The ongoing search for a cardigan/wrap

This is the RTW cardigan I need to clone. It came from a low end chain store, it’s basic, it’s boring in colour, and now it’s also pilled and a little stained. It’s also just the right length and shape for me.

I tried to replicate it back in 2010, unsuccessfully.

I can’t bear to throw it out because I have nothing to replace it with.

So I am trying to remedy that.

First attempt:

Hmm, not smiling yet, despite that happy and ridiculous psychedelic zebra skirt.

Pattern: Style Arc Nina

Size: 6-30, Australian RTW sizing. I made a 14 with no adjustments.

Fabric: mid weight ponti knit (67% Viscose 28% Nylon 5% Spandex) from Tessutis

This was the first Style Arc pattern I’ve used. The pattern is drafted beautifully and the instructions are sparse but logical. I was a bit surprised by Style Arc’s fabric estimate: only 140 cm for 148 cm wide fabric, even up to two sixes bigger than my size. I had 146 cm wide fabric and only just squeezed it in to 150 cm. If the pattern pieces were any wider (as they would be for a 16 or 18) there would be no way they could fit. There was certainly no fabric wastage!

Style Arc suggest a rolled hem finish on the front drape. I overlocked and turned under instead (I don’t know if my elderly Elna overlocker can do a rolled hem).

The back is nicely drafted. I didn’t make any alterations, even though I normally make a sway back adjustment. It has a little bit of pooling but that will be easy to fix with the next version.

Verdict: This is a nice almost-tailored jacket with a bit of quirkiness with the front drape and wonderfully comfortable to wear because its ponti. I like it but I’m not sure I will love it the same as I love the gray one..

Second attempt:

Pattern: Simplicity 2603. A Pattern Reviews Best Patterns for 2009.

Size: XXS – XL, I made a M

Fabric: Lightweight merino wool rib knit, lots of cross wise stretch, no lengthwise stretch. This fabric was a gift from a sewing friend and comes from a local manufacturer, Michell, (she ‘knows someone who knows someone’, the manufacturer is wholesale and export only).

Changes I made: I extended the sleeve rather than adding the cuff, and narrowed the sleeve down so that it was close fitting.

Verdict: Still not smiling. This is a lovely cardi wrap, but the front drapes are really too long; below knee length even when knotted!

Final verdict:

Neither of these are the same as the RTW cardigan that I really, really love.

Duuh. I knew that when I selected the patterns, but somehow I hoped they would be as loved even though they were different.

Time to draft a pattern from the gray one I think!

14 thoughts on “The ongoing search for a cardigan/wrap

  1. There is also the McCalls pattern 6844. Very popular cardigan on PatternReview. Both your patterns have excess fabric in the front, too much to match your much lived & loved cardi.

    Good luck!

  2. Oh, I think this is better than the RTW piece. Love how it works with the print skirt. I understand though about a loved garment. Once you get a pattern done, you’ll be able to all you could ever want 🙂

  3. Try McCalls 6844 – the view without the peplum. I made that style (longer length) out of gray sweaterknit and lengthened it about 3″ – it looks very similar to the RTW version you are trying to replicate. I wish I had gone down a size though – I usually wear a 14-16 in the big 4 patterns and the large was way too big. Your other versions are nice though too. Good luck!

  4. Ah, the trouble with knowing exactly what you want! 😉 I think your second wrap looks fantastic – super flattering soft drape. The ponte one seems a bit more jacket-like than wrap.

  5. I second (or third) the recommendation for McCall’s 6844, no-peplum view. It looks a lot like your RTW item and it’s very simple to make, so if it misses the mark, at least you won’t have spent a lot of time on it. If you want something with more drape and fullness, but without a peplum or a waterfall front, there’s also Vogue 8819, view B. I haven’t tried it myself (yet) but have seen several lovely interpretations of it on PatternReview and various blogs. Meanwhile, you have two very attractive and useful new garments, even if they don’t take the place of the old one!

  6. I have made Vogue 8305, but it is very similar to your Simplicity so even though I recommend it, you would still end up with too long fronts. Once you get a pattern out of your RTW, it will be very interesting to compare witht he Simplicity and ArcStyle patterns to see the differences… Hint, hint 🙂

    1. I am onto it.
      I’ve drafted/traced a pattern from my cardigan and have some test fabric washed and drying. I hope I’ll have time next weekend to sew.
      The test fabric is green so it would make a great St Patricks Day cardigan. If I get it made in time. If my pattern gives me a wearable garment. If.. you know how it goes 🙂

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