New Cardigan: McCalls 6844

If I wasn’t already sold on garment sewing, I would be after this project. I’m still kind of shocked that I managed to make this myself.

This is a my February project for the Make a Garment a Month challenge. I actually managed to finish sewing this on the evening of the 28th, but it’s clearly taken me awhile to get around to taking pictures. I’m blaming a particularly difficult grading marathon.

The pattern I used is McCalls 6844 (view A), which is a pattern that’s been made about a million times at this point. And I totally get why—it’s a really excellent pattern with some great design details. I appreciate that it’s an open-front cardigan that is not a waterfall style, and I also like this version’s slight, but not overly-obnoxious, high-low hem. It’s really only a matter of time before I make this pattern again. I’m pretty sure my life demands a version in black and, possibly, a more casual striped version.

One of the great things about this pattern for me (given that this is only the second garment I’ve made for myself) is that the fit is forgiving enough that I didn’t really have to make any fit adjustments. I took 3/8” out of the shoulder but otherwise cut a straight size XL. The next time around, I might take a full 1/2” from the shoulder and I’ll shorten the sleeves by about 1/2”. If I were using a less stretchy fabric (this sweater knit had at least 50% stretch), I would probably also add some width to the sleeves.

After reading reviews of the pattern, I decided to use a different construction order than outlined in the pattern instructions, and I think that made it even easier to sew. I started by sewing the collar pieces together per the pattern instructions. Then I sewed the shoulder seams (adding some fusible stay tape to stabilize the seams), and then sewed the sleeves in flat. After that, I hemmed the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater before stitching up the sides of the body and the sleeves. Finally, I attached the collar to the sweater and then topstitched to finish. I used a stretch stitch for the hems. It looks clean and I’m relatively pleased with how it turned out, but I think my next sewing-with-knits challenge is to master the twin needle.

I used a very stretchy dark gray Hacci sweater knit from Girl Charlee. I was a little worried about working with a sweater knit, but it was fine. It was a bit of a pain to cut, partly because it had so much stretch and partly because it was a little sticky and was reluctant to being smoothed out nicely for me to lay the pattern pieces down. But after I got past the cutting, things got a lot easier. It was very easy to sew, pressed really nicely, and resulted in a cardigan that is very comfortable to wear.

(Somehow, while taking these pictures, I managed to strike a perfectly dramatic fashion blogger pose. Although you’ll note the absence of a coordinating handbag so . . . Fail.)

After wearing this out and about, I realized that people have a tendency to dive in and touch your clothes (which is basically touching you, the wearer) when they find out that you’ve made something. I’ve had this happen over and over for years. Once, when I told a friend I had knit the sweater I was wearing, she jumped out of her seat and stuck her hand down the front of my sweater to feel the back of the cabling pattern. I think it’s funny and innocent, probably because I’ve only experienced this reaction from women I know and because there’s always a funny moment when the person realizes they’re doing something really weird. Have you experienced this before? What do you think is the behind the fascination with touching handmade items?



17 thoughts on “New Cardigan: McCalls 6844

  1. Lovely cardigan! I wear cardigans on an almost daily basis, so I’ll have to give this one a go.

    I totally get what you mean about handmade garment touching. I think so many of us are disconnected from the materials we consume, including clothing. A lot of people don’t know the effort that goes into clothing, so making it feels like a very foreign concept. I think it’s more or less a fascination with a skill that was nearly lost to a few generations.

    • Thank you! I think you’re right absolutely right about the level of disconnection a lot of people feel. People don’t give much thought to the way other people’s RTW clothing feels or is constructed but when they find out something is made all of those questions–Is it soft? How’s it put together? What is it made of? How long does it take to make something like this?–become very immediate.

  2. This cardigan is so great! I would totally be one of those people who touched your clothes – it would just happen. Especially because this is grey, which is the most superior of all the non-colors. Every time I do laundry I am embarrassed by how many grey sweaters I own and love. I say this every time, but I am so impressed with your sewing. It honestly seems like something I could never do. I’m excited to see your next garment!

    • Aw, thank you! This is totally something you could do if you wanted to–once you start to get some of the lingo down, it’s not that hard. I’ve long been partial to black, but my allegiance is definitely shifting to grey. I actually bought another gray fabric at the same time that I bought the fabric for this sweater.

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  4. this is beautiful, you did a great job. i’m making this one myself and wondering about the collar. did you use interfacing or no? i love how flat yours is laying.

    • Thank you! I didn’t use interfacing. The collar doesn’t seem to be suffering from the lack of interfacing–it hasn’t stretched out at all and it still lays flat. Good luck with yours!

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