Did you take part in the Cosy Cardi Challenge on Instagram? Amanda from I Sew A Lot and the Stitch Sisters encouraged us to sew a snuggly cardi before the end of October and I thought it sounded right up my street. I love a cardi but I’ve never made my own, so this seemed like a good opportunity. But, as seems to be my way at the moment, I left it until the last minute to take part. And when I say last minute I mean I hadn’t even cut anything out on the morning of the deadline day. Usually, the UK is eight hours ahead of Seattle, but by happy coincidence the deadline fell the day after the clocks went back in the UK. Ours went back a week later so on deadline day we were nine hours behind – time was actually on my side for once (sort of)!
Anyway, my finished cardi is something of a birthday present. I got a little bit of money plus a voucher for Harts Fabric for my birthday at the end of September, and I bought the Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan and some soft n’ snuggly knit to make it. All the knit fabric I’ve used so far has been reasonably well behaved, but this one was a little curly so I cut out the pattern pieces very carefully (a medium blended to extra-large at the hips). I also didn’t fancy putting it through my sewing machine for fear of stretching it out of shape, so I cracked out my overlocker instead.
It was a really fast, easy sew, too. The pattern is really simple and well thought out, and the instructions are so clear it’s hard to go wrong. They even offered some beginners’ tips, like stabilising your patch pockets with tear away tissue paper. My only beef with the comprehensive instructions are that they don’t give an example of what a short zig zag stitch actually is – I looked it up in a Tilly and the Buttons pattern instead, which recommends 1.5 width by 2.2 length for seams, then 2.5 by 2.5 for topstitching.
That’s kind of academic here as I only used my machine for the final step, where you topstitch the front band seam to the cardigan body. If I was making it again, I probably would switch between my overlocker and standard machine a bit more. I did all the seams on the overlocker so where the instructions recommended pressing seams open, I pressed them to one side which has meant a little bulk in some places. Not enough to annoy me about the finished garment, but maybe something to consider next time.
In all, the Blackwood took me a couple of hours to put together. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out – I’m happy with the fit and the fabric feels suitably snuggly against my skin. But mostly, I’m really pleased that I managed to sew it in such a short space of time. I messed around a lot while I was sewing – snack breaks, just-checking-the-news breaks, oh-look-a-squirrel breaks – but I still managed to finish and get a quick pic taken before the deadline. Well done me!
I’m glad I took part – it was a great challenge to gently push me into sewing something new, I’ve got something that slots nicely into my wardrobe and it’s another step towards confidence with knits. Yay!