A long ribbed cardigan is something of a wardrobe staple for many people and although I don’t actually own many (well, only 3 to be honest and one of those is old and holey!) I do find them to be very useful and incredibly handy to throw on as an extra layer sometimes, when I get chilly.
Well, serendipitously a challenge recently popped up on Instagram called The Cosy Cardi Challenge (#cosycardichallenge) and I decided that it would be a great time to make a cardigan for myself and also to enter the challenge. It’s being hosted by @amanda_isewalot and @thestitchsistersuk and I believe there are prizes to be had too. By the way, the closing date is November 30th so there’s still time to enter if you want to.
So, as I said the challenge was just the spurring on that I needed to get my own cardigan made and also after writing this post about neutrals and contrast levels within my wardrobe, I knew instantly what fabric I would use…
Way back in April I spent the day in Birmingham fabric shopping with a sewing buddy and we deliberately went on a Tuesday to ensure the stall that sells random knit fabrics was at the Rag Market. The stall is a giant table with a large mound of sometimes irregularly shaped fabric lengths of all kinds of knits. You literally have to dive in and rummage around. I pulled out two pieces of charcoal coloured rib knit that had a very nice hand and actually felt as though it might have a little bit of wool in the content blend and only £2 for the lot! At the back of my mind, I envisaged making a cardigan with it…and then life and other sewing projects got in the way and I promptly forgot about it…until now.
Anyway, once I remembered my fabric, I located it in my stash drawers and pulled it out to prewash it. On looking at it more closely I could see that it had a lovely heathered effect to the knit and it seemed to have a soft brown tinge to the colour, but more than that…it looked as though I had picked up two pieces of very slightly different dye lots as one piece was a touch lighter in colour. To be honest, though, I wasn’t phased by this…” never mind “, I thought, “I can use the lighter piece on the front bands and sleeves and the darker colour on the body, and call it a design feature” 🙂
Butterick 6258 Long Ribbed Cardigan: Pattern And Making D
The pattern I’ve used for my cardigan is *Butterick 6258, which I actually picked it up from the swap table at the Sew Brum sewing meet up last year and it’s still widely available online at several stores.
I’ve used this pattern before. Firstly to make two fleece dressing gowns (by cutting the fronts wider I created a nice wrap over,) and then to make the kimono robe that I blogged about here.
For this cardigan, I cut a size XS across my shoulders and an S at the bust and hips. The collar is made of double fabric with a fold down the front edges and I cut mine a little wider for a bolder effect. Style-wise I didn’t want my total front widths to be too wide overall, so I folded a good 2” back all the way down the leading edge of the front pattern piece. I had to lower and widen the back neckline curve a bit too so the edges were even at the shoulder seam.
So you know the lighter fabric that I mentioned? Well, I managed to cut out the collar easily from it but struggled to find enough room to get two full sleeves cut out properly in one piece. My only option was to make the sleeves out of two sections and have a horizontal seam just below elbow length. At this point I thought, oh, what the heck, why not go the whole hog and play with directions…so I have horizontal ribs at the top and vertical at the bottom. Even more of a “design feature” lol!
I stitched the whole of my cardigan together on my overlocker, however, I did baste my front bands and armholes for accuracy and to prevent slippage or twisting/pushing along. I actually really like the look of the ribs running in different directions. I have them running horizontally on the collar and they match the tops of the sleeves. Quite a cool effect, if I do say so myself!
The bottom edge of the collar and the part where it joined the hem allowance of the main body was sewn in a specific order as follows:
- Pin on the collar band and try on the cardigan to determine the finished length (below fingertips)
- Allowing for a 1.5” hem, overlock the hem of the main body of the cardigan
- Cut off the collar band at ¼” past the required length, turn the band with right sides together and overlock across. Then turn back
- Next to where the collar will attach to the body, fold the hem allowance of the main body to the outside enclosing the collar seam area within it
- Baste the collar seam all the way along and through the folded back hem area, then overlock it.
- Turn the main body hem allowance back to the inside and stitch it all in place.
Here is how it looks finished:
Once the collar was on I made a pleat at the centre back neck to create a nice fold effect as it falls around my neck and shoulders.
And there you have it. Quite a quick and straightforward make with a couple of design features thrown in to be different, just the way I like it 🙂
I think my cardigan will be so useful to pop on over thin sweaters and jersey tops for a bit of extra warmth. I can feel cold at the drop of a hat so I’m sorted now. Here I’ve styled it with my pussy bow blouse my favourite chunky boots that I got from Office years ago and my ultra-comfy jeans from Next that I shortened to a cropped length.
It’s funny because I’m not one to want to wear a lot of cardigans as it’s not a mainstay of my style, but this useful neutral will be very handy and it’s especially timely now as I heard we’re in for some cold weather (time for cosy soups and Netflix)
How about you? Are cardigans a staple in your wardrobe? Or are you like me and happy to have just one or two…? Let me know your style layering habits in the comments.
Until next time, see you soon.
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