Two Helen’s Closet Hazelwood Cardigans

I’m late to Helen’s Closet patterns but that will be no news to regular readers – I’m a late adopter of many new indie patterns. The Hazelwood cardigan struck a cord though, so I dove in this winter.

Blackwood Cardigan
Image source: https://helensclosetpatterns.com/product/blackwood-cardigan-pdf-pattern/

I made View A (the long version) in a size 16 B cup.

My first version was in a teal camouflage boucle wool blend knit.

It’s a lovely fabric up close but perhaps not so successful in a garment from a distance. Which might be why it was in the discount fabric bin at Ferriers Fabrics and languished in my stash since being purchased in 2017….

After reading a lot of reviews – and there are a lot of them because this is a very popular pattern – I decided to increase the width of the integrated collar and front band to 34 cm. This made it extend up my neck in a very cozy fashion even when folded back. I may have overdone it.

I interfaced the pockets and the pocket band because I knew I’d be putting my mobile phone in them – they are the perfect size.

I also interfaced the back of the neck. I drafted a facing based on Closet Core’s Sienna jacket neck facing and used this to cut out the interfacing. After I fused this to the neck I covered it by top stiching on another facing cut from a remnant of rayon.

I also added a grosgrain ribbon to the shoulder seams to add a bit more stability.

Despite teal camoflage in a boucle not being a great idea, the fabric is lovely to wear. Perfect for working from home. And I love the roomy secure pockets that are just right for my phone. Its been worn a lot more than I expected.

My second version was in a merino knit, also from my stash.

I reduced the collar/front band to 18 cm wide – still more than drafted but about half the width of the first version. This one is still nice and cozy around my neck but doesn’t need to be folded back.

This fabric has more stretch than the boucle knit so the pockets are slouchier and the deliberately slightly too long sleeves more obvious

I reinforced the shoulder seams with ribbon, interfaced the pockets and back neck and used a colourful Liberty lawn remnant topstitched over the interfacing on the back neck. But you’ll just have to take my word for it because I don’t seem to have a photo.

This is a great pattern. Next time I make it I’ll cut out the collar/front band as drafted rather than add extra width.

I think I might have almost nailed Nana Chic with this outfit. I’m just missing some knitting needles or a crochet hook sticking out of my tote bag and reading glasses on a bejewelled chain.

Basics – a Burda pencil skirt and a Forget-me-not Patterns Vera top

This is one of those boring posts about basics. Great for blogs that are mainly personal journals, like mine. Not so good for blogs that other people actually read.

And to make it worse, this post comes with not so great photos of creased garments and tired faces because the photography was done at the end of a day of sitting at a desk. At least I am wearing yellow snakeskin ankle boots. That’s got to count for something!

Feel free to move on to something more interesting and with better images.

Basic 1: The Camel Pencil Skirt.

Camel is supposed to be one of those excellent basics. So are pencil skirts. I’m a fan of pencil skirts. And I’m very taken with pencil skirts that have a teeny bit more interest than normal. Like this one with its horizontal darts.

I used this pattern for one of my gorgeous Linton tweeds but it was not a resounding success. The tweed version may have stretched out, or been traced too big. Whatever.

So this pattern needed a second chance. And what better fabric to use than one I picked up at a fabric swap! This polyester twill fabric was from my dear friend M of Nonsuch, who had already offered her large remnant to me. I didn’t recognize its potential until I saw it again at the fabric swap.

This skirt turned out so much better than the Linton Tweed version.

Changes I made were minimal – I took 5 cm off the length (still plenty long enough for that retro look) and shaved about 1 cm of the side seams above the hips (making this a sort of size 47 waist, I should have just gone to a straight size 46 because its still loose).

Its lined with a lovely bemsilk from the stash, and I love the way my aqua label really pops.

Basic #2: a Black Knit Top.

This is Vera, a free PDF pattern from Forget-me-not Patterns

This pattern is also elevated above basic with its sleeves and subtle high low hem

The V-neck is nicely proportioned, and the instructions for achieving a nice finish for the V neck are terrific.

My first version was a size 42 in a red fine merino wool, and it was a bit too big. I wanted to make the next version in a black merino/nylon blend. The black knit is much firmer than the red 100% merino knit. I also knew that I’d made both into a Papercut rise turtleneck in the same size and the black one was almost too tight whereas the red one was just right.

So, with all that in mind, I went ahead with the firmer black knit cut out in the same size as the red one, but sewed it up with a seam allowance of 10 mm rather than 6 mm.

It worked well! either the fabric difference or the larger seam allowance, or both..

The sleeves really are quite lovely – here’s the red one at work (I made this first version wearable by shortening the shoulder seam by 8 mm and reattaching the sleeves and reducing width through the body of the top about the same).

Lesson (re)learned- stretch and drape and weight matters with knits!