This cardigan has been at least a year in the making! When I made my trial run in January last year, I already had bought this fabric with a second in mind. Now it has finally made it to the top of my sewing queue.
This fabric was from Sew Over It, but it has long since sold out. It’s a little unusual because it appears to be a lightweight knit bonded to a mesh backing. It was a bit of a pain to cut out, so I wasn’t sure that I would manage to pattern match properly across the seam between the neckband and the front of the cardigan so I decided to remove the worry and cut the neckband and the cuffs on the cross-grain instead. I like the contrast of changing the pattern direction, and it works in this pattern because it is fairly loose fitting so it doesn’t matter that I have slightly changed the stretch characteristics.
When I cut the cuffs, I also made them half as tall as in the pattern. I always wear them folded back on my other Oslo because they are very long. I decided this time it would be simpler if I just shortened them to save me from having to keep adjusting them. Though it’s not perfect, the pattern matching at the side seams is pretty acceptable.
One of the great things about Seamwork patterns is they are generally quite straightforward and quick to sew, but the downside of this is that they sometimes don’t have the neatest of finishes. The Oslo instructions have you hem the main body of the cardigan, then attach the front band, which makes it tricky to get it all aligned neatly at the hems. This time I borrowed a technique from my Kinder cardigan, which has the band sandwiched into the hem, and the hem stitched last. It does look really neat now on the inside.
I like to be able to close my cardigans, but I wasn’t sure about putting a buttonhole in this knit without it stretching out. Instead, I sewed a decorative button over the top of a metal popper. There is another small popper at the other side of the neckband, and I really like the way that the collar folds into the closure.
I don’t think this will be my last Oslo cardigan. When I made it before, I wasn’t sure about the loose fit, but a year on I’ve become much more used to that silhouette and it doesn’t bother me any more. Even in this snow I was lovely and cosy with this Oslo cardigan all closed up.
I do have another loose woven knit which might make a lovely summery version if it ever makes it to the top of the list! As it is, I’m happy with another project from my make 9 completed, and another stash fabric fulfilling its purpose.
Last year I found it really helpful to think about which of my makes hit the mark, and which were less successful with my hits and misses, so I thought I would have another go this year too. I think most of my sewing has been fairly successful this year, though I have just done a wardrobe clear out, and a few handmade clothes did get the axe, so its certainly not perfect yet.
So here we go:
Top 5 Hits
Amber tops and Dress
I practically lived in my Amber tops during the last part of my pregnancy when it was hot and my bump was huge. Even since then, I must wear one at least 2-3 times a week because they are one of my most practical options for feeding in too. I particularly love my Amber dress because I think it looks fairly stylish and is so easy to just throw on, and my Amber hack layering tee also gets a lot of wear under shirts at the moment. I think the reason they have been so successful is because they suit my lifestyle as it is right now, not how I might wish it was. They are also made in good quality cotton jersey, so they have survived lots of washing and grabbing straight back out of the laundry pile!
This is another item of clothing that regularly gets taken straight from the clean washing pile to be put back on. When I first made it I wasn’t sure about the style on me and this was really intended as a wearable toile. However, the oversized nature of it has definitely been growing on me, and I love how easy it is to throw on. I would love to make another (possibly multiples) as again it fits my lifestyle right now really well.
Modified Toaster Sweater
I made this Toaster sweater right at the start of the year with some very special Atelier Brunette fabric. I’m pleased that I used this very special fabric in something which is comfortable and practical. I love that it fits over my Archer shirts, and the crew neck is more practical with a collar. I’m even really pleased with my decision to go for contrasting gold topstitching.
Ultimate Wrap Dress
This dress is another make that I love because I tweaked the pattern to create what I actually wanted. I hacked the sleeve into a little flutter sleeve, modified the cross-over to be a little higher and added an empire line seam to make it fit over the bump. I have worn it a bit since the arrival of baby too, though I think it might now need re-hemming to take out some of the extra length that I added to the front. I’m looking forward to being able to wear it again next summer.
I have made a mountain of these tops for Toby and as gifts, and I’m sure there will be more. I particularly like hacking them to have poppers at the neckline while he is small, but the pattern goes up to ages 5-6, so I’m sure I will make more as he grows. It’s a free pattern too, so what’s not to love!
There were a couple of other patterns that I would have included, but I thought it might be cheating to include patterns that made it onto last year’s successes like the Mens Metro Tee and Grainline Archer because I knew before I got started that I would love them! I also thought that perhaps I couldn’t include the skirt that I am currently sewing, even though I’m pretty sure it will be a hit because I haven’t actually worn it yet! Another that came close was the Dandelion Dungarees because they have seen a lot of wear in the last few months and the popper hack definitely worked there too. I think the things that I have included demonstrate that I’m getting more confident at hacking patterns to get what I actually want from them, not just putting up with the parts that don’t work for me.
