The sewing project I chose for February just so happened to fit in with #ProjectSewIt – a sweater - and I believe my next couple months do too, which is fabulous because it's fun to sew with the community! This is the Phinney Ridge Cardi* by Straight Stitch Designs* made in 100% merino from The Fabric Store with wooden moth buttons from Arrow Mountain.
Nearly two years ago, my super basic black cardigan accidentally got thrown in the dryer and shrunk. I have another cardigan in dark green, so it wasn’t an overly desperate situation, but I have often thrown on my green cardigan and wished I had a black one instead. I knew exactly what I wanted my cardigan to look like. Slim, but still a tiny bit slouchy. Not long, but also not short. Pockets, definitely pockets, and also buttons. I was deliberating between the Blackwood, the Driftless and the Phinney Ridge Cardi*. I love what I’ve seen of all of these, but I also knew that I’d be making a few changes to whichever pattern I chose. Not because there is anything wrong with them! Simply because I had a very precise image of what I wanted. In the end, I chose the Phinney Ridge Cardi*. I don’t see this pop up on my Instagram feed or Pinterest as often as the others, so I was just kind of curious to try it out. I’m so glad I did!
My shrunken cardigan was black Merino, and I fully intended to use merino for my new cardigan as well. I’ve never sewn with merino, but of course I’ve seen the gorgeous merino fabric from The Fabric Store all over Instagram, and I’d been dying to try it out. It cost a minor fortune, but I’m SO glad I went for it! It was an absolute delight to work with and is exactly what I’d hoped for. I don't buy clothes anymore, I keep a pretty minimal wardrobe and I sew quite slowly, so I don't want to spend my time making things that are just good enough. I therefore decided that it works for me to make larger investments in the types of fabric that I purchase. Luckily, I happened to be perusing the The Fabric Store site during an online sale, so I was able to purchase my 2 meters of 180gsm Premium Merino with a bit of a discount.
My measurements put me at a 6 on top and 8 at the hips. However, I wanted the cardigan to hit me at the full hip, so I graded to a 10 at the hips. Like I mentioned, I had a very specific idea of the cardigan I wanted, so before cutting any fabric, I made a number of adjustments to the pattern:
- Added 2cm to the length at the shorten/lengthen mark and graded to a 10 at the hips.
- Raised the sleeve cap by 1cm
- Reduced the sleeve width by 1 to 2 cm for a slimmer sleeve
- Raised the underarm on the bodice by 1.5cm
- Added a 6th button (this is mainly because I had 6 matching buttons)
- Added welt pockets, which I am VERY proud of!
- Added pocket anchors to keep the pockets in place
The adjustments were all pretty straight forward. The welt pockets, on the other hand, were so scary! Sure, I could have done in-seam or patch pockets, but I really wanted the look of the welt pockets. Slicing in to the fabric was terrifying though! I searched and searched through Pinterest for a clear tutorial on how to do these, and the one that clicked most in my brain was actually in Korean! No, I do not read Korean. It’s testimony to how good the photos were that I could understand it. When it was all about to drive me crazy, I remembered that I kind of knew how to do these already because it’s a pretty similar process to putting in a zipper pocket in the lining of a bag. So instead of needing to make the welt pocket out of two or three different pieces, I could do it from just one. Jackpot! If enough people are interested, I may create a small tutorial on how I did this. Let me know in the comments.
So whatever happened to my shrunken cardigan? Well, my daughter wears it. She calls it her "library sweater" and was incredibly excited to be library-sweater-twins. We also both have black skinny jeans... and the same Vans shoes... and glasses... and long hair... so we could be twins! A 7-year-old's dream, ha! She was a little disappointed that my cardi is not as long on me as hers is on her, but she's still growing, so someday they'll be the same length. Phew!
(you may notice that I hadn't yet added the pockets and buttons in the photos with my daughter)
Although I live on a tropical island, our elevation is really high so winters can be a bit chilly, especially in the evening. I was a little worried it would warm up before I received my merino and finished my cardigan, but luckily I’ve had plenty of opportunity to wear it! I love my Phinney Ridge Cardi* – it is exactly what I was hoping it would be. And it is sure to be the perfect travel layer for my trip to the states at the end of March.
Fun fact, after I’d already decided to use the Phinney Ridge Cardi* pattern, I saw that Kimberly would be at Craftcation this year. I got in contact with her and now we’re planning on rooming together. Gotta love this community - SEW much fun!
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