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.
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).
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.
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.
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!!
Anyhow, 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!