Every girl or woman is guilty of wearing her husband’s/boyfriend’s fleece sweater at least once. We all know it, they’re comfy, they’re warm, they’re even a bit comforting. However, what they are not is flattering or attractive.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a fleece that’s just as warm, just as comfy but flattering at the same time…
I found the perfect fleece cardigan! (This is a word heavy post so for pictures, scroll down)
I finally gave in and ordered a bunch of Style Arc patterns. Not just one, I ordered 11! It was totally justified because shipping rates are insane so it was better to bulk order. (I’m trying hard not to think about the fact that they lowered their rates two days after my order)
Anyway, I ordered only post maternity patterns. Knit dresses, button up tops etc. One of the patterns I ordered was the Nina Cardigan. I just wanted a real cardigan pattern so I could use one of my gazillion sweater knits. I loved the shape and the fact that I would be able to wear it before giving birth.
I’m very lucky that the only thing that got bigger while being pregnant is my belly so I could just order my regular size. For those of you who don’t know, Style Arc works with single size patterns. It scared me at first, but then I thought “what the hell, just order it already”.
The packaging: +/-
The pattern comes in a clear plastic envelop, I didn’t care for it because it had creased the papers. It is ‘re-sealable’ though, so that’s a plus. They insert a swatch of recommended fabric which I find a great help especially since English and Dutch names for fabric are so different.
The instructions: +/-
I wouldn’t advice Style Arc to an absolute beginner as the instructions are quite limited, but since this is such an easy piece, it could work. There are however some helpful diagrams to clarify the more difficult parts in construction so even if I’m not that experienced yet (I would call myself intermediate) I’m confident I could tackle their patterns.
The pattern: ++
The pattern is just one very long piece of paper. The weight is somewhere between tissue paper and regular printer paper and what’s more, is that it is neatly folded so it’s super easy to fold back up. That is a very definite win in my book. Since it’s a single size pattern you could opt to just cut all the pieces since they aren’t printed on top of each other but I decided to trace anyway since I’m afraid I might lose pattern pieces in my mess of a house (construction going on and all) The markings and notches are very clear on the pattern and it even included some extra instructions. Since this was such an easy pattern I didn’t transfer the notches. (and guess what: I messed up)
This particular pattern only comes with a 6mm seam allowance, which is fine by me because I sew all my knits on a serger and this way I didn’t have to trim them down. It could be a bit tricky to do this on a regular sewing machine though. I, for one, am not going to try.
The construction: ++
I’ve never come across a pattern that was this well drafted. Every seam aligned perfectly. Seriously, I almost never pin knits and this didn’t need it either. I just pinned the places where seams had to match (which is where I messed up). This was probably the fastest make ever (even with the messing up part) and it’s due to the fact that it’s such a great pattern. It took me about two hours (including tracing and cutting) to get this done, so next time it’ll be even faster. And yes, there will be a next time.
The alterations: ++
I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern, the size was perfect and the fit as well.
I would give this pattern an 8/10. But the 2 points lost are due to the Style Arc packaging and instruction style, so have in fact nothing to do with the pattern or make itself.
The actual cardigan:
As I said before, I wanted to try this in a fleece. I have been wearing my hubby’s fleece sweaters but it’s cold and he needs them as well. What’s more is that those sweaters date back to the days he was 15kgs heavier, so they are even on the large side for him. At first I didn’t mind all the room for my expanding belly, but with each kg I gained I felt less and less attractive and the oversized sweater wasn’t helping.
I’ve had this fleece in my stash for a while. I initially bought it to make a hoodie for a Craftsy class but when it arrived it turned out the be regular fleece and not sweatshirt fleece, so it was banned to the corner of my sewing room. Then I wanted to use it as interlining for my maternity coat, but that took too long so I bought a coat and still hadn’t used the fleece. I came across this pattern and it felt like a match made in heaven.
It was very easy to cut and it didn’t fray or shed all over the place. I like the green colour and it goes with a lot of my stuff. I knew it wasn’t as stretchy as the recommended fabric but I wanted to give it a try anyway. I cut this using my rotary cutter and I must say that this is probably for the best as to not mess up the 6mm SA.
Every seam went smoothly through the serger until I arrived at the neckband. I had glanced at the instructions so I knew what to do. I decided to pin the neckband to the rest of the cardigan as the keep the center back seam aligned. But somehow the end of the neckband didn’t match the end of the bottom pieces. Whatever I did, it wouldn’t fit. I thought it might have to do with lack of stretch so I tried to stretch it as far as I could and pin along the way. This is were the drunken monkey messed up my mind even more. I pinned the neckband and couldn’t help thinking that it was weird that on side the neckband was too short and on the other side it was too long. I could’t figure out why since these were all identical pieces. I stretched my fabric as well as I could to get it even. When it was finished and I opened everything up, I realised my very very very stupid mistake (I blame the backache, the lack of sewing these last few weeks and the kicking baby inside of me). Can you spot the mistake in the top picture?
Yep, that’s right. Instead of matching the center back seam on the neckband with the center back seam on the bodice, I match the center back seam on the neckband to the freaking shoulder seam! I still don’t know how that happened. I didn’t bother with unpicking (unpicking serger seams are HELL) but just cut the seam off and sewed it on again and suddenly it fit perfectly… Go figure.
In the end I just finished everything off with a rolled hem (or my attempt at one at least) to keep things nice and tidy. It wasn’t really necessary but this way all the seams were locked in place.
I absolutely love how this turned out. It’s the perfect size, it has slight shaping in the back and it drapes nicely. I initially meant to only wear this at home but it looked so good I just wore it to work today. It’s warm but not too warm and it doesn’t get all sweaty and clingy like some fleece sweater can. It’s roomy enough so I can close it over my expanding belly, but it’s not meant as a maternity pattern so I’ll get a lot of wear out of it afterwards as well. I can use a belt if I want to close it or I can just let it hang open. Because of the shaping in the back, it doesn’t look like a potato sack and actually gives you a waist 🙂
My famous last words for this cardigan: If you ever decide to buy just one pattern for a cardigan, get this one. Seriously, you won’t need any others. This one fits ever need you’ll ever have 🙂