Saturday, January 31, 2015

The slouchy cardigan tutorial

Last week I shared my project run and play entry, and I promised a tutorial for how to make the cardigan. So here it is! My entry actually made the top 10 list for voting over at PR&P. My look didn't get very many votes, but I was still really excited about making the top 10. Thank you if you voted for me!

So let's get started! To make this you are going to need a basic knit shirt bodice front, back, and sleeve. I used the Bimaa pattern, but it would work with similar patterns like the flash back skinny, or Rowan too. You could even just trace a long sleeve knit shirt that fits your child. YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO SIZE UP! I normally use a 3T for Christine right now, so I cut a size 4. You want the cardigan to be slightly larger so you can layer it on top of shirts. If you don't size up, the arms especially might be a little too snug.
1. Lay your front and back bodices together at their side. Trace along the back pattern piece, and the armscye and shoulder seam of the front bodice.
2. Now pivot the front bodice at the shoulder and swing the bottom away from the back bodice about 3". Trace the neck, side, and bottom of the front pattern piece. (I also marked the right side with a dashed line for your reference.)
3. Draw a line connecting the front to the back along bottom with a nice smooth curve along the hem. I dropped the back 1/2" to add a slight curve to the cardigan back.
Here's with the ruler moved out of the way. This is what the smoothed out hem should look like. 
4. Add an additional 1/2 inch to the front side. This will be your front hem.
Again, with the ruler moved so you can see what I'm talking about ;)
5. Now you need to true your seam allowance by flipping your front over across your original line and trace the curve of the neck.

6. Add your pattern info: fold line arrows on the middle of the back, "cut one on fold" directions, "stretch goes horizontally" reminder. Your pattern is now ready!
7. Cut your pattern pieces from a nice stretchy knit fabric. You will cut 1 of your cardigan pieces on the fold of the fabric, cut 2 sleeves, and you will cut a neck binding as well- instructions for that on step #14
8. Time to sew!!!  (I used a serger, but a regular sewing machine will work too) Fold the sides of the cardigan in (right sides together) and line up the shoulders. Sew shoulders together. Fold sleeves in half and sew sides of the sleeves.
9. Hem the sleeves by folding up the sleeves and sewing across with a double needle on your sewing machine (here's a useful tutorial on that from coletterie  and here from Mady by Rae) I have the best double needle results when I use wooly nylon in the bobbin and regular thread in the top thread of my sewing machine, with a longer stitch length (3) and decrease the bobbin tension.
10. Turn sleeve right side out and slide the sleeve into the arm hold. Sew in place. (here's a tutorial on setting in sleeves- except when sewing on knits you don't have to baste and gather the fabric, you can just stretch the fabric a little to get it to fit)
11. Repeat to the other sleeve.
12. Fold the edge of the front side over 1/2". Sew in place. Sometimes the fabric will stretch unevenly as you are sewing so use a couple pins to keep the fabric from pulling. (What happens is the feed dogs stretch the fabric underneath- a walking foot would prevent this problem- but I gotta tell you I hate putting that monster on my machine. It takes so long, and to be honest it scares me a little!
13. Fold the bottom hem up 1/2" and hem.
14. Time for the neck binding. Start by laying out the cardigan neck hole nice and flat. Measure the distance from end to end (without stretching). Add 1" to that measurement for seam allowance.
15. Cut a long rectangle 1.5" x length you got in step 14. My neck measured 20.5" plus 1" for seams, so I cut a 21.5" long rectangle.  (The 1.5" width will make a 1/2" neck binding with 1/4" seam allowance. I use a 1/4" seam allowance because I am using a serger. If you are sewing on a sewing machine and want to use a 1/2" seam allowance cut your rectangle 2" wide instead. Just remember what seam allowance you accounted for when you get to step #18)  *you may want to write these measurements on your cardigan pattern piece for future reference.
16. Fold the neck binding in half (right sides together) and sew ends closed with 1/2" seam allowance.
17. Trim extra fabric and turn right side out. Use something soft and blunt to poke the corner out (I use a large plastic crochet hook- just don't use scissors or a really sharp pencil, those things can poke a hole through your fabric! that would be bad!!)
18. Lay the neck binding across the neck. Pin in place. Sew with 1/4" seam allowance.
19. Fold the neck binding up and top-stitch across. This will help the binding lay flat and smooth.
WooHoo! you just finished your cardigan!
If you make any I'd love to see your cardigans! Tag your pictures with #zuzzypatterns in instagram :)

Happy Weekend!

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