I’ve been wanting a tribal knit cardigan for a while now. The only problem is that I never go clothes shopping. Except at the thrift store, and you don’t see many trendy tribal knits hanging out at the thrift store. So I was pretty excited to see this gorgeous navajo sweater knit fabric at Girl Charlee a few weeks ago. I sewed it up using an easy cardigan pattern and got complimented on it the first time I wore it out of the house (as opposed to the first time I wore it IN the house, when my oldest son told me it looked a little young for me).
These children. They crack me up. In addition to that lovely comment about this sweater, in the past few weeks one child has guessed that I’m a hundred years old, and another has guessed that I weigh a thousand pounds. So close! Anyway…
I used the Julia Women’s Cardigan sewing pattern from Mouse House Creations and I really liked the pattern. It’s fairly simple and straightforward: no buttons or closures and a nice doubled-over collar option so there’s no hemming, which can be tricky around curves, especially when using knit (stretchy) fabrics.
It didn’t take long to sew up at all. The pattern comes with a great range of sizes. I sewed the large, which is what I normally wear in store-bought sweaters, and the fit is great.
The front of the cardigan is meant to hang open, which I actually really like. I rarely button up cardigans, and it sometimes feels like there’s a lot of excess fabric when I wear them hanging open. This pattern seems to take that into account, making the front pieces fairly narrow so they don’t add extra bulk to your midsection.
The pattern comes with 3 sleeve options: short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and long. I chose long sleeves, as well as the “doubled-over” collar option, and was just barely able to eke all the pieces out of 2 yards of sweater knit. I think the pattern calls for at least 3 yards for these options together, so be aware you can probably get by with a bit less than is recommended (although fitting all the pieces on just 2 yards was tough).
Two things I want to point out about the pattern:
1. If your fabric has a prominent print, you might want to try to match the print where the collar attaches to the front pieces. I gave it my best shot, but didn’t get it quite exact, as you can see by the first arrow in the photo below. With the way the collar hangs open it actually covers this seam about half the time, so if I sew this up again I don’t think I’ll stress about it.
2. I’ve mentioned the “doubled-over” collar option. It simply means that you cut the entire collar out twice, sew it to itself along the outside edge, and then attach it to the rest of the cardigan. I think it’s a great idea, and it gives the cardigan a nice, polished finish. In fact, I really wouldn’t recommend making this sweater without using the doubled-over option. See where the second arrow points in the photo below? That’s where the inside edge of your hem would be visible all along the collar if you didn’t use the doubled-over option. It might save you some fabric, but I don’t think it would look nearly as nice. With the doubled-over collar, the cardigan ends up looking very finished and professional.
All in all I think the Julia Women’s Cardigan is a great pattern that I’ll definitely use again!
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