Seamwork Elmira cardigan, it’s a wrap…barely!

I took out a subscription with Seamwork Magazine last summer after seeing references to patterns by them on Instagram.  I hadn’t heard of them before and after looking at their website I discovered that for $6* a month you get access to the monthly magazine and earn 2 credits that you can exchange for the 2 newly released monthly patterns or past patterns in their library.  I had a quick look through the selection and there were a handful that instantly made it to my sewing wishlist, namely the Leonora skirt, Wembley cardigan, Elmira Cardigan and Astoria jumper.

seamwork elmira

The pattern that I loved the most was the Leonora skirt, it’s a high waisted button up skirt with waistband, pockets and back yoke and I do love a short denim skirt so that was my first make from Seamwork.  I love this skirt, I used a really soft stretchy dark indigo denim, and it fitted really well, perfect for the summer.  However the fit was so perfect that there was no room for any weight gain and post summer holidays (when my exercise and healthy eating regime go out the window, I blame the kids being off school!) when I went to wear this skirt, I couldn’t get the waistband to do up or the first few buttons!  I was so disappointed….but I’m determined to get back into it this Spring and am back doing my Joe Wicks HIIT DVD workouts, he’s good fun and is easy on the eye so it makes getting up at 6.15am 2/3 mornings a week a little less of a chore.  Plus it gets that chore (and exercise is to me) out of the way before the day starts so it doesn’t interfere with my sewing time, that’s motivation enough!

seamwork leonora

I also made the Wembley cardigan in a white modal cotton from Girl Charlee UK.  It’s a lightweight fabric and is a perfect top for layering over a camisole on cooler days.  I’m definitely going to make more of these, I can see them being a wardrobe staple for me, I definitely need another white one, you can never have too many white cardi’s in my opinion, they go with everything!  The only change I would make is to lengthen or shorten the sleeves, they seemed to be neither long or 3/4 but some stage in between?

seamwork wembley

My #TNT pattern has to be the Astoria.  I’ve made this 3 times now, it’s a real stashbuster needing less than 1m of fabric in total for the size Small.  It’s a great little cropped jumper with a neck and waistband, a really simple quick sew.  I had read reviews that it comes up really short so added 10 cm to the pattern for my first one.  My husband actually said it was the first thing he’s seen me in that looks like it came from a shop!  The biggest compliment ever!  I love this cream textured fabric from Fabricland.

seamwork astoria

The next time I made it I didn’t have enough fabric for the lengthened version so only added about 6 cm this time, I actually prefer this length, it’s just sits on the waistband of my jeans so is perfect.  I also lengthened the sleeves by 3cm as I have long arms and like the sleeves to reach my wrists and I narrowed the bodice at the armscye so the seam wasn’t falling past my shoulder.

You can also mix fabrics up and my latest version used only 0.5m of the grey stripe with plain black ribbed effect fabric leftover from a previous project.  My only gripe with this pattern is that every version I have made the neckband is too big!  It tends to stick up each side where the front and back bodice meet and because I only realise this when I try it on (after overlocking the neckband to bodice so unpicking is not going to happen!), I just sew the excess fabric together by hand, luckily my hair tends to hide this.   I have now made a point of marking my pattern piece so I remember to shorten the neckband next time…

seamwork astoria

As the monthly subscriptions continued, I started to realise that I didn’t like most of the new pattern releases, I just wasn’t inspired enough by any of them to jump them to the top of my sewing list, I think some of the fabric choices they use are really not my cup of tea and when scrolling through the photography library I find myself thinking ‘that’s awful, I’ll never wear or make that!’.  I decided that I would cancel my membership but as I was on the website I discovered I could spend my credits on Colette patterns.  I hadn’t realised this before and this opened up a new library of makes to chose from but I still currently have 8 credits, another 2 from 1 February, hopefully as we roll into Spring/Summer the new release patterns will be a more inspiring for me, otherwise I will have to cancel my subscription!

