Well 20 March may have been the official start of Spring here in the UK but the weather is anything but spring like so I’m still sewing and stashbusting jersey knits to stay warm! I’ve had enough of winter now and want to start sewing some summer tops chosen as part of my #2018makenine patterns, mainly the Deer & Doe Datura and Repulique du Chiffon Nellie but with snow still melting on the ground I don’t want to make these just to put them in the wardrobe for several months. So my latest make is the Cozy Cardigan from Seen & Sewn Patterns. Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s not a winter cardigan at all but a stylish kimono style cover up with 3/4 length sleeves. This pattern is the second release from Arielle Bergman, the designer behind the new indie pattern company Seen & Sewn Patterns. I was contacted last week and asked if I would like to review one of her patterns, I was more than happy to, I’ve never done pattern testing or been approached by a designer to review one so I was pretty excited to be asked to do this!*
The Pattern & Fabric
The pattern is described as an easy beginner pattern for knits featuring 3/4 length dolman sleeves and a rounded back hem giving a simple high low look. The pattern is a 31 page pdf with layering so you can select your size and remove the larger sizes, I always find these pdfs easier to use as there are less lines to get confused with, it just simplifies the pattern which is always a bonus. There’s only 4 pieces to this pattern, bodice front, back, cuffs and neckband so pretty quick to cut out. I’m really trying to sew my stash and I bought 2m of this ponte di roma fabric about six months ago thinking it would make a great cardigan, I also bought it in mustard which did become a cardigan but I wasn’t so keen on the colour of this fabric so set it aside until now. In the shop I convinced myself it was a dark olive green, I remember taking it to the shop doorway and thinking yes that’s definitely more green than brown, but it’s not, it’s a chocolate brown. Don’t get me wrong I quite like chocolate brown for an interior design colour, my bedroom features soft furnishings in this colour, so I do like it but other than shoes and boots I don’t own any brown clothes, black or navy are my go to dark colours, but I’m happy to try something out of my usual comfort zone.
This cardigan has no fastenings, so no buttonholes in knit fabric to deal with! No interfacing requirements either so a fairly basic pattern with great results. The instructions do mention that the pattern is ideally sewn up using an overlocker (serger) and I didn’t use my sewing machine at all for making this. I don’t tend to now that I have more experience with working with knit fabrics but in the past I would sew the seams first then finish the edges on the overlocker. Now I just whizz it all through the overlocker (praying the blade doesn’t chop any off!) and add the finishing touches with a Coverstitch machine (which is a real luxury to own and makes light work of hemming and topstitching knits!)
What went well, what went wrong?
I nearly hit a hurdle after sewing the first seam, I matched the shoulder seams and sewed this but couldn’t understand why my pattern pieces didn’t match at the sleeve edge, I thought maybe I had cut the pattern out wrong so I referred back to my paper pattern and it is meant to be like this, phew! I just matched the underarm seams together which meant the front and back bodice were not lying flat but I guess that’s how you get the shaping! I did think maybe a beginner may have thought they had done something wrong as I had!
The pattern doesn’t go into a great detail about the finishing touches, for instance when attaching the neckband I wasn’t sure how to get a neat finish at the bottom where it meets the hem. One cardigan pattern I used before had you sew the bottom edges of the neckband RST then turn out the right way leaving the seam inside and therefore giving a neater finish but this was then tricky to get the hem of the cardigan and neckband to line up exactly! I didn’t use this method but just followed Arielle’s instructions but when it came to hemming the cardigan I did fold in a small corner in before sewing the hem as I didn’t want the folded edge to peak out which I thought it might do if I just turned it up.
I also topstitched the neckband which again the instructions didn’t say to do but I like this effect. Hemming the cardigan was a little tricky with the curved hemline, I overlocked the edge first as per instructions and used the steam iron to try to get the curve to lay flat before sewing the hem. The instructions just say to sew the hem but don’t mention how, I would use a twin stretch needle on your sewing machine, to give you the double row of stitching and a more professional finish than just a zigzag stitch. Below is my topstitching using a coverstitch machine, bit of a wonky line approaching the bump but I’m still getting to grips with it!
Like, love or hate it?
Despite my initial reservations about the fabric colour (it’s still a bit brown and boring), I do love the style of this on! It feels really stylish and will be a great layering item for throwing over a vest or tee in the warmer months. I’m wearing here with blue jeans and matching boots, I think it will look great with white jeans too. I can also see it as a beach cover up, even on the hottest summer days I often need a cardy on the beach, my kids laugh but I’m always cold, maybe a french terry knit fabric would work for that!
The pattern is a straightforward simple sew but the result is a lovely shaped cardigan which can be changed to suit, maybe adding pockets, contrast cuffs and neckband, shortening, lengthening etc, plenty of options to make it your own. I definitely need a white version in my wardrobe, maybe a striped one as well, we shall see!
Let me know if you’re tempted to try this pattern.
*Disclaimer: I received a pdf version of this pattern free in return for providing my honest and unbiased review of the cozy cardigan in this blog post and other social media channels.