Sunday, 18 January 2015

Completed: Muse Jenna Cardi

When I first saw the Jenna Cardi pattern from a new(ish) indie pattern company, Muse, I was very intrigued! I wear cardigans all the time, so they are definitely a gap in my homemade wardrobe. Most of mine are pretty nice wool cardigans that I’ve found at thrift stores, but I still like the idea of making my own. Knitting cardigans is another story completely… they’re fun, but they sure are a lot of work! (Spoiler alert: I actually just finished knitting my first cardigan! It still needs buttons, and then once I find a way to take some pictures, it will be up on the blog!)


Anyways, I really wanted to try out this pattern, and I figured that this lightweight acrylic sweater knit that I bought in Montreal would be a good fabric to try it with. (I’m not sure exactly what to call the fabric – it’s not really what I think of as a sweater knit but it’s definitely not a jersey, so I’m sticking with “lightweight sweater knit”). I usually stay away from synthetics whenever I can, but I loved the print on this one, and it was second piece of my $5 fabric bundle from the by-the-pound bin at Stretch-Tex. It also went really well with the fabric I used for this dress, so it made a lot of sense to make a cropped cardigan that I could wear with it!


I decided to go for variation B with the shoulder yoke detail, even though it wouldn’t be super visible with the print. This was intended as a wearable muslin, and I knew I would want the yoke if I made it in a solid colour, so I wanted to try it out. I made it waist length, and I originally cut out the full length sleeves (although as you can see, they became ¾” sleeves when I decided that the print was too overwhelming for long sleeves).


After taping together the PDF pattern (which went quite quickly, since it’s designed so that you only have to print out the pieces specific to the view you’re making), I sized it down one size. The second and third patterns from Muse are available in my size, but this one wasn’t! Sizing it down was really straightforward though, so I’m not complaining.


Muse patterns are designed for a height of 5’ 10” (!), so being only 5’ 2”, I figured I would need to shorten this quite a bit! I held up the pattern pieces and compared them with a cropped cardigan I already own, and decided to shorten it 1½” from the main bodice (I left the band as-is). There were no shorten/lengthen lines on the pattern (something that might be a good addition for future patterns, especially since they’re designed for someone tall), so I just cut it about ¾ of the way down the bodice, overlapped it, and smoothed out the edge.


This went together pretty quickly and easily until reaching the button band. I sewed all the seams on my serger, and lightened the pressure of the presser foot on my regular machine for the topstitching. When I got to the button band, I realized that I forgot to shorten that piece to make the shortened bodice pieces. This would have been an easy fix, although instead of doing the logical thing and also shortening it by 1 ½”, I just held it up to the edge and cut it where I thought it need to be cut, without taking into consideration that it doesn't stretch after interfacing it, whereas the rest of the cardigan does. My button band ended up just a little too short, so I had to take in the seam that attaches the bottom band to the bodice a little, and now it’s just a bit too short in the front and I find myself tugging it down. In retrospect, I probably should have just re-cut the button bands since I had enough fabric left over.

That wasn’t the worst part about the button band… while topstitching it, my machine had a bit of a temper tantrum and I ended up unpicking quite a bit. Let me tell you, unpicking black topstitching on a black sweater knit is NOT easy! This was probably the longest step in the whole construction because of it.

I used my Singer buttonhole attachment for buttonholes, which worked quite well… until the last one. And of course, I always start buttonholes at the bottom, thinking that they’ll get better as I go along. So, the one it messed up was the very top one! You need to go over the buttonhole twice with it, and the second time, it was completely crooked! I think the bulk where the binding and the button band seam overlap might have caused it to shift while it was doing the buttonhole. I was going to unpick it and redo it, but then I remembered what a nightmare unpicking the topstitching was. In the end, I just used a lot of fray check and used some hand stitches to fix it up, and I think it’ll stay in.


The buttons were vintage from my Grandma’s stash, and I really like them! They’re maybe a little flashier than my usual tastes, but I think they suit the fabric. You can't really see them that well in any of these photos, but they're black, shiny, and shaped a little like gemstones.


