Monday, April 12, 2010

"Black-adder" cardigan

I finished this cardigan just before we set out on our trek but didn't get time to do a post about it.
Do you remember me mentioning some rubber/plastic coated jersey knit, stamped in a kind of scaly print that I thought would be ideal to finish off my python print satin outfit, but it wasn't?  (I know, shocking grammar, there has to be a better way of phrasing that...)  Gorgeous and unusual fabric, fell in love with it at first sight.  A tough-but-still-chic-looking leather alternative to satisfy even the most ardent PETA supporter.  I think I'll be wearing it a lot this autumn/winter!
Ultimately this was a very easy project, sewn together completely on my overlocker and took all of about twenty minutes to put together once cut out.  I didn't think to take any "during" photos, but I'll provide a few construction details in case anyone wishes to reproduce this one for themselves.
So I had 70cm of this stuff and decided to make a little cardigan out of it.  I took one of my existing cardigans which I like the shape of, laid it flat and smooth as possible onto paper and drew respectively around its back, front and sleeve, adding a 1cm seam allowance.  

When I tried to lay these out on my fabric the fun began and I had to have a good long think about what was possible.  There really wasn't enough fabric to make a full length cardigan, so there was compromise.  This end result is proof that even if you don't have quite enough fabric to fit your vision, if you are determined and persevere and think outside the box about using all your fabric to best effect, you can still have a good outcome.  And I was determined...!
The body pieces had to be cut shorter to about waist-length.  Paradoxically this still left plenty of long strips on the edges, so I used these for the waistband, sleeve bindings, and also to add a long collar/front tie to the neckline.  I didn't use pattern pieces for these strips, just measured myself, pinned and adlibbed.
The wrist bands are made by serging your wrist strip along its short edge into a tube.  Fold this in half wrong sides together around the circular middle of the tube.  Pin to the right side of your sewn-together sleeve and serge around the raw edges.
The waistband strip is folded in half along its long axis wrong sides together, likewise pinned to the right side of the bottom edge and raw edges simply serged together.  My waistband strip wasn't quite long enough for proper squared edges, so I sewed the ends on a narrowing curve as they ended at the front edges, and I really like the look of how this turned out.  I got the idea for this from one of my Metalicus cardigans.

The raw edges of the fronts and the long tie collar posed their own finishing problem.  No finish seemed to look right: visible serged edges looked a bit unprofessional; topstitching looked horrendous and my ordinary machine hated the rubbery plastic finish, it kept sticking in the machine; rolled and hand-sewn edges wouldn't have worked because this fabric does not crease or fold.  So eventually I unearthed a bit of leftover black silk jersey (leftover from this dress, made about five years ago, yes, I often keep scraps that long!!)
I had just enough to cut out two front pieces and a strip the same length as my neck piece (er, the same length once I pieced together three smaller strips, that is).  Sewing these to their corresponding fashion fabric pieces right sides together at the edges, turning right side out, then treating as one piece seemed to do the trick nicely.  I apologise that they look a bit cat-hair-y in this photo.  I did say the fabric had been sitting around a while...!  And you can probably make out the selvedge holes along the edge of the silk jersey, I really did have only just enough fabric!  Yeah, I could have bought a bit more fabric, but by now I was on a minimal-wastage mission...

And so my new cardigan.  Today has brought a tiny taste of winter to Perth (thank goodness we had fabulous weather for out trek!), so I'm dressing a bit wintery-like.

Cardigan; own design, scale print jersey knit
Top; Ezibuy
Skirt; Vogue 7303, olive green corduroy
Leggings; Metalicus
Boots; Sunday, Andrea & Joen, from Uggys in Dunsborough


  1. It looks great. I love it with the boots.

  2. This is beautiful, you have a great eye for fashion! I wish I had access to such beautiful fabric!

  3. Cool, I like the whole outfit and I'm super-impressed that you're 1. brave enough to use animal prints and reptile-printed jersey and that you 2.manage to pull it off!
    That's skilled, I'd say.

  4. It looks good, very unusual but trendy , very autumn-like.

  5. cool! I like the tie, and the cropped-fitted-ness of it all. I imagine it will get alot of use. Looking forward to seeing it again!

  6. I love this outfit. The cardigan is very stylish and you did an awesome job piecing it together. Very impressive :)

  7. tres chic! not exactly the style im use to you wearing but it looks great on you :)

  8. I have mad love for that fabric. Although I would probably over heat in it. But still it is sooooooooo kewl.
    Love the whole outfit. The boots rule, too.