Striped Jenna Cardi

I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot of praise in the sewing community for the idea of “slow sewing”—of pulling back on the rush to make all the things and instead investing more time in the process of each project and finding joy in more time-intensive finishing techniques with the hope of creating more thoughtful, longer lasting finished garments. But like a lot of things that get a bit romanticized (minimalism, tiny houses, eating locally, etc.), there just isn’t quite as much shine to the idea when you’re forced into it by circumstance rather than consciously choosing it. Or, at least, that’s how I’ve been feeling as someone who is doing a lot of “slow sewing” just because that is all I am capable of accomplishing right now.

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Take this cardigan, for instance. I cut the pattern out in March 2017. I put it aside because I was pregnant and simultaneously wanted to work on some maternity projects and felt too overwhelmed to deal with stripe matching. I had the baby in August, and I managed to put some fusible knit stay tape on the shoulders around Christmas that year. I think I serged the shoulder seams over Spring Break in 2018. And then once my classes had wrapped up in May and I had a few days where I was able to send Jude to daycare while I stayed at home doing whatever I pleased/trying to recover a bit from the most exhausting period in my life, I was able to sew up the rest of the cardigan.

Obviously, this is not what people have in mind when they talk about slow sewing. And I actually do completely understand wanting to get outside of the feeling that we’re supposed to be constantly producing more. I’m just a tiny bit salty right now because sometimes trying to get something sewn up feels like slogging through a mud pit while dragging a bunch of bricks behind me.

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It doesn’t really matter though—getting something done is better than nothing. And thankfully getting this project finished and off my sewing table set off a steadier (although still slow) stream of sewing activity.

This is the Jenna Cardi from Muse Patterns, made using the expansion pack that includes a v-neck. I’ve made this pattern once before (when I said that sewing a cardigan felt like cheating to me as a knitter since it’s such a fast process—Ha!), and I made zero changes to the pattern from the last time I made it. That turned out to be a little bit of an issue, since I experienced the same problems I encountered the last time I sewed it, especially with the ease in the sleeves. I did a basted fit on the sides after attaching the sleeves and ended up taking about 2” of width out of the sleeve and sleeve cuff. Based on my experience with this project last time, I also used one less button than called for in the pattern, which I think works better.

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Since I cut this out pre-baby, it is made to my pre-baby measurements, which I can’t actually remember but are about a size smaller than I currently wear. The result is totally wearable—I don’t think it looks like it’s too small or like the buttons are about to bust open. It just means that it has a tendency to ride up a bit at the front if I wear it closed. That’s not a huge deal since I almost always wear cardigans open anyway. The fabric is a cotton-spandex blend that I bought from Fabric.com. It was listed as a sweater knit but it’s actually a really nice and soft French terry.

The big surprise with this project was finding that I don’t actually have much in my closet to layer underneath this cardigan. I’ve mostly been wearing it with a black t-shirt underneath. I should spend some time playing around with some of the shirts I have to see if there is an unexpected combo that might work and allow me to get a bit more mileage out of this combo. Maybe I’ll get around to that next May. Lol.

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Muse Jenna V-Neck Cardigan

I like sewing with sweater knits but, as a knitter, they also make me feel like I’m cheating. So I think of this, affectionately, as my cheater cardigan–made over the course of two days rather than the two (or more) months it would take using yarn and needles.

Muse Jenna Cardi

This is the Muse Patterns Jenna Cardigan. I made the hip-length version with 3/4 sleeves and used the Jenna Expansion pack to get a v-neck, which is my preferred cardigan neckline. I’ve been planning to make this cardigan for a long time, and for some reason, I built this pattern up in my head as being a bit challenging. But, in reality, it’s very easy to put together and really only takes a bit more time than a basic t-shirt.

Muse Jenna V-Neck

I knew I would need the size 40 for the shoulder, but I didn’t want to have to do an FBA to get enough room across the bust so I went with the cheater FBA (appropriate for my cheater cardigan) and blended out to the size 42 at the armscye. I ended up significantly slimming the sleeves and the sleeve cuffs–I took 2″ out of the sleeve cuffs and an inch from either side of the sleeve opening, tapering to nothing at the top of the sleeve seam. But other than initially floppy sleeves, I’m really happy with the fit on this pattern. I think the only adjustments I’d make to the pattern the next time around would be removing some of the sleeve cap ease and lowering the point of the v-neck just a bit.

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The fabric I used is a really soft cotton-Spandex slub sweater knit that I bought last year from Fabric.com. The little bit of Spandex means that it has good recovery, which means that this shouldn’t bag out with wear. It’s pretty lightweight and similar to my two most-worn cardigans, which I wear year round on all but the coldest of Ohio winter days. My other cardigans are black and gray, so I’m glad to have an option that is an actual color. I sew with so many neutral fabrics that this is the first time I’ve ever used something other than black or gray serger thread.

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I used this project as a reason to finally figure out how to sew buttons on using my machine. It worked well (and was not at all difficult to figure out) so I’ve now succeeded in making my most-hated finishing task that much faster and easier. So this project is a win all around!

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