The Elmira Cardigan – Fabric & Pattern

After spending what seemed like weeks working on the Hey June Cheyenne shirt, I wanted a couple of quick sews with knits, I hadn’t used my overlocker or coverstitch at all in making the shirt, so I felt like they needed some work to do!  The final pattern on my Seamwork wishlist was the Elmira cardigan and I added this to my #2018makenine list at the beginning of this month.  The Elmira is a cropped ballet style cardigan with two button fastenings inside and two ties that you fasten into a bow at the left side.  The front sections are double layers and enclose the ties so everything looks neat on the inside.  I managed to squeeze a size Small from just over a metre of this red dotty fabric that I bought from Fabricland last summer.  I was queueing and saw it sat on the counter, I could see there was very little left on the roll, only 1.15m but I knew I’d be able to squeeze a top out of it.  Red isn’t a colour I have ever worn (apart from my Saturday job in Iceland, the frozen food chain, the uniform was red and white, I hated it, maybe that’s why I don’t wear red?) but this fabric caught my eye and I liked it, I could see myself wearing it with jeans.

seamwork elmira

I made the usual alteration to the sleeves, I added 7cm because I wanted long sleeves and the pattern is 3/4 sleeves, I also made my ties slimmer and shorter, this was due to not having enough fabric left and they did seem really big to me in proportion to the cardigan.  Bearing in mind the ties are one size only, it made sense to have them a little smaller for the size I was making, I always wonder this about pockets too, the patterns I’ve used in the past have one size only pockets, should they not be proportionate to the size of the garment, is it really one size fits all?

What went well, what went wrong?

The construction went pretty well, I don’t think I did any unpicking with this one.  The pattern doesn’t say to stabilise the shoulders but I’ve got into the habit of using fusible knit stay tape and I tend to use this in all my knit makes of late.  I figure it can’t do any harm and will hopefully help the garment keeps it shape.

seamwork elmira

I also decided to top stitch the edges of the front sections using my coverstitch machine, I had done the back neckline with the coverstitch so this just continued the stitching around to the front.  It also helped the fabric sit flat, the inside wanted to roll to the outside so this kept it in place. How neat does this look, starting to love my coverstitch machine.

seamwork elmira

My only issue was the fabric had a lot of stretch and I had to do quite a bit of playing around with the overlocker to get the right settings that didn’t stretch the fabric out.  It was also a really loopy knit, it was hard to mark with chalk or my Frixion pen, so I didn’t bother, which made it a bit tricky when the pattern called for matching dots, what dots I asked?!

Like, love or hate it?

Just like probably!  Surprisingly I really love the colour on me and the cardigan is a good fit.  I definitely need to wear it over a top though if I’m wearing it with jeans, it’s just too short otherwise.  I guess if it was over a dress then it would be fine this length but having my midriff exposed like this isn’t a winning look in my book!  I would prefer it to be a little longer to meet my jeans and this is me wearing my high waisted jeans, I haven’t tried it with my low waist jeans yet, that gap is going to be even bigger.  The sleeves are just the right length and they have a narrow fit which I like.

seamwork elmira

I don’t like the fastening too much, there’s two buttons one side, I sewed mine into the seam allowance, and the other side has two thread chain loops but even trying it on for the photo, one button managed to work it’s way out of the loop and I know I will find this annoying, maybe poppers next time.

seamwork elmira

Lastly, I am small chested and I think this style draws attention to that, I think this style works better when you have something to fill it out, sadly I don’t!  All these negatives, perhaps I should hate it, but I don’t which I’m pleased about.  Making clothes and then disliking them on is a bit demoralising and I’m definitely not in that camp with this make.  I can see myself making it again with the added length, the fronts are double layered so it’s great for the chillier weather and this fabric is really soft to the touch so a perfect winter cardigan I’d say (if only there was more of it!).

seamwork elmira

Overall I find the Seamwork patterns are straightforward, clearly laid out with good images and the Colette Patterns website has lots of tutorials that may help if you are struggling with a particular technique. I do think they are over ambitious in the time they recommend you can make the project in, maybe by the third attempt when you know what you’re doing you can whip it up in less than 2 hours, I will have to time myself next time I make an Astoria!  If you are unsure about taking out a subscription I would definitely recommend having a look at the Seamwork website and see if any Seamwork or Colette patterns catch your eye.  *They recently changed the membership options, the basic membership is now $7 per month for one credit (existing members stayed at the lower price) and $9 for 2 credits, which is still good value for 2 patterns, if there are some patterns you really like.  I feel like I have made everything from their library I initially wanted, there’s a few more that I’m tempted by but after that I’ll be struggling, I have noticed they do some men’s patterns, but do I really want to be spending my time making clothes for his nibs?!  We shall see…

Hope you’ve had a good week sewing, next project cut and ready to sew is the Cassandra dress by Valentine & Stitch.

 

 

 

One thought on “Seamwork Elmira cardigan, it’s a wrap…barely!