Top 5 Misses
Considering how much I love my Oslo cardigan, it seems a little strange that I’m not such a big fan of the Kinder Cardigan which is pretty similar. I think it is down to a couple of issues, one being that the pattern is possibly even a little more oversized than Oslo. The other being that the Ponte I made it in is definitely more structured so it ‘feels’ bigger. I did like some of the construction methods, and the pockets though, so I’m tempted to adopt some of these for my next Oslo cardigan attempt.
Technically this was made in 2017, but I was never really going to wear it until this year. I’m not sure if it is just because it is such a large expanse of single colour, but I didn’t really hit it off with this Blossom dress. I love the fabric, and the Anna Top that I squeezed out of the offcuts, but the dress hardly got worn. It probably doesn’t help that it looked a bit strange before I had a big enough bump, and by the time my bump was bigger the weather was warming up. This hasn’t survived a recent wardrobe clear out because it looks ridiculous again without a baby bump. Perhaps it would have been better as a top.
A more recent make was this Lucia Top. It was a great way to kickstart sewing again being really simple, but I’m not a massive fan of the fabric. It’s a bit too shiny and ‘polyester’y. It has survive the wardrobe clear out, but only to see if I will wear it during the festive season when red and shiny seems more acceptable. If it doesn’t get worn it might have to go too.
There is nothing actually ‘wrong’ with this Lily Top, it just doesn’t get worn as often as I thought it might. I did wear it while I was pregnant, and I do sometimes wear it now to feed, but I wasn’t 100% pleased with the finishing techniques and there are some areas that I don’t think are going to be all that robust. It’s not a total fail, though I don’t think I would make the pattern again.
Again, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with this skirt, but I think it suffers from not suiting my changing body and style. I have been wearing a lot less that sits actually at my waist because I don’t find it that flattering at the moment. Perhaps that will change in the future and I will feel better wearing this skirt though. With hindsight, though the pockets are really useful, they just draw more attention to an area that I feel less confident in at the moment!
I think several of these projects have suffered from the difficulties of guessing what sorts of things I was going to want to wear as my lifestyle and body have changed. Hopefully now that thigs are starting to settle down I can make more informed choices for next year and get more of them right!
I figured that we are a good chunk through the year now, and it would be a useful exercise to see how I was getting on with my resolutions for the year, while I still have time to get back on track if it was all going awry. Amazingly, sewing-wise it seems to be going pretty well so far and I’m feeling fairly on track to achieve the things I was hoping to, despite feeling like a whale at the moment and waiting for baby to arrive! This is what my make nine plans looked like at the start of the year:
Since then I have decided on, a couple of my wildcard patterns, and have also made up quite a few of these patterns too, some of them several times.
Another of my plans was to be less impulsive with buying new fabric and patterns, and to use more of what is already in my stash. So far it has been a roaring success! I’ve not bought any new fabric so far this year except for my Trench Coat project, despite being very tempted at a couple of moments by various sales! It means that all the projects that I have been working on so far this year have come from stash fabrics, some of which I had forgotten even existed. I will need to buy some fabric soon for the Penny dress because I don’t have anything suitable stashed away, but I think I’ve done amazingly well to come so far without a single impulse fabric purchase.
Pattern-wise, my only purchases have been the Penny Dress, the Brindle and Twig Patterns, and I did get Tilly and the Button’s new book Stretch when I recently subscribed to Love Sewing again. Again, pretty restrained so far! Turns out I have quite a few patterns in my stash which can be hacked or modified to make some lovely and enjoyable sewing.
So in terms of what I still have to do this year, it seems to be going ok! 5 of 9 of my make nine completed, one in progress, and another at the planning stage. Still two choices to make, but I’m starting to narrow down what they will be. Fabric and pattern buying under control, and I’m thinking I should do some more sorting out of my stash to give away some of the things which will never see the light of day otherwise. There are definitely some pieces which just don’t inspire me anymore, but might be just the thing for someone else. I would like to narrow down my stash so that it contains just fabric that I can’t wait to sew.
It feels good to be making progress on some of my sewing plans! This is the third of my patterns ticked off my make nine list. I’ve already written about my Seamwork Oslo, and Megan Nielson Amber. Three from nine at this point in the year is looking good!
The full review of my Paxton sweater and this fabric is up on the Minerva Crafts blog, so check it out here. Matt seems happy to be the recipient of some sewing goodies for a change, so that feels good too!
