The Driftless Cardigan: When bad fabric happens to good patterns

Monday, May 02, 2016

Happy (Me Made) May everyone! Here's one I made a bit earlier... the Driftless Cardigan by Grainline Studio. My handmade wardrobe is a bit lacking in outerwear/jackets/cardigans, and the pattern looked pretty straightforward so I thought I'd give it a go. Of course, I decided not to make it easy for myself by completely rebelling against the recommended fabrics...

My completed Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan
But just LOOK at this fabric! I should've been looking for a nice and cosy jersey (the pattern suggests 'medium weight jersey knit fabrics with a minimum of 20% widthwise stretch'), but the temptation was too real on a recent trip to Fabworks. It's pretty synthetic... almost a 'dance' fabric, and definitely not the most suitable for your everyday cardigan, but I just really loved the gold. It's a shame (but also to be expected) that working with it made me want to throw my machine out of the window. The stretch and slip made it really difficult to sew up something that was meant to be so simple!

D R E A M Y  but difficult fabric
I set myself up for frustration, but here are a few things that just about saved this tricky stretch sew:
1. Ball point needle
2. Stretch Stitch
3. Walking foot
4. Hand stitching

First go with my new walking foot - a good investment!
I invested in a walking foot after having a tricky time sewing the Nita Wrap Skirt in faux leather. I was a bit nervous to try it out as you have to unscrew a bit of the foot/arm to fix it in place, and it's pretty intimidating in looks. Although it didn't totally resolve all of my issues, it definitely helped to feed the fabric through with a bit more ease, so I'm glad I had it ready to use.

Side shot with the split hem band
The pattern is wonderful and provides great instructions to make it a very easy sew (thank goodness I wasn't making couture with this fabric)! The design and construction of the cardigan is fun and unusual - there are pockets tucked away where the lower band meets the main cardigan at the front, and I made View B with the split hem that's longer at the back.

A salvaged sew but some slight puckering on the front
The biggest shame is that the stretch and slip in my fabric threw off the fit of the binding that finishes the opening of the cardigan. I hand-finished it as the pattern instructs, but it ended up being a bit over-stretched, so there's some puckering down the front.

Front view
Back view
To be honest, this really should be one of those disastrous-sews-that-never-was, but I've come round to thinking it's so bad that it's good. I put loads of effort into making it work, so I can live with the puckering at the front - I've convinced myself it just looks like the way it's meant to drape. It also gives the cardigan a very slight 'bubble shape', which I quite like.

Finished and worn on #MMMay16 day 2
I wear a lot of black - I'm wearing it with my sleeved Named Clothing Kielo Wrap Dress in these pictures - so it's an easy thing to throw on and jazz up an outfit. Someone from work also told me I looked 'very Ab Fab' in it, which I'm going to choose to take as a compliment...
Next version in gold inspo...(haha)
Thanks Chris for taking my photos (fast becoming my Instagram as well as IRL bf)
I think I owe it to the pattern to make it again in a more suitable fabric, because everyone needs a cosy throw on cardigan don't they? But seriously, I would absolutely recommend both the Driftless Cardigan and the shiny gold fabric to anyone... just maybe not together on the same project!

Does anyone else ever get tempted to stray outside the recommended fabrics? 

Stay in touch!

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  1. Shame about the puckering, but hey, with that much work put into it, it's hard not to love a garment. I stray but never too far usually.

    1. Yeah, all that effort creates a certain sense of attachment! It deserves wearing :)

  2. its gorgeous and you wear it well, and I think you are being over-critical ... I am not saying its perfect (I am only taking your word its not!) but the draping of the fabric conceals a lot of the flaws you point out. I have yet to use a walking foot as I still just use a zig zag stitch to sew and will use lines of lightly ironed on vilene on sew lines if I am being good (and I try and pull off later).... it works a lot of the time. Its a lovely outfit

    1. Thank you Eimear! Maybe I have been a bit too hard on it - we always notice the faults in our handmade garments so much more than anyone else! In fact, I've seen much worse on the high st. The lines of iron on vilene sounds like a really good trick - I'll have to try it out with future tricky fabrics!


  3. I think it looks great, and would call the puckering a design feature. I been there though with the wrong fabric/pattern combo. But aren't walking feet brilliant?! I couldn't do with out mine.

    1. Thanks Lynne, I'm definitely going with 'it's a design feature'. Love my walking foot - can't believe it's took me so long to get one! x


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