About 5 years ago I bought a sweater from Urban Outfitters that very quickly became my all-time favourite. It was lightweight but still warm, had a draped sort of style that could be dressed up or down, it had pockets and it was black. This sweater went with 80% of my wardrobe and was my go-to whenever I needed to feel put-together and stylish. I still have it and wear it occasionally, but time pills all fabrics and I needed something new.
Patiently sitting in my fabric stash was 2m of navy blue bamboo jersey. I acquired it during my internship at Télio and it’s been staring at me for the 2 years since then. It has beautiful drape, a good amount of stretch and is unbelievably soft. I couldn’t simply make ANYTHING with it. It had to be something really great that would be worn a lot in appreciation of it’s quality.
On some level I had been been hoping all these years to replicate that sweater with this fabric but struggled to find a pattern that fit the bill. Most patterns I looked for had a really long draped front, featured just tonnes of excess fabric or wasn’t my style. I felt a little hopeless and even contemplated self drafting.
The moment I spotted the pattern I knew she was exactly what I wanted. I saw that it was a part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6 and promptly purchased the bundle (the other patterns were just a nice bonus). It was a dream come true.
My one criticism? No pockets! I need to have pockets in my cardigans, not just to hold items like my phone (always a plus), but I feel way more comfortable when I have a place to put my hands.
I contemplated restructuring the front of the cardigan and adding new pocket pieces, then I realized the doubled over collar band could be used as a pocket bag and all I needed to do was create an opening on the outer layer.
I followed the instructions up until right before attaching the collar band to the rest of the cardigan. I measured the approximate placement of where I wanted the pockets to be and marked the pocket placement. It was here I noticed that the seam where the front and back band pieces met was pretty much where I wanted the pocket to end. I could stitch in the ditch to close up the pocket bag. (This way I won’t have to fish out random pocket objects that floated all the way around the band).
I stay-stitched the opening edge to keep it from stretching, then attached a bias binding to give it some structure. This was a real test of my patience as stretchy fabrics don’t play well with rigid ones.
Then finally as I pinned the collar band all around to the rest of the cardigan, I eased out the one layer from the serger to create the pocket opening on the way ’round.
Did you notice something odd about the way the pocket is pinned in picture 4. there? That’s right! Just as I thought the project was complete I put it on to see that I had accidentally flipped the band around and put the POCKETS ONTO THE INSIDE.
Kids, this is why you should stop sewing before midnight on a Sunday.
Instead of picking ALL the serging around the whole collar band (at the risk of destroying my pretty pretty fabric), I just unpicked the pocket ‘opening’, repeat the bias taping process and then serged the correct side down onto the sweater. A little annoying but totally salvageable.
The Julia cardigan was so simple (minus the pocket fanagaling) to put together. It was a two session project and the next one (and there will be more) will likely be a one sitting deal. I did add about 6cm to the length of everything since I wear my sweaters long. It did make my sleeves a tad too lengthy (they practically cover my hands if I let them) but I decided that I like that fact and it makes me feel extra cozy while wearing it. But because of this and the doubled-over collar, the pattern devoured all 2m of my bamboo *sniffle*. I was hoping I would have enough leftover to make a comfy top or something but only scraps remain.
Is this the new sweater to beat? Will it take over as reigning wardrobe champion?? Only time will tell – it looks great with jeans, but still needs to pass the skirt and dresses test to know for sure.
What I do know is that I put that special fabric to some darn good use and I am so excited to be building more wearable basics into my wardrobe.