Monday, September 14, 2015

Best Cardigan Ever

In my last minute sewing frenzy before leaving on our road trip, I made up Jalie 3248, the Drop Pocket Cardigan.

I'm not sure what "Drop Pocket" really means. The pockets are made by kind of folding back the bottom front of the cardigan into the side seam, like so:

Can you see the construction at all from this shot?

There is a knitting pattern that's been very popular on Ravelry, called Goodale, which has pockets made this way. I always liked that cardigan, but Wow! is it ever faster to sew a cardigan than it is to knit one!

I used a poly-cotton knit that I found at Hart's. It's a marled gray and sort of mid-weight. Once I pre-washed it it snugged up into a very skooshy, comfy sweatshirt sort of weight. I think this might be it; very reasonably priced too.

I rushed to finish this cardigan before we left on our trip, and I'm glad I did. It was the perfect light layer. I could throw it in the backseat and it didn't wrinkle. The pockets were just the right size to hold my car keys or a claim check or a chile relleno.

The cardigan is a pretty slim in fit, but the below-hip length gives it a nice, slouchy, boyfriend vibe. The sleeves are cut fairly narrow; Jalie says they expect you'll wear this over sleeveless tops or dresses. They're just long enough to drape a bit over my hands, and the cuffs are snug, so that I can pull them up and they stay put while I do dishes or brush the dog.

I never needed to wear this puppy outside while we were traveling. Temps were pretty warm, even in the evening. It sure came in handy when I was spending time in those air conditioned rooms though.

The front of the cardigan is two layers, which makes the finish is nice and clean. The instructions, which include very helpful illustrations, were good. I did have to scratch my head a few times though. There's a certain amount of inside-out and backwards fabric manipulation involved. Even so, it only took me a couple of hours to sew the thing together and I only had to unpick one seam. That's pretty much a record for me.

I like the pattern a lot, and I could see myself making a few more. There are some cute sweater knits around these days that would probably just suit!

My pattern review is on here.

Home Again

We're back from our road trip through the Southwest. I packed my ginormous rolling suitcase with an extensive me-made wardrobe. We were gone for two weeks and still I didn't manage to wear everything I brought. Like this  dress, for example:

This is McCall's 6163, which has a bunch of good reviews on It looks like this pattern is out of print, which is too bad. It's a great one, and seems to look good on most everyone.

I borrowed the pattern from my sewing bud, Lucy. She had already cut it in a size 8, so size 8 is what I used. I'm glad I had her wisdom to guide me in sizing - the Big 4 do things in strange and mysterious ways. Looking at the chart on the back of the pattern, I would have cut a size 12 and then wondered why the neck gaped.

I used a light ITY knit that I bought ages ago at Fabrix in San Francisco. I really liked the colors and I thought I had enough to make a dress, but I was afraid it was too lightweight. When Lucy recommended this pattern, that magic pairing of fabric and project gelled.

I made View B, but omitted the collar and the sash. Also axed the side zipper. My knit is so stretchy there was no need.

Little did I know when I borrowed the pattern that it would come with Lucy's construction notes, which were brilliant. Lucy used a self-fabric band to finish the neck, so I did too. The finish look way nicer than the turn-and-stitch method recommended by McCall's, and the slight stretch she advised when applying the band keeps the neckline nice and flat while wearing.

Lucy also put the sleeves in flat and did up the underarm and side seams all in one go. Much easier that way!

My pattern review is on here.

So, I don't have any pictures of this dress out on the road, but here are a couple of gratuitous vacation pictures....

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park. If you haven't been, go! The nearby town of Moab is very cute and has a nice fabric store.
Sun Palace, Mesa Verde National Park. This is a magical place - stay at the park lodge, if you can. They have a fabulous restaurant.
St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe. Great food, great art, wonderful people.