Life certainly has no shortage of drama right now… I’m back at work, COVID cases are on the rise, life with toddling twins is the definition of insanity… but today I want to talk about adding some drama back to my sadly-shrunken wardrobe.
I bought several Style Sew Me patterns back in the summer, despite having no good way to print PDF patterns since my home printer (which is almost as old as Syo) has bitten the dust. But the absolute standout was, of course, the Madison Cardigan. And when I recently learnt that the print shop on my local campus does A0 sheets for $1.50 (1.75 for colour)… well, the Madison was at the top of the pile to get printed.
I don’t have a lot of sweater knits, and of those I do have, I don’t typically have the three or so yards the Madison calls for. I was actually thinking about trying it out in a drapey woven, when a dig through a bin yielded a sizable chunk of black wool jersey I had forgotten about (or at least forgotten how much there was).
It took a bit of deep breathing to commit a precious piece like this to an untried pattern, but I knew that the style was awesome and a comparison with my beloved Blackwood Cardigan pattern convinced me that the sizing was reasonable. And I had JUST enough fabric, or not quite enough but by cutting the front slightly off grain (it was too wide for my folded fabric anyway) I got it to fit. I was hoping, considering the whole thing is expanded and drapey, that the grain wouldn’t matter much, and it doesn’t seem to at least so far.
I did my usual standby alterations: square shoulder, raise the underarm, small swayback adjustment (I usually would skip this in a knit but the back princess seams are there so why not?) and of course adding about 4” to the sleeve length. I cut a M, grading to an L for the hips, which is technically correct but doesn’t actually matter much because this is a floaty, open design. I also cut the length for the largest size, because who doesn’t like a bit more length and drama, but the nesting isn’t really designed for this so there was some futzing and re-cutting of the curved edge.
The Madison has a two piece sleeve, which is probably good in a more structured fabric, not really necessary in most knits. I was, however, a good girl and slashed and spread my extra length in in two different places. (Spoiler alert: I have actually outdone myself, I think I only needed about three extra inches in length. The sleeves are very long, and unlike the Blackwood Cardigan sleeves they don’t scrunch up nicely). They aren’t terribly full but I did end up taking them in about 1/2” along one of the seam lines for a closer fit. Again, in a more structured fabric I might want that width.
The pattern has you staystitch the back neckline and hem all around the neckline and the drape. I have opted (thus far) to leave the edges raw for maximum drape, but I did want to make sure the back neck was nice and stable. So I fused a narrow strip of knit interfacing along the back neck, stay stitched on top of that, and finally bound the edge. I also wanted to make sure the shoulders didn’t stretch—they are just a little wider than the Blackwood and I’m not really into the dropped shoulder look, so I stitched them with a straight stitch and then added some clear elastic with the serging, and top stitched after. So I’m pretty happy with how that turned out; I might shave a smidge off in the future. I used the serger for the rest of the construction and I may regret that as I think the tensions could use a bit of tweaking…
The one thing the Madison doesn’t have us pockets. This is understandable as they tend to interfere with the drape and flow of a style like this, but I’m also pretty attached to pockets in my sweaters these days. After some cogitation I decided to go with patch pockets (modified from the Blackwood, because when it works it works), but locate them over the side seam. This is similar to what I did on my York Pinafore hack, and I like it—not ideal for putting your hands in, perhaps, but I need somewhere for phone/keys/masks, especially when I’m at work. They’re not overly pretty, but in practice they’re almost invisible, and will increase the practicality of this sweater immensely.
In conclusion? Fun and happy. Definitely considering a lightweight knit version, and wishing desperately I had three mètres of French terry to make a yummy baby-proof version…