Saturday, August 6, 2016
SBCC Limoncello Cardigan and Making My Own Rules
Hello Sewing Peeps! Hope you're having a great weekend. As I type this post, I can hear the music from Outside Lands outside my window, and I'm grateful that I'm not out there right now freezing my butt off in the wet fog. Whoever decided to have an outdoor concert in Golden Gate Park in August must not actually live here.
So anyway, I'm super excited to share this latest project with you because it reminds me how far I've come with my sewing. Not because it was a terribly difficult project or because I acquired new skills, but because it represents how far I've come in terms of problem solving. To start, I need to back up a little. Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick (SBCC) was one of the first indie pattern companies I discovered back in 2014 when I first started garment sewing. They were just what I was looking for - not only do they make patterns for petites, but their size range is inclusive to larger sizes. So I excitedly bought this pattern, the Limoncello cardigan, along with a few others - the Mimosa, the Gibson, and of course I downloaded and sewed up the free Tonic Tee many times.
When I tried making this cardigan in 2014, I failed miserably. Partly because I didn't have enough experience working with different fabrics, but also SBCC instructions are sparse and I needed a lot of hand holding. Now I'm actually cool with the sparse instructions in this case because SBCC is consistent in their approach. They set the expectation off the bat by not giving you a pattern layout (You decide the best way to lay out your pattern.) and having very few markings (You decide where you want your buttons to go.). It's actually rather empowering, and it's better than indies that start off with very detailed instructions, and then seem to give up toward the end.
For this pattern, the recommended fabric (and, in my opinion, obvious choice) is knit but the instructions confused me -- especially as a beginner -- because they seemed to lean more towards woven. In the original version, you cut two center front panels for each side, sew them wrong sides together, and turn. This makes for a heavy front that doesn't want to hold its shape. The overall project is designed to give a clean finish, but that means hemming the back part, which is still pretty visible since it's a cardigan. Also, the instructions have you set in the sleeves, which seems unnecessary for a knit project. If you're a rule-follower like me, these things can cause a lot of confusion.
When I picked up this tissue knit remnant from Fabric Outlet, I thought it would make a perfect summer cardi. (What else can you do with those thin knits? Pajamas, I guess.) I remembered that I had this pattern and also remembered the problems I had, so I thought about how I could do things differently. To begin with, I eliminated doubling up the front center piece. This works as long as your fabric looks similar on both sides -- or the other side looks pleasing to you. I ignored the instructions to set the sleeves and just sewed them in flat. They fit together very easily. Finally, to eliminate the back hem I sewed a rolled hem around the entire cardi with my serger. (Remove the stitch finger, set serger tension settings to 4, 5, and 7, and set dials to R.) Fast and easy and well suited to the light fabric. Overall, an easy and satisfying project.
I'm happy that SBCC is back on my radar. I still love the proportions of the Gibson blouse and would love to try to make it again now that I have a few button up blouses under my belt.
Well, that's all for tonight. Thanks for reading and have a great week!