The Straight and Narrow (Grain)Line: or, The Snow Falling Cardigan

I am a big fan of ignoring instructions in many areas of my life, but when it comes to making the first cut in coveted fabric (like this suuuuper soft and cozy ponte from Tissu Fabrics in SLC) I am a complete and utter chicken. It looks kind of like snow falling to me!

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I have been longing to make a waterfall cardigan ever since I saw Mary’s gloriously stripey version. And once I spotted this fabric, I knew I’d found the right match. The dilemma: I love this fabric, but it’s a single-border print and laying out the StyleArc Nina Cardigan to get the border along the bottom of the cardi would require cutting (gasp) cross grain. Eeek. Guys, I must have read two dozen articles with varying opinions on cutting against the grain on knits. Holy cow.

Luckily, the Curvy Sewing Collective also has a Facebook group (or as I like to think of it, the Amazing Internet Council of Wise Sewists) and everyone on it is very generous with both advice and encouragement. After some tips both on sewing knits on a regular machine instead of a serger, and a recommendation from Wise CouncilSewist Gillian on adjustments to make when cutting across the grain on knits, I took the plunge. The neckband, front bodice, back bodice, and hip band are all cut across the grain – the only thing that is cut on the grainline was the sleeves because I kind of liked the way the pattern looked that direction.

The only modifications I made to the pattern were adding some extra room on the bodice pieces to compensate for the less-stretchy cutting choices, lengthening the sleeves by 3″, and doing a double-faced front neckband. Since the wrong side of my fabric was very, very clearly a wrong side and the neckband is most likely to show the wrong side I figured it might be a nice touch. And, if I didn’t like it, I can always go back and unpick it! Ah, the advantages of making one’s own clothes, eh?

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Inside of the double-faced neckband on my cardigan. Pardon the weird wrinkling – the corner of the kitchen table was poking into the fabric and I didn’t realize it until I’d already uploaded the photos and decided I was too lazy to re-take them.

Turns out, it was a risk worth taking. I love how it turned out. The extra weight combined with the thickness of the ponte gave it a sort of architectural drape that I get all sorts of giddy about. You know, it’s funny – I never thought of myself as a “clothes” sort of person until I started sewing. As it happens, I just am not a shopping person (unless it’s fabric, red lipstick, shoes, or groceries). Okay, so I’m not a clothes-shopping person.

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Anyway, I’m quite pleased with the way this turned out, and I can’t wait to wear it! All hail autumn, season of cozy cardigans, hot cocoa, and backyard evening fire gatherings!! I found the fit to be very comfortable – I have fairly broad, square shoulders and this has just the right amount of room to accommodate a wide range of movement. Lengthening the sleeves by about 3″ made them pretty much perfect for me, as I have gorilla-length arms and can never find RTW clothing with adequately long sleeves. collage

All in all, if you’re looking for a relatively quick and easy sew with the potential for high-impact payoff, try this cardigan out. Single-border fabric optional. 🙂

Love, peace, and carefully researched risk-taking,
Sumiko

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