Friday, October 9, 2009

Simplicity 2552 Cardigan

I'm about to kick off a big sewing-related weekend, so I'm going to take the lazy way out and copy my Patternreview comments here. I meant to do some construction notes through the week as I worked on this, but life and work and family and exhaustion got in the way. It was either sew or type, and I made the right choice.

Pattern Description: Wardrobe pattern including a knockoff of the Michelle Obama inauguration day dress/coat. Also includes a top, skirt and cardigan. This review is for the cardigan only, at least at this point. The cardigan has raglan sleeves, a shoulder dart, and a pleat in the front below the neck band that adds a nice drape to the front.

Pattern Sizing: Simplicity sizes 4-22. I made a size 12 with no alteration other than the standard "shorten here" petite alteration.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?I didn't look at them as I was sewing, but I checked them after and they were fine. This is a very simple, intuitive pattern and went together without issues.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?Interestingly enough, I bought the pattern for the coat/dress and thought that the top/skirt/cardigan was fairly uninteresting. When I bought this fabric, however, the first pattern that popped into my head was this little cardigan. It turned out to be just right - simple lines to let the fabric shine, and an easy fit. Well drafted so that I could tweak it if I wanted to.

Fabric Used: Sweater knit from Emma One Sock. Carolyn made me buy it. Listed as wool/poly/acrylic though she calls it "cashmere" (in quotes). It definitely feels cashmere-like, it itches like wool, and it's as warm as any good unnatural fiber. Since the fabric was sold with the caveat of dry clean or hand wash in cold, and I don't like to dry clean (or hand wash, if I can help it), my options were limited to pieces that didn't need a lot of cleaning.

Any alterations or any design changes you made: I made very few alterations to the pattern. There were some design and construction changes, but I'll start with the pattern. My only change, after tissue-fitting the pattern, was to fold out the petite alteration to change the overall length of the sweater. I could see situations where the original length would work, but for what I had in mind, the shorter silhouette was the right one.

This pattern is meant for stretch fabrics, and while my sweater knit was a stretch to begin with, it didn't end up that way. I loved the fabric, but wool makes me itch, and this apparently had just enough wool in it to get to me. So there went my original sweater idea, since I couldn't wear the fabric against my skin. And I'm not much of a shirt-under-sweater fan, it makes me feel all rumply and untucked. Also, as I said above, I didn't want a piece that would be againt my skin because it would require more frequent cleaning. I came up with the cardigan idea, and then decided that I was going to line it.

From there, I went from lining to underlining. I found a standard lightweight lining fabric in a coordinating green, and I cut lining pieces for every pattern piece. Then I hand-basted the lining to the sweater knit. Since the lining was slippery and the knit was stretchy, I foresaw disaster if I tried to baste by machine. Once I had the two layers basted together, I pin-fit again, liked what I saw, and started to sew the seams. Since the seam allowances would be visible on the inside, once the seams were complete I trimmed them close and zig-zagged over them to neaten the seams. I ended up liking the look a lot; it's very clean and about the best I'm going to get unless I invest in a serger.

My main design change was to shorten the sleeves to right below the elbow and add a sleeve flounce..

The collar is a nice feature - the piece is a curved band, cut on the fold, so there's no stretching, no easing to make it fit. Very nice.

As a side note, I didn't use any interfacing at all in this project. It was of course recommended for the button placket and the collar band, but it was also intended for a different method of construction. Since I was only doing a top closure, I knew I didn't have to do the placket, but I was iffy about the band. After I sewed the band to the cardigan, I pressed the lining band to the inside and pinned it to see how it felt. At that point, I still could have cut an interfacing piece and ironed it on, a little awkwardly, but it would have worked. However, the neck band felt good and stayed nice and flat and stable, so I went without.

For the lining, I hand-sewed the collar band on the inside. I pressed the cut-on facing back (leaving the extra bit of lining on the inside to serve as interfacing) and hand-sewed that as well. I didn't want a lot of visible stitching on this piece. Here's a picture of the cardigan inside out. The one place where I did visibly stitch was the hem - I pulled out the coverstitch. I basted the hem up and then coverstitched over the basting stitches to make sure I contained the raw edge inside the stitching. I love how clean and finished the inside of the cardigan looks.

For the closure, the pattern suggests buttons and buttonholes, but I went for a single closure at the top. I used an oversized snap from Pacific Trims in NYC, and sewed a button on top. The button is an antique, the last of a set of 6 purchased at a Paris flea market last year.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend this - it's a well-drafted, easy to sew pattern that would lend itself to a variety of looks and fabrics.

Conclusion: The perfect pattern for fabric I hadn't intended to buy, and proof that you never know when that pattern you aren't attracted to won't all of a sudden start looking good to you.


Connie B said...

I Love it!! Have fun this weekend. Think of me once or twice when you are with Renee and Trena- anyone else?

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

First, I didn't know that you didn't own a serger! Wow! Second, I hate you...just hate you! Now I'm going to have to buy some of that fabric and make my own version of this sweater because it is just sooooo kewl! Ummm, can you bring it with you?! Loves it!

Lori said...

Great job on the cardigan. The fabric is incredible.

meredithp said...

Sweater is great, and the ensemble looks particularly great.

Shannon said...

Beautiful cardigan!

Anonymous said...

It looks fantastic!

Lisette M said...

I love it! Thanks for all the construction details.

Little Hunting Creek said...

This is beautiful! I love your interpretaion of the pattern - perfect for this fabric.

gwensews said...

Terrific cardigan. I have that pattern, and now of course, am itching to make it!

Kitty Couture said...

Lovely! The colour scheme is perfect for you, too. Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

C. Dishmont said...

The sweater looks so much better in person ;-)

Andrea said...

Beautiful job on that jacket. Love it!!!!!

Kelly Faulkner said...

hi there. i bought this pattern some time ago, and have just set out to make the coat. unfortunately, i seem to have lost piece 16. is there any way you could scan it for your blog, or could you refer me to a site where i could d/l the piece or pay for a replacement? i'm a novice sewer, so am really nooby about these things! (and now i'm peeved, because i spent the holiday weekend making the dress, and now i want to finish off the outfit!)