ended up just looking like a regular shirt with a stretched-out neck. It still does! I might put a pleat in it maybe. I don’t know. In the heavier knit the cowl was just not pronounced enough, or maybe it’s because I fiddled with the shoulder seams. You can see the front sticking out more in this super unflattering photo:
As well as the back bulging. The back is sort of cowled too, which I find a bit weird actually. And I should have made the armscye higher, wider at the bottom and thinner at the top. Oh well, bygones. I also should have shortened only the BACK shoulders, it ends up pulling forward and the shoulder seam sits in front of my shoulders, which can’t help the cowl. Really, looking at these photos, what I should have done is just drawn the armscye higher, and left the shoulders alone.
This has actually been sulking in the WIP pile because when I first sewed it I was so disappointed by how different it was from my expectations of the pattern and for the beautiful fabric. I only just hemmed it today. I am hoping it will get wear because the fabric is so lovely. I think probably not with this shirt – it doesn’t sit well enough to avoid tugging at my clothes all day, which I do NOT want to be doing. Maybe over a jersey top though? The more I think about it the more I think I will put a tuck into the neck. Maybe an asymmetrical one. Bit bummed out about this to be honest, but then my expectations were probably much too high. I’m going to try and wear it and maybe I’ll discover that it’s fantastic, after all.