A Quick Make for a Saturday Morning

I made a very naughty, large order of fabric from Fabric Godmother this week and it arrived yesterday.  It was so worth it!!!  I immediately sorted it and popped it into the washing machine.  By the evening it was all dry, ironed and ready to be used!  I didn’t want to waste any time.  In preparation for the fabric arriving, I had traced out a few patterns that I’d been buying during my enforced no-sew time.

Slouchy Jersey Cardigan from GBSB Fashion with Fabric book.
Slouchy Jersey Cardigan from GBSB Fashion with Fabric book.

I decided to start with a quick, simple one.  Using the grey marl jersey from Fabric Godmother I wanted to make the Slouchy Cardigan from the Great British Sewing Bee book, Fashion with Fabric.  Now this isn’t normally the sort of book I’d buy, but just before my operation I spotted it in Tesco for £5.  £5!  So I bought it, thinking it may come in handy in a class and possibly it would be something to read while I convalesced.

I liked the look of the cardigan, it’s one of those garments that’s just handy to have, like my Granny used to say, “You need a light covering dear.”  And that is what this is.  Tracing the pieces was a doddle.  There are loads of sheets in the separate pouch, which means lots of space to lay out the patterns.  It’s most definitely easier than squinting through the maze on a Burda pattern sheet.  The cardi consists of two pieces, a back cut on the fold, and the front.

I had ordered 2m of jersey for the cardi, which is just as well as I noticed a nice hole in the fabric!  Luckily there was enough space to manoeuvre the front piece to avoid the problem area, but if I’d not washed and ironed the fabric I may not have noticed the hole until it was way too late.  The first time I realised there may be a problem with the pattern drafting was when I noticed there was a lack of notches on the back piece.  The front has two notches on the upper arm seam and two more on the underarm/side seam.  The back only has them on the upper arm seam.

The instructions have you pinning the pleats/tucks on the front, stitching then pressing away from the front and topstitching with a twin needle.  All well and good right?  Nope.  For starters, the pattern is drafted with the pleats/tucks being folded towards the front, you can see that in the photograph, see the ears, they’re the evidence that the tucks/pleats are going the wrong way (but the right way, according to the instructions).

Top left: protruding
Top left: protruding “ears” show the pleats are going the wrong way, Top right: no “ears, pleats folded towards the centre front.
Bottom left, paper pieces pinned, front is shorter than back, Bottom right: Short by about 4cm.

The second pleat is not marked correctly.  There is no physical way you can line up the start and stop markings of that pleat and have the fabric lie flat.  It is supposed to be parallel with the first pleat, but it’s marked out completely incorrectly.  So mine is not parallel, but the fabric lies flat!  When things look wonky like that on the fabric, first thing I do is double check the pattern..  Did I trace the right lines? Leave something out? If the answer is no, I pin the paper to see what’s going on.  That’s when the truth comes out…

If you force the top edges and the bottom points of that second pleat together, you get a twisted mess, the lines aren’t the right length and the fold doesn’t lie straight, here’s my paper pinned version.

Flat pleats, it's the one on the left here that is the issue, the second one from the centre front.  The remaining pictures show what happens when I forced the
Flat pleats, it’s the one on the left here that is the issue, the second one from the centre front. The remaining pictures show what happens when I forced the “matching points” together.

So having fiddled the pleats/tucks, the sewing of the underarm was fine, but there was a snag with the upper arm seam.  The front is about 4cm shorter than the back!!  NO WAY!!  Back to the pattern, did I trace the Kimono line instead??  Nope.  That’s when I pinned the front to back along that seam and there you have it, the pieces don’t match!  See the bottom two photos in the first collage, you’ll see the difference in the two pieces.

I folded the back in half and pinned the neck edge together, smoothing out the now attached fronts to get a good curve and drew on a new back neckline.  I didn’t want to drop the centre back too far so only went down 2cm.  I got a good new line into the edge of the front and cut it all away.  Then the bias tape had to be reapplied to the back neck to stop it stretching out and the sleeve and outer hems done.

Slouchy Jersey Cardigan
Slouchy Jersey Cardigan

I am happy now it’s done, I like the look and the jersey is amazing!  It’s so soft and light, perfect for a little cover-up in the summer.  I wore it to the Broadway Classic and Vintage Car show this afternoon, the weather was ok, but there is a chilly breeze which isn’t all that pleasant when the sun disappears behind the clouds, and I wasn’t cold at all!  I do like the shape, but Mr W doesn’t.  He says it’s too round, too floppy and unflattering.  I know what he’s thinking, he thinks it makes me look fat.  Tough!!  When I’m bored I eat, and I’ve had 6 weeks of being bored.  Now I need to get un-bored, fast!!

DSC00005-1DSC09999-1Anyhow, overall I am pleased with the finished result, but I am not impressed that a much vaulted book has been sent out into the world with issues like this on what is effectively the simplest pattern in it.  Here’s a thought, instead of sending the patterns to bloggers to test, send them to the local college teaching City & Guilds and ask a pattern cutting teacher to check them.  They’ll sort it out!