One of my aims for this year is to sew from my stash fabrics. Well I have had a really cool ‘technical fabric’ remnant from Fabric Godmother sitting around for perhaps a year, and I thought it was high time that I gave sewing with it a go. This fabric is slightly waterproof, but still moves and feels like fabric rather than plastic, so I thought that a fairly practical tote bag would be a good option.
I have had a Seamwork subscription for a while, and so had a couple of credits to use. The Madrid bag seemed to be a pretty straightforward option for my first attempt at making a bag since making a drawstring one in year 9 textiles! All the pattern pieces are basically rectangles, so it really is a beginner friendly option.
The Seamwork Madrid pattern is designed to be sewn with a couple of contrasting outer fabrics, and a lining. I didn’t have two different waterproof fabrics, but I did have some cotton twill left over from Matt’s waistcoat last year which co-ordinated well. I chose two basic polycottons for the lining, so that I could make the pocket out of a contrast colour too.
This all went together very smoothly. I couldn’t find any bag handles that I liked online as suggested in the instructions, so I just made my own from some d-rings and a length of wedding. This way you can choose exactly how long you would like the straps to be too.
This tote bag is not quite an empty shell like some are, and I thought that it would be nice to be able to take it without a handbag sometimes. I hate it when my keys and phone get lost in the bottom of a bag though, so I divided the internal pocket to be ‘phone-sized’ and added a little hook to clip onto a key. The finished bag looks pretty good. Not all of my topstitching is a neat as I would like, but I don’t think most people will be looking that closely.
It is a bit floppy, so if I make some more in similar fabrics I think I will need to add some interfacing to the outer bag pieces to make them seem a bit more robust. It might not be helping that the cotton twill at the top is slightly heavier weight than the floral fabric at the bottom of the bag, but I didn’t want to put them the other way up because I thought you are more likely to put a bag down on a slightly damp surface than brush up against one at the top of the bag. I can see more of these bags in my future.
I have been planning a few basics lately that will serve me well both pregnant and afterwards with no alterations. One of the patterns which caught my eye was the Seamwork Oslo, my first make from my make 9 list! I really wanted to make a cosy version to layer up in and bought some jersey from Sew Over It with my birthday money, but then I panicked a little. The fabric was more expensive than I choose to spend, and I wanted it to be right, so I decided to make a trial run with something a little less precious.
I chose this Navy and White striped jacquard from Minerva crafts to make a lighter and less expensive wearable toile. The fabric is definitely not as weighty as my Sew Over It jersey, but at least I could give the pattern and the fit a test run without loosing too much sleep over it. This is the result.
Open, it feels a little bit too big everywhere. I made a Small based on my measurements, and wanting to have space to grow, but I think I would be better off with the XS. Even with the cuffs rolled back the sleeves are pretty long, though that does make it cosy for pulling over my hands! It is a bit of a departure from my usual style so it is taking a bit of getting used to. Most of my other cardigans are a bit more fitted, especially in the sleeves, so I think that I could make a few changes, slimming down the sleeves would make it work even better for me.
I’m pretty pleased with my stripe matching, both at the side seams and at the collar. Lots of pins are your friend when trying to get long sections of stripes to stay in place!
I decided not to add the buttons because this knit is a bit too light to support them, but I did add a little hook and eye just under the bust line to give it a bit more shape, and I like it much better like that. I have also been wearing it with a little broach to close it too.
It also works really well with a belt for when I want it to stay properly closed and keep me cosy, so I think I will be wearing it like that a lot while the weather is cold!
I’m still undecided whether to use this pattern to make my cardigan from my Sew Over It fabric. I have another cardigan pattern to test from Wendy Wards new book “A beginners guide to sewing with knitted fabrics” so I might see if that pattern suits what I am looking for better before deciding. Meanwhile, I am sat in this Oslo cardigan feeling warm and cosy, so it can’t be too bad!
A final, and very important, thing for me to do today is announce my giveaway winner. Congratulations to…
Thanks to everyone who commented. I’ve really been enjoying finding out what people would like to see here in the next year.
Sometimes I have projects that just take ages to come into reality. I’m sure you know the feeling- you come across a new fabric or pattern and immediately make plans. Somehow though, those plans keep getting pushed back until sometimes you can’t even remember what they were! Eventually though, a rummage through your fabric stash or patterns brings it back to the front of the queue and it gets to see the light of day. This is one of those makes!
