The Blackwood Cardigan … The Perfect Layering Piece!
Posted on Monday the 8th May 2017 by Sew Sarah Smith
Any long-term reader of my blog will remember me waxing lyrical about my love for the first garment pattern from Helen's Closet, the Winslow Culottes. Well, she's only gone and done it again with the Blackwood Cardigan; it's such a fantastically indispensable piece of clothing!
The Blackwood is ultimately designed as a layering piece and, to that end, it is fitted across the shoulder and in the arm with the rest of the cardigan falling naturally. It is not designed to close, which makes it extremely easy to fit with the bonus of no fiddly buttonholes to worry about! The sleeves are designed to be extra long, so you can either wear them pooled at the wrist or pulled down to cover your hands. I mean, come on, they're everything! It's such a great transitional piece, something to throw over a cami top or a sleeveless dress or worn under heavier jackets or bodywarmers/vests. It comes in two versions, the longer version, which I've made here, or hip length. There are patch pockets too for the longer version but I decided to omit those; those extra long sleeve cuffs are enough for me!
The pattern is drafted for a height of 5.6” so I duly took two inches out of the length (including the front bands) and also took 0.75” from the sleeve (at the elbow). It is designed for light to medium weight knits with at least 40% widthwise and 20% lengthwise stretch. I chose this gorgeous black and light grey houndstooth Ponte Roma Fabric because I really wanted a knit with good stretch recoverability - it's a viscose blend with 5% Spandex. I've worked with Ponte a few times and the quality has not always been as gorgeous as this. It is fabulous, so smooth to the touch, very soft and has a lovely handle. It washes and wears really well too. I've lived in this cardi since I made it, washing it repeatedly. Such a happy find!
This cardigan stitches up in no time, especially since I omitted the patch pockets. As before, Helen's instructions are clear with lots of helpful tips for sewing with knits. I used a Stretch Sewing Needle and a Stretch Twin Needle for the topstitching. I used a small zigzag and made sure my tension was just right so the seams held firm yet retained all the stretch they needed. You basically sew it up at the shoulder, sew the sleeves in the flat, sew up the sleeves and side seams in one, add the extra long sleeve cuffs, then the hemband and finally the front band. (If you're new to knits and really want to give this a go, there is also a sewalong available online). And can I just take a moment to say how spot on Helen’s pattern drafting is, that front band is just perfect and holds the garment flush to the body at the neckline.
In case I haven't made it obvious yet, I love this pattern and I adore this fabric and together this garment makes me a very happy stitcher indeed!
Thank you Minerva for sending me this lovely fabric! Now, I want to sew up loads more! It would also work really well in a lighter weight Knit Fabric, so I'm checking those out too!
Until next time, happy sewing!