Beeeg sleeves!
Beeeg sleeves!


Author: Anne W

I love fabric, and sewing. And I could do nothing else but sew, all day, every day, if I could!

21 thoughts on “A Quick Make for a Saturday Morning”

  1. Looks very stylish (ignore the husband) but it’s a shame it was drafted so appallingly! I’d say it wasn’t tested at all with all those errors!

  2. I like your grey marle knit – the black? back thread gives it some life. Very versatile throw on garment.

    1. Thanks Gail, it’s an interesting colour, sold as “stone” but grey with black slubby bits. I have a feeling I will need more of these cardis in my wardrobe!

  3. I really like this. It looks comfy and stylish. I’m really surprised and disappointed to hear that a GBSB pattern book so widely promoted has such sloppy instructions and drafting for such a simple garment. Terrible. I love your idea of handing over pattern testing to teaching staff! But you’ve got a great new cardigan, despite the poor drafting. Love it!

    1. Thank you Tia, it was a bit disappointing, and more than a bit irritating, but now I’ve fixed it I feel the need for more…

  4. I like it – I think the shape of it is very attractive, and it looks like it would certainly do the job of staving off a chill in the air! I’m very surprised to hear that the pattern had mistakes in it – I would have assumed all patterns in a book would be professionally tested!? Maybe that’s naive of me… Your idea for pattern testing is a great one – good for all kinds of patterns, not just those in books!

  5. Gorgeous cardi but I’m so surprised at the drafting! The earlier two books were infamous for issues around their drafting (so I never bought them) but I was under the impression this one was much more reliable. Particularly as the author is a teacher and costumer.

    Hopefully it’s just a glitch with this pattern and a printing issue (ie something got accidentally enlarged when overlaying everything, so a proofing issue, which the instructions definitely seem to be) rather than sloppy pattern cutting. If you try any of the others I hope they’re less irritating and I’d be interested in your opinion!

    Such a shame as it shows that the publishing may have been rushed as these errors weren’t picked up, and it would be demoralising for someone with less experience who wouldn’t question the drafting or pick up the contradiction between the pattern and instructions.

    1. I hadn’t realised the other books had nasty issues, I had never considered buying them! I wouldn’t have pumped for this either if it wasn’t for circumstances. I doubt the pattern drafting issues is something to do with being enlarged, all the other parts of the pattern fit together just fine, it’s that upper sleeve seam that’s out. None the less, I expect something with this sort of reach to have been properly checked. I do like my new cardi though 🙂

  6. Continuing the same theme as the Sewing Bee itself – rushed and imperfect. Glad you were able to rescue a botched pattern draft to get a useful cardi.

    1. I guess it could have been much worse, thankfully it’s now fixed. I think it’s a shame the proofing/testing wasn’t as thorough as it could have been, there are some suprisingly good patterns in the book, someone could be fooled by the BBC background into trusting it to be good. I don’t like it when you pay money (even if it was just a fiver) for something that’s a bit of a dud.

  7. I’m with the other commenters…so disappointing that this patter was so poorly drafted. Although I’ll admit to not be overly surprised. But a less experienced seamstress (and I would think these are a big part of the target market) could be discouraged by such things, and unable to work out the kinks so successfully.

    I’m more surprised by the holed fabric from Fabric Godmother. Their fabric is usually beyond reproach.

    But…what a lovely cardi. Ignore the hubby. I like this on you!

    1. Thank you Evie! yes, the hole did catch me by surprise! It was a pull, linked to a flaw, so I guess it hadn’t been spotted by the manufacturer or the person who checked the length after it was cut. I was really lucky that I hadn’t bought 1.5m, or I’d have been in trouble! Just as well you can only buy whole metres from Fabric Godmother!!

  8. I’ve made this cardigan and having experienced these problems, I thought that they were somehow my fault! I feel quite vindicated, so thank you. I love your grey version, and it does suit you perfectly. I wear mine all the time – it’s become a wardrobe staple.

    1. Nope, definitely not your fault!! Did you have all the same issues? I’m glad you came out with a garment you still love, I might make more now I’ve got a better pattern! 🙂

  9. Your fabric looks wonderful made up in this design. Am another sewer surprised about all the pattern problems, but so impressed with your detailed instructions on your fix. So glad you’re able to sew again! del

    1. Thanks Del!! I have so much to catch up on, I have to take it easy still, or my hand gets all swollen and doesn’t want to move much. I’ll get there though!

  10. I love your cardigan, and badly need something like it in my wardrobe. It’s such a pity it needed all that extra adjusting to make it work.

    1. Ahh, but now it’s sorted, so I can play with more and possibly take the 3 hours they say it takes to make! 🙂 If you do give it a go, pin the paper together first to see where you need to fix things, it’s not that difficult, just take your time. x

  11. great result despite all the issues- just hate it when you have what should be a relatively straight forward sew to whip up and it throws lots of ggggrrrrhhhh at you !

    1. Oh definitely Amanda! I had intended to make that and a tee for the afternoon, as it was I barely made it with the cardi! Anyway, lesson learnt, I will double check anything else I decide to make from that book now. 🙂

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