In my recent round-up of all my Cashmerette makes, I mentioned that I had this cardigan cut and and in progress… well, it very nearly got chucked out, but in the end, I think it works!
A couple weeks ago the temperatures dropped, and I immediately went and bought at least 10m of sweater knit fabric. It’s so tempting to think of sewing up snuggly sweaters – but as soon as I started cutting things out, I remembered all the things I hate about sweater knits!
Problem One: Thin sweater knits (often called Haachi online) cling to themselves and everything else. On the bolt, it drapes beautifully, but once it’s washed, nope. (See the righthand pic above for an example!)
Problem Two: Because of that clingy nature, it tends to show everything underneath. (See that ridge on my belly in the lefthand picture above? Even I can’t quite tell what’s happening there – either my leggings waistband is above or below it. Either way, an odd thing for a sweater to accentuate!)
Problem Three: Ok, this one is the easiest to work around, but worth keeping in mind: Make sure you stabilize your neckline and shoulder seams. A lot of stress going on those seams as you pull your sweater on, and it’s worth giving them some extra elasticity. I used jersey scraps for this one, but clear elastic works well too if you have it.
And yet… I totally love this sweater. I felt good wearing it all day, and when some Grade 8 students came up to me at school and asked if it was true that I sew my own clothes, I was happy to say “Yes!”. (Those students are Mennonite, and were also dressed in handmade clothes – though I continue to be surprised that even they older girls haven’t learned to sew themselves yet!)
The cardigan is based on the Cashmerette Concord tee, which I’ve traced and extended into a basic t-shirt dress. To make it a cardigan, I cut it with a bit of extra width in the back, and some extra ease below the waist. The front is angled diagonally to the waist, and then goes straight down. When I tried it on mid-process, the front was clinging tightly to itself and hung as a wad of fabric at my sides. This is when I almost threw it away… but I made some strategic finishing decisions which I think saved it!
First of all, I finished the vertical front, bottom and sleeves with a wide hem. This gives it some weight and body. Next (and I failed to get this photo in focus) I attached a wide folded band with finished ends to the neckline, up the diagonal edge in front, around the back neckline, and back to the waist. It’s all topstitched down with my coverstitch – for once I bought coordinating thread, and it was worth it because the stitching disappears completely into the sweaterknit! I should have coordinated my serger thread too, but I couldn’t quite be bothered.
The wide neckline band does two things: it gives support to the diagonal edge of the sweater, so that the whole front doesn’t just collapse and hang down at my sides, and I think it gives a bit of flair to an otherwise very boring sweater!
Sorry for the rather long-winded post – I clearly had a lot of things to say! Now to figure out what to make with the other sweaterknits in my stash. Can you suggest a pattern that would highlight the strengths of sweaterknits, and not their weaknesses?
p.s. The dress I’m wearing is a Comino Cap I made a few years ago!