I recently had a rummage through my fabric boxes, pulling things out for the winter and a couple of upcoming ideas. While I was there, I rediscovered this speckled cream Hacci knit from Girl Charlee. I had a couple of metres, and it has been waiting patiently for at least a year. Unsurprisingly, they don’t seem to sell it any more, but they do have lots of other styles. Hacci knits are quite loosely woven, they look more like loose knitting than a t-shirt fabric and so this fabric was always destined to become a lightweight cardigan.
I also have had the Elmira cardigan by Seamwork in my pattern collection for ages, and they seemed like a good match. I made a couple of small changes- lengthening the sleeves by 5cm so that they would be full length, and also cutting two of the back pieces. All the front cardigan pieces are double thickness, so I thought I would do the same at the back, especially as I wasn’t sure how well this fabric would take to being turned and hemmed.
Seamwork patterns are designed to be quick and easy to construct, but that does sometimes mean that the finishing is a little less thought through than other patternmakers. I didn’t really have any problems with the construction order of this though, and I’m happy with how it has turned out.
The cardigan closes with a couple of little internal buttons and an external tie. The buttons have little hand sewn thread chains instead of buttonholes which are really delicate and lovely. I actually enjoyed sewing them, despite usually avoiding hand sewing wherever possible.
This is a slightly different style for me, but I have been enjoying wearing it with higher-waisted dresses and tops. I think it will be nice over the winter when you often want something to just cover your arms, but don’t need anything too heavy because the central heating is on. The only changes I would make next time would be to lengthen the sleeves a fraction more, and maybe reduce the width of the inner wrap piece so that the neckline pulls more smoothly. Other than that though, I’m happy to be using a fabric and pattern that have been waiting around for far too long!
This is another of my speedy holiday makes! This has been cut and ready to go for a couple of months, but of course I decided that I needed it finished to take away with me on the morning of our holiday. Fortunately, it was very quick and easy to put together, and we were never in doubt of missing our flights or travel plans!
This is a Seamwork magazine pattern, the Aurora top. I do really like Seamwork for inspiration, though not all the patterns grab my attention. This one though is just so simple and cute I thought I would give it a go.
I used this tutorial to clean finish the yoke/strap seam, which isn’t in the pattern instructions. It doesn’t really make it much more difficult though, and does look tidier on the inside.
The fabric is all scraps which have been hanging around for a while. The navy blue body is an old t-shirt, and the contrast yoke is cut from the very last scraps of my first Moneta dress. This is a great top for a bit of scrap busting.
I don’t know really why I put off sewing this up. It was so quick and easy. I wasn’t sure how this would look in such warm weather being such a dark colour, but I do quite like the contrast with these ready to wear white linen shorts.
Two makes to share today. Firstly a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dungaree Dress. I made this one shortly before Christmas and already I have had a lot of wear out of it. I wanted to be able to wear it with as many different things as possible, so I made it in this medium whale grey corduroy bought from eBay (sadly no longer available but they have it in red).
I made version 1 the mini length with a front chest pocket and rear patch pockets. The instructions give the option for contrast top-stitching but I kept it pretty neutral, so that I can wear this with as many things as possible.
I made a straight size size 2, even though it doesn’t quite match my measurements (my hips are a little bigger than that) but thought I could get away without grading as it is not a particularly closely fitted style. The sizing is spot on. It is a little bit of a wiggle to get it on over my hips, but once it it on it fits fine. Length is great with tights, and while loose fitting over the hips, even with a short t-shirt you don’t feel like you underwear might end up on show at the cut out sides!
As you might be able to spot above, I didn’t get around to top stitching down the facing. This was for two reasons- one, I was impatient and wanted to get on installing my buttons then realised afterwards that I had made top stitching tricky/impossible, and two because I liked the clean finish. I have tacked it down at the side seam and haven’t had any problems with it flipping out of place.
I love wearing this with tights and boots. Today I am wearing it with another new make- my Seamwork Astoria. This is my second attempt as this pattern. The first was far too tight and was a nightmare to get on and off- just not enough stretch in the fabric. This one is better though still not quite right. The fabric is a stash sweater fleece with a bit of stretch. Probably still not the 20% recommended by the pattern which is why I think it is pulling a bit in some of the pictures.
Astoria is a very easy make. It came together very easily on the overlocker, with a bit of twin needle stitching to keep some of the hems from flipping out of place.
I made a couple of little changes- my fabric wasn’t quite big enough to cut out the full length sleeve so I added a cuff. The cuff I kept a fraction wider than the original sleeve piece too as I found it quite narrow the first time I made it.
Still not quite perfect, but a very wearable sweater now that the weather has got properly wintry again! I’m sure there will be more around- possibly lengthening the pattern to a less cropped style.