  1. Debsielou

    March 17, 2018 at 6:21pm

    Hello. Thank you – this is really helpful as I’m just printing the Elmira out to make, I ll add a similar amount of length as I do to the Astoria. It’s odd that I’ve never had to add length to Colette dresses and you would think they would be made from the same block? (Perhaps that’s the issue they haven’t added sufficient length for these tops? )I thought it might be useful for you to know (if you didn’t already) that you can pause your seamwork membership for 3months and not lose your credits.Happy Sewing!

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    • Author

      SewReady

      March 17, 2018 at 10:07pm

      Hiya, thank you I didn’t know about pausing your membership, I may well do that, the credits are building but not too much being released that I want to sew! I love the Astoria but in its original form is way too short, similar for Elmira, I’ve had 3 children I just can’t wear clothing that doesn’t go some way to hiding this fact! Thanks for stopping by 😁

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  2. Paulette

    January 27, 2018 at 1:13pm

    Maybe it’s because red is my favorite color but I think you look smashing in it! My first Seamwork pattern was the free Kennedy and it took me a couple of DAYS not just a few hours to make, so their timings are definitely a bit ambitious. I find that I don’t usually love a lot of their patterns right away but once I see them pop up on Instagram or other blog styles differently, sometimes something clicks. My second make of theirs was the Loretta, which I love. It’s very easy and I’m thinking of trying out one of the dress hacks. So I would stick with the subscription! This year I’m also doing #menswearmakenine so I’m grateful for the credits that will get me some of their Colette men’s patterns for “free.”

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    • Author

      SewReady

      January 27, 2018 at 4:51pm

      Thanks Paulette for stopping by. Yes I know what you mean, some of their patterns look more appealing when you see them in different fabrics! I may have to look at the Colette menswear, just in case I’m feeling generous with my time!

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  3. Kelly

    January 26, 2018 at 12:50am

    I totally understand falling off the exercise routine especially around winter time! I love that you do HIIT – it’s rough but you feel so accomplished afterward lol! The detail especially with the coverstitch machine is amazing on this cardi. I also love your stay tape tip which I learned from you on IG and now when I do shoulders I think of you! I still have my Seamwork subscription – but the credits have piled on and there aren’t enough patterns that I want to sew. I have to say it was kind of fun to sew one up for the hubby so maybe it might be fun for you to try! 🙂 Although I totally understand savoring those sewing hours for our own makes… hehe

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    • Author

      SewReady

      January 26, 2018 at 9:53am

      I think it was seeing your lovely makes that prompted me to get the subscription, I’m still lusting after that lovely pink Wembley cardigan and am always on the look out for a similar fabric! Yes I’m the same, the pattern library doesn’t have much that I’m excited about but the handful I have made I love, so it’s that feeling if you stop the subscription you might miss out on something really awesome! I suppose you could purchase it separately but they seem really overpriced for that! Oh well, perhaps I should make hubby something but those hours are precious and I’m not sure he’d give me the appreciation I would be expecting!X

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  4. Helen

    January 25, 2018 at 7:42pm

    I really like how this looks on you Max, but it’s so funny to read these thoughts about Seamwork as I’ve noted some similar things (with the timings, maybe it’s because they don’t include pressing seams in the instructions?) And I hadn’t realised the price had gone up so much. I have considered Elmira a few times, but am unsure of what I’d wear it with, so am really glad to read your thoughts on it. Funny about your Iceland uniform! I feel the same way about royal blue after a Saturday job I once had 😂

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    • Author

      SewReady

      January 26, 2018 at 9:48am

      Thanks Helen, I thought it was just me being extremely slow, but yes they never mention pressing seams, I hadn’t noticed that as I do it automatically! I’m also not sure what else I could wear this with other than jeans, I did think maybe over the Cassandra dress but would that look too much like a ballet teacher’s outfit?! That’s funny about royal blue, I also used to wear this colour when I worked at Bejam before Iceland bought them out and gave us red uniforms, it was probably the ill-fitting aprons that put me off red until now!X

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  5. Diane G

    January 25, 2018 at 3:09pm

    You’ve been busy Maxine! I love all of these makes. I really like the textured cream fabric and the red really suits you. I know what you mean about the short length of wrap tops though. I think it goes with the territory. My SOI Ella was short and I added a band to the bottom of it. I like how yours is layered over a tee…works well.

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    • Author

      SewReady

      January 25, 2018 at 3:24pm

      Thanks Diane. Yes in future I’m definitely going to think about the length of my torso, I’m short but maybe I have a long torso?! I know I have long arms for sure. I keep meaning to make a torso block, I think I definitely need to now to avoid this look in future! I really don’t like having this gap between tops and jeans, a band is a good idea but I’m out of this fabric, so over a tee it is, I’m definitely not in the market for a bare midriff!!

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