Summer sweaters might sound like an oxymoron, but no matter the season, I rarely leave the house without a cardigan! During Me-Made May I relied heavily on a newly-thrifted royal blue waterfall cardi and a 5-year-old pale grey cardi that is starting to sprout holes, both of which you can see here. Since then, I’ve been working to gather nice rayon rib knits and sew them into three new summer cardigans!
All three cardigans are based on the Cashmerette Concord tee. For the two draped sweaters, I cut off the front and back bodice at the waist, and attached a wide rectangle draping over the hips, and a narrow rectangle for the neckline. (Style Arc Nina has the same shape, if you prefer a real pattern.) This striped version is the closest in proportion to the royal blue sweater I copied – the perfect length for making a tank and leggings into a “proper” outfit!
The turquoise version is constructed in a same way, but slightly shorter. I had 3m of a bizarrely narrow rib knit, and I was scared to run out of fabric!
The grey sweater is as close a copy as I could make to my RTW favourite. It is the sweater I reach for when no other sweater matches, especially with dresses. This version is almost identical in colour, and hangs open in the same way too! I squeaked it out of just over 1m of knit end, and I’m so glad it worked out!
The theme with all three sweaters was to pay attention to the fabric and strategically use it to advantage. That might seem obvious, but it’s the sort of thing that past-me wouldn’t have always known how to do.
Ribbed sweater knits can be notoriously hard to hem, so I thought about finishing before I cut things out. The centre front uses the selvedge edge as much as possible, so that when it drapes open there are no obvious seams. I hemmed the bottom and sleeves with the coverstitch, and it did a perfect job. Something like the Helen’s Closet Blackwood would be great for these fabrics too – all finished with bands and no hemming needed.
On the grey, the ribs came off the selvedge at a slight diagonal, so I used that as the angle at centre front! To get a mirrored pair, I had to use the front of the knit on the left and the back on the right… but I don’t think anyone would ever notice. The turquoise has a much more pronounced rib, and you can see how hemming the sleeve stretched things out… so I chose to leave the bottom hem raw instead. The black and marl grey has such a bold stripe that I avoided any pattern matching by playing with directionality on front and back. Lazy and effective!
My summer vacation has started now – so except for 9 days of teaching kindergarten ESL students in July, I’ve got two months to sew! I moved my sewing room down to the dining room, and I have tons of plans. Only problem is, I think I might have TOO MANY CLOTHES? I’m sure I’ll get over that feeling soon and start cranking out more! What are your summer sewing plans?