Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Shawl collar cardie

There's some pieces of clothing that I find myself reaching for again and again because they are comfortable, flattering or just work with lots of outfits. Obviously when it's something I've made, I can duplicate it easily, but I have several RTW things that I want to try and copy.

This cardie is the first iteration copy of a black H&M linen cardie that is seriously versatile and fits pretty much perfectly. Although it's now getting a little old (I've had to mend a couple of holes recently), it still gets worn constantly, so I didn't want to take it apart. Instead, I traced it onto paper (a technique I definitely need to practice and improve!), which turned out to be surprisingly difficult with this top. I think this was partly due to the fabric having been cut a little off grain, and having distorted over time. It may have also been really badly cut to begin with - I was struggling to get the two halves to match when it was folded in half, and discovered it was far from symmetrical - the hem to shoulder seam height differed by around 2.5cm, and the centre of the shawl collar is completely off from the centre of the back neckline... It was also super hard to get things to lie flat with the dropped shoulder seam.

So, the tracing I got was a bit wonky to say the least. I did a bit of measuring and corrected some things, trued it up and cut into some fabric. This was always meant to be a trial, but I actually quite like how it turned out! There's a few minor tweaks that need to be made to the shape of the armscyes, but other than that it turned out pretty great (despite some substandard construction in places - and a lot of creases that could do with a pressing). I have some bright blue and green linen knits that I bought with the intention of making these cardies, so once I have some suitable thread I will cut those out. I'm hoping that the extra stretchiness of this yellow knit isn't disguising any issues, but it's looking hopeful (although I'll add a little bit to the width of the arms so these don't get too tight in the less stretchy linen).

The fabric is a light-ish weight jersey, not sure of the fabric content but I think it's a rayon blend, with a bit of lycra and poly. I stabilised the shoulder seams with fusible bias tape, and all the seams were sewn with the serger - I used yellow thread in the left needle and grey for the rest, and rather like the effect (grey and mustardy yellow is one of my favourite colour combinations). The shoulder seams and the shawl collar seam were topstitched (the back neckline was topstitched twice to help stop it stretching out) - I used the walking foot on my regular machine here.

I also got out my coverstitch machine for the first time to do the hem and the sleeve hems! I could do with getting some wooly thread for the looper in this machine so that it's softer against the skin (and that would also be useful in my serger and for rolled hems), but other than that it wasn't too hard to use. I obviously still need a lot of practice (it's a leeeetle bit wonky), but I think we will be friends... Oh, Melissa gave me a tip on ending the stitching and pulling the threads through to the back easily (the way the manual tells you to do this is bizarre), but rather than repeating everything here, Debbie Cook has a great post on this with lots of pictures.