If at first you don’t succeed …. try again

Recently I bought a lightweight sweater knit to make a summer pullover/cardi/beach cover-up type of thing.  As you can tell, I didn’t have a firm idea of what I’d like to make with it.  My first attempt didn’t really work, but I managed to salvage it into something I love.

First Attempt

First attempt
First attempt

The idea first came from a post by Un Petit Design Inspired By: ModCloth Academy Dress in which she drafted a wide V-neck collar onto a dress.  And was “seconded” by seeing a similar jumper with a similar but narrower collar.   So I used her instructions  to draft a pattern based on a Lekala tunic and making the collar only 16cm wide.  The result was so-so.  The fit is OK, but I see the following problems

  • shoulder seam is too narrow for the collar width.  It would have better with 1/2 the original shoulder width.
    • Lesson 1:  Keep the shoulder to neckline edge the same.  If I shorten the collar width, then I don’t need to take as much out of the shoulder seam or back neckline.
  • fabric doesn’t have enough drape – the collar doesn’t stand on it’s own or drape.
    • Lesson 2: Shorten the neckline length to take out the drape, or use a softer fabric
  • double layer  in the collar looks odd against the transparency of the single layer
    • Lesson 3:  Pick a design more suitable for sheer fabrics, silly!!!


Second Attempt


So changing my mindset to working with a sheer fabric, I decided to make a knock-off of this NIC+ZOE cardigan retailing at AU$150.

The base pattern is from Kwik Sew 2694, view A.  I had made this before and had already made adjustments to the front neckline and added 5cm to the length at the waist.  To copy the NIC+ZOE design, I changed the front neckline curve from the centre front to  finish 5cm above the hem.  The bottom hem was curved up from the centre from to meet the new neckline/front edge.  A 1cm seam allowance was used on the neckline edge and 2cm at the hem.

Pattern changes based on Kwik Sew 2694
Pattern changes based on Kwik Sew 2694

I was able to salvage the sleeves from the original top, and cut the new back piece from the old one.  I had a little fabric left over,  but it was enough to be able to cut the new front pieces.

Neckline edge treatment
Neckline edge treatment

Learning from my mistakes, I did a couple of samples for the neckline finish, looking for something that firmed up the edge and stopped the knit from unravelling.  The inside edge would be visible when the cardi was worn open, so the inside needed to look good too.  I settled on using Vilene knit bias tape to stabilise the front edge and using a triple stitch zigzag to stitch the edge down.  The initial sample with a plain zigzag looked better, but after washing the sample, there was a bit of tunnelling while the initial puckering on the  3-step zigzag disappeared.

Finished cardi

The end result was well worth it and I love the finished cardi, especially the way it drapes when worn open.  Even with my stuff-up, it only cost around $25.  Another version in a merino knit may be on the cards!


At a Glance:


Self drafted based on Kwik Sew 2694 view B

Type 4-way Cardigan
Fabric Cotton blend sweater knit.
Difficulty 2 – Quick to make.  Care needed with neckline finish
End Result 5 –  TNT. Definitely be making more from this pattern
Cost $25 ($20 fabric, $5 thread & buttons).  Designer original retailing for AU$150

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