Saturday, February 13, 2016

Finished Object: Jenna Cardigan - V Neck

I'm really happy with how this version of my Jenna Cardigan has turned out. In truth, the "original" round neck version is impractical (unless you choose to wear it closed all the time). Otherwise the round neck falls open un-chicly at the collar, when unbuttoned. I much prefer an open V:

Jenna Cardigan - Modified V Neck Version
The buttons start underneath my full bust and the V lies very nicely (at the perfect length). I also really like how I placed the cable (horizontally) around the sleeve hem band.

I had to cut the button band out of 3 pieces (there are 2 short pieces seamed to the longer band at the height of the hem band seam - midway through the buttons, about 3 inches from the bottom of the hem band). Since there's already a seam attaching the hem band to the bodice, I didn't see it as too much of a deal breaker even though it isn't quite as elegant as a band unbroken by a seam would be. Nonetheless, I'm pleased that I found a totally acceptable fix for what might have been a serious problem.

Optimally, I would have considered that V neck collar and button band are attached in one piece (not a collar and a separate band, as with the round neck version) before I cut everything out, thus limiting the dimensions of my remaining fabric.

I'm surprised by how straight in the waist this garment looks when it's not being worn. It's actually super fitted and (as the pattern pieces prove), quite distinct between waist and hip. And while the band cable placement is off-centre (see below for explanation) the sleeve to back placement of the cable is spot on, on both sides.
The thing that just didn't align was the placement of the cables on the button band. They're off-centre with those on the bodice. I should have cut this band longer (wider around the high hip) so that I'd have had more options for placement. As it is, it was just the right length and, after the fact, there was no fixing the issue. The fabric is in a pretty muted colour though, so I don't think the misplacement is particularly noticeable.

I spent a lot of the sewing process convinced this was going to be too small yet again - because the fabric is SO firm and thick. It's effectively quilted jersey. There's a black piece of (smooth) fabric backing the knit. It's almost like a double knit but the 2 sides are made of different materials. Point is, the fabric sucked up just about every bit of extra ease I built into this latest version of the garment. I'd have done well to sew with smaller SAs (like 0.25" rather than 0.3"). But the fabric is also very strong, so it has the effect of seeming more like a fitted knit blazer rather than a cardigan.

Can you see how the fabric is really textured, almost spongy?
I really like how the placement of the cables sits on the front pieces. It's a perfect mirror image and the button band was cut with a recessed length of the fabric - not with one of the cables (which would have been too wide and too bulky).

I was really worried about the fabric: Would it's thickness be too much for my serger? (Thankfully no.) Would it be too firm to fit at the dimensions I cut? (It's good - if snug in the armscye- and that's before it's had any chance to stretch with wear. This is the kind of fabric that isn't going to stretch much but it also won't have much recovery. Usually I'm very in favour of recovery, but with a thick fabric and a fitted garment, sometimes that initial stretch can get the fit to cohere).

Though I made my alterations on the fly, afterwards I opted to buy the Muse pattern altered pieces in the Jenna Pattern "expansion pack" so that I could see how mine compare. I prefer mine (though the angle's fairly similar). My V neck is a couple of inches lower (more open) which is a more flattering length on my body. The expansion pack also has a collar version (so not my thing) and comes with the relevant bands and front piece for the V-version. It's a good expenditure of 3 bucks if you're new to sewing and you're nervous about how to turn a round neck into a v neck. Really, though, I didn't have to read the instructions or to trace the pattern pieces to construct my revised version of the garment. I just folded down the neckline on my existing round neck version to see how my proposed V would lie. Then I cut a longer button band (but, as we know, not quite long enough!). My error wasn't in the concept, it was in the execution.

At this point I've altered V8323 and Simplicity 1716 (I'm going to make View A but cut to the length of the top shown in View C) and I'm ready to pull out the fabric. I hope I can make these up between now and Tuesday when I go back to work. Better still if they fit! I've invested a lot of time into V8323. It would be a shame if it didn't work out cuz it's unlikely that I'll persist with it after this (unless it's really close). The Simplicity pattern is a longshot. I have made my standard alterations to the paper pieces, but the construction is not one I've done before, so I can't really modify it as effectively as I might otherwise.

That's me so far this weekend. What do you think?


  1. It looks great! This is similar to the fabric I made my white sweater out of back before Xmas, but maybe with less stretch. (And hopefully a better fabric, the white stuff pilled instantly) it's still super great to wear though. I have a couple of little fitted black cardigans that I wear constantly. I definitely need to try my hand at making them---I have several nice little knit pieces stashed for the purpose.

    Love how productive your extended weekend is being! :)

    1. I remember that fabric. When I bought this (online), I had no idea of what I was in for. I don't think I'd have gone for it if I'd known it's thick and spongy but I do think it's of high quality (though only time will tell). Lord knows I paid enough for it from Blackbird.

      When it works, there's nothing more practical than a v-cardigan.

      And I'm being productive! Even on the knitting front. Who knows if I'll finish those 2 tops this weekend though. Mind you, it doesn't really matter, right?

  2. Looks great! Can't wait to see it on!

  3. You should wear's so cute!