Have you ever seen a garment online or in a store that immediately catches your eye, and then you think to yourself, “Huh, I can make that, and I can make it in a better fabric”? I have. I can’t remember where I spotted it originally–maybe a fashion blog?–but a few weeks ago a camel colored, knee length, shawl collared cardigan got my full attention. It was gorgeous with its rolled up sleeves and effortless, cool aesthetic. I called to me. I know for certain that it was an acrylic blend, which turns me off faster than you can say “Emily hates acrylic.” Acrylic isn’t horrible, and it’s getting better as fiber technology ups its game, but it has a tendency to look blah after just one washing. It can be scratchy and holds static electricity badly sometimes. Acrylic doesn’t scream “quality” to me and I steer clear of it whenever I can. So I walked away from this gorgeous but cheap acrylic cardigan on a mission to find fabric and make my own.
In looking through my pattern stash I came across Butterick 6244, which was a perfect match for The Dream Cardigan. The pattern classifies the design as a coat, but it’s unlined so that makes it a little more casual in my mind. So, I’m calling this project a cardigan coat, not just a coat. The pattern also suggests a double-faced wool, which I knew would be best. I never did find a camel colored double-faced wool, but I did find some in ivory. The best part is that it had a little stretch in it, so even better as far as comfort is concerned. I found it at Fashion Fabrics Club and it’s sold out now, but search for “double-faced wool” for current inventory.
Cutting the pattern was straightforward, and I did not make a muslin. No need, really, as the design isn’t fitted and if it’s a tad big (and mine is), it’s totally fine. I chose this particular pattern because there is a flat fell seam where the collar attaches around the neck, so it hides that seam beautifully. It was a tad tricky to do this, but I’m pleased with the outcome.
Side seams were next. Flat fell seams there as well, but I will probably just serge those seams next time. It created some bulk in the armscye that, coupled with the bulk of the flat fell seam in the sleeve, made for some challenges when I went to serge the armscye seam allowance. Sewing a flat fell seam in the sleeve was also a challenge, but not impossible. Again, the bulk it created was noteworthy. I ended up sewing a flat fell seam on one sleeve and serging the other.
The biggest obstacle I encountered was with the recommended narrow hem. In a more lightweight fabric this would have been cleaner and more professional looking, but I just didn’t love it in my wool. There was so much bulk where the flat fell side seams met the narrow hem that it was too much to sew, not to mention that it just didn’t look pretty. I pressed and sewed the narrow hem all around, but after seeing it, I cut it off.
See, not loving this. Also notice the skipped stitch. Messy.
The hem rolls in spots (probably my fault for stretching the fabric as I went, unintentionally), and it just didn’t look great to me. I considered contrasting binding, a rolled hem on the serger . . . and then I realized that I could cut off the narrow hem, sew all the way around, and fray the edges. This would keep everything nice and flat. Fraying the edges took some time, but I love the result.
Notes about this pattern:
#1. It is lovely, and I would make it again in a heartbeat, sans all those flat fells.
#2. The fit is superb. It is comfortable and feels especially great on.
My fabric was about $9/yard, and I ordered four yards. (It’s rare that I order less than four yards of anything, ever.) I had matching thread already, so I spent less than $40 on supplies. Construction didn’t take long, but the frayed edges took some time.
This was one of those projects I added on a whim, and boy am I glad I did. I’ve already worn this a couple of times and gotten tons of compliments. Can’t wait to wear it again!
Have a great weekend!
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