Buttonhole issues aside, I’m quite happy with this cardigan! There are a few things I would change in terms of the fit, but it’s very wearable and very cute. I think I shortened it a bit too much, and for my next version (which I’ve already just about finished), I only shortened it ½”, which I think is better. This one looks good with a dress but is a little too short to wear with a skirt or high-waisted jeans. The shoulder seams where also a little too wide in this version, so I took them in a touch. If I make it again with ¾ sleeves, I’ll lengthen them just a little. I’m not sure how they compare to the ¾ length pattern piece, but I just chopped off the long sleeves where I thought it would look good. I like how the length looks, but the seam hits right at the crook of my elbow which isn’t the most comfortable. 

I would also probably make the cuffs a bit snugger. If you look closely, they are actually slightly different sizes, because I when I originally cut it out, I thought I was making it with full sleeves, so I cut the cuff for that variation. But I made the mistake of only cutting out one! By the time I realized this and had to cut the second one, I had already shortened the sleeve, so I cut a cuff for the 3/4 length sleeve without thinking, and didn't realize it until after sewing it on, so that one's a little bigger. I actually prefer the full length sleeve though, and might take it in a little further for a snugger ift.



Overall, I’m seriously impressed with Muse Patterns! As I said, the PDF was easy to put together, and the instructions were very well-written. I love that the designs have little vintage details, but are still very wearable, and I LOVE that they’re designed for knits. I’ve already bought and made the Nathalie top as well, and I’m really happy with that one too. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Cardigan: Me-made (Muse Jenna Cardi)

Dress: Me-made (Colette Moneta Dress)
Tights: Hue
Boots: Steve Madden

20 comments:

  1. Your wearable muslin has turned out so well! I love how you teamed it up with a dress underneath. How lovely to use your grandmother's buttons, too :)

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  2. That's adorable, and job well done! I feel your pain about unpicking stitches like that. My sister recently sent my our grandmother's button box, with buttons from the 40s and 50s! I'm glad you reminded me of it, so I can use a few on my next make.

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    1. Thank you! Vintage buttons are the best. These ones aren't anything too spectacular because I needed 6 that matched, but I have some really great lone vintage buttons!

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  3. Love it with the dress. It looks a really versatile pattern and I think you were right about the sleeve length.

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    1. Thanks! It's definitely a versatile pattern - I've already made a second and I'm planning more!

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  4. Your cardigan is lovely, Shannon! I have been considering purchasing the Jenna Cardi pattern for a bit now. I just might have to buy it now. If you can make it then it shouldn't be too hard for me to attempt. And the fact that I received a serger for Christmas has effectively removed all excuses. . .
    It is also really good to hear from you again! I missed your posts over the summer/fall last year. I'm glad you are back!

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    1. Thank you! I would highly recommend the pattern, especially if you have a serger! There's a fair bit of topstitching, but using a serger for the seams makes it come together quite quickly. And thanks - it's good to be back!

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  5. That came out great! Nice pattern, LOVE the fabric print (even if it's synthetic... its fabulous!), and it looks great with that outfit! I bet you'll get a lot of wear out of this!

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    1. Thanks! I've already worn it tons!

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  6. Lovely cardigan! It looks wonderful with your dress too. It's so frustrating to unpick stitches sometimes. I once had to unpick 12 buttonholes because they were all crooked.
    I will have to look into Muse Patterns. I'm always looking for cardigan patterns because that is something I need in my handmade wardrobe.

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    1. Thank you! Wow, unpicking 12 buttonholes would be brutal. I couldn't even force myself to unpick one!
      From the two patterns that I've made by Muse Patterns, I would definitely recommend them, especially since cardigan patterns seem to be pretty rare!

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  7. Really lovely result there- and goes so well with the dress! well done again

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  8. great fabric - does go so well with that dress ;o)

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  9. That turned out really pretty! I love it with the dress. Ouch, crooked buttonholes are awful. I've definitely had my share of those! And I haven't even made many items with buttonholes!

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    1. Thanks! The crooked buttonhole wasn't great, but I'm still really happy with it.

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