Monday, 22 December 2014

Freemantle cardigan

Well you've all seen my woven versions that are true to the pattern, but I thought that I would share this knitted version that I am so excited about. I have chosen to make a combination of VIEW A and C. The neckline and front closure of VIEW A on the pattern has been combined with the shorter, narrow sleeved VIEW C. Warning! This post is just a teeny bit photo heavy!!!

Before we even go any further I need to explain that after these first photos were taken (green background), I realised that the fabric overlap on the centre front was too large and looked messy. You can see how much it extends past the button holes. I could not live with this, so went back and modified it slightly, but I will talk about this more in a bit when I go over how I changed the construction. For now, here is a before and after picture!

I used some pretty superb fabrics here by the way. I took rather a large chance and ordered this beautiful spotty wool and wool edge binding from 'My Fabrics'. It cost way more than I would normally consider spending, but after my recent experience with their fabrics for my jacket sample (VIEW C) I couldn't resist. Luckily my gamble paid off and I am ecstatic with the results. I ordered 2m of the spotty and with some creative cutting I managed to squeeze this and a Linden out of it with maybe enough scraps for some gloves. 6m of the binding was used up completely on both garments and I mean I had to stretch it onto the pockets in order to have enough, so some pretty economical usage going on!

 Now onto the making!

Because all of the edges have a bound finish I removed the hem allowance before cutting the fabric. I marked a new hem onto the pattern piece 3cm up from the original and cut along my new line. I eventually removed the seam allowance along the neck edge and centre fronts too, but not until I had sewn everything together, as I wanted to preserve most of my pattern to use again. I later taped the cut hem back together once my fabric was cut, as I like to re-use my PDF patterns as much as possible! Incidently, I left the sleeve length as is, as I wanted to preserve as much length as possible with no plan to add a cuff to this version. So, with all that in mind I cut my fabric out with the new shorter hemline.

I sewed the, sleeves, front and back together as per the pattern instructions and then trimmed the seam allowances down to half the size before finishing them with an overlocked stitch. You can finish with a zig-zag stitch or an overlocking stitch on your sewing machine if you do not have an overlocker.

The order in which I overlocked was to start by going over 'side b' of the gusset piece on either side. Then I overlocked from the hem up the front armhole edge and then from the sleeve hem up the back armhole edge overlocking both seams together.

The shoulder darts were also sewn as per the instructions, but then trimmed down to approx 0.75cm and overlocked.

I then trimmed the seam allowance away from the neck edge and centre fronts. Back tracking slightly to the fact that my centre front overlap was in fact too big, I would recommend trimming away 3cm from the centre front fastening edge (not the neck edge)in total rather than just the 1.5cm seam allowance.

This is what I originally trimmed...

This is what I trimmed off on top of that after unpicking my knitted binding with impossible to see machine stitches!!! Is it ever possible to make anything perfectly first off?

The wool binding I bought is a flat binding similar in type to fold over elastic.I have never worked with either the wool fabric or the binding before, so was creating some firsts as I went. I was definitely improvising through some of the steps, but here is how I applied the binding.

I first of all applied the back of the binding to the cardigan in the same way you would apply FOE to underwear, swimwear or vests. I started with the main edge (neckline, centre front and hem edge). I lay the fabric (right side up) on top of the binding with the fabric edge lining up with the centre of the binding and used a zig zag stitch to top stitch the fabric down. I worked my way from one of the back raglan seams round to the front round the hem and back up again. I left 0.5cm unsewn at the beginning, so that when I came close to finishing the round I took it off the machine and snipped enough length to complete and sewed a little 0.5cm seam that would be concealed under the folded binding. I folded the binding over the front of the jacket and topstitched in place with a straight stitch. All stitches sank right into this knit, so are very well hidden, which is good until you need to unpick them!!! I was concerned about the binding being too loose, so I pulled it slightly the whole time I was sewing to take away the slack. I think I pulled it a tad too tight, as even after a good press it doesn't lay flat like I imagined, but it's one of those things I guess. I always spend the longest on the knitted edges when I knit a garment, as it seems easy to get too loose or too tight and this seems no different!

I bound the sleeve ends in the same way and then moved onto the pockets.

I was going to attempt welt pockets, but thought that was asking for trouble so cut some large patch pockets instead. I actually much prefer these types of pockets for this version anyway, but was not into the idea of any topstitching. I remembered this amazing tutorial from Rosie Wednesdays blog about attaching patch pockets on the machine with almost no visible stitching and thought I would give that a go. I shall not go over the steps myself as she has done it so well, but needless to say, it worked! I bound my pockets before attaching. The only other extra was some topstitching at the top of the pocket (on the black binding only) because the binding is prone to messy ends and they needed taming.

So at this point the only thing left is to add buttons and buttonholes.  I stuck to my original pattern markings, but I was dreading this bit and I think that any doubts were totally justified. I definitely should have stabilised the buttonholes somehow. I'm thinking that if I put some fusing behind and did machine buttonholes they would have looked much better, but instead they look a bit like my toddler did them.

They remind me of an old womans mouth who has been a long term smoker, so has got lots of wrinkles. I have grown rather fond of them though and can't really change them.

So, this is how I used a knitted fabric with my new Freemantle coat pattern! I'm not sure now I've got to the end of this tutorial whether it's a good example or not as there were definite hitches along the way, but I think it gives a good general idea of where you can take it. Personally, this is my favourite version so far and is getting loads of wear (thank god, it cost enough).

Here are some more pictures of how I've been wearing it after the centre front modification. The red, jumper, plaid skirt and spotty cardigan is my current favourite outift. I don't know why, but I am strangely drawn to dressing a bit old lady, always have been. In fact a little bit old man too and I once bought an old mans three piece suit from a charity shop that I used to wear as a teenager. Glad there are no photo's!!!

 Here I am looking a bit Velma-esque (scooby doo)

In case you were curious about the Linden I also managed to squeeze out of my fabric then here it is...

I cut the front, back and sleeves only and bound everything with the wool binding and added a cute 'feature' pocket because I had enough materials to make one. This and the cardigan were supposed to go together as a kind of twin set, but it is far too warm and bulky to work. Individually however, they are a very welcome addition to my handmade wardrobe!