Anyone who’s been following my Me Made May posts either here or on Instagram will have seen this cardie plenty of times already, but here’s the full lowdown on what has become probably the most worn item of me-made clothing this month.
In a Nutshell:
Like the title says, this is my dream cardigan! Do you really need to know any more than that?! Oh, okay. Read on, then, to find out why…
The Drop Pocket Cardigan (3248) by Jalie. It’s an open cardigan that hits just below the hips, with fitted sleeves and some really interesting pockets. I made a size U – my hip measurement was actually slightly wider, but I didn’t think this would matter seeing as it’s an open cardie (spoiler: it really doesn’t matter!)
The main fabric is a gorgeous black wool jersey from Ditto Fabrics, which is wonderfully soft and a beefy medium weight with decent drape (94% wool, 4% polyamide, 2% elastane). I think this might be the most luxurious jersey I’ve ever bought! The contrast fabric is a much cheaper mystery fibre content (but very clearly synthetic) snow leopard jersey from FabricLand in Bristol.
New skills learnt:
I didn’t learn any new skills for this make, but the construction wasn’t like anything I’d encountered before so that was a learning experience. I’m starting to understand why some sewists love those weird origami-like sewing patterns that don’t make sense until you start putting them together.
I was originally going to make the whole cardigan with the main fabric, but I didn’t pay enough attention when ordering and hadn’t noticed the fabric was only 132cm wide. Oops. Even with my amazing Tetris layout skills I couldn’t quite squeeze all the pieces out of my 1.7m, so I went and cried in the corner. Then I got over it by consoling myself that I now had the perfect excuse to go fabric shopping, and that maybe I’d find some animal print of a suitable weight and drape somewhere–the pattern artwork shows it made up in a mix of animal print and solid, so I’d had that in my head as a potential mix anyway. Unfortunately, I don’t get many opportunities for browsing bricks and mortar fabric shops, but as luck would have it I had to take Daisy to Bristol Dental Hospital the next day–poor thing had to have 6 teeth out. FabricLand is literally five minutes walk away from there, so I nipped down while she was under general anaesthetic. Clearly I’m a terrible mother! I knew I didn’t have much time if I was to make it back for when she woke up, so when I found the snow leopard jersey I was overjoyed! Some other leopard print poly might have fallen into my shopping bag too. I couldn’t help myself. That’s destined for underwear and possibly a bikini. Ooh la la!
Okay, so after the initial fabric drama the rest of the make was really straightforward. I did have a few moments of head scratching as I tried to decipher the instructions (it doesn’t help that Jalie put the illustrations all together in one lump, separate from the instructions, and the numbers on the illustrations are tiny. However, once I’d figured it all out the cardigan was really easy to sew. The trickiest bit was getting the seams to lie flat in that spongy wool jersey. I did try pressing with steam and makeshift “clapper” (just a bit of wood leftover from one of Andy’s DIY projects) but it still didn’t want to lie properly flat at the shoulder area where the neck binding joins. Oh well. I doubt anyone will notice. Too busy admiring my snow leopard pockets, I should imagine 😛
One thing I was particularly impressed by was the way the cardigan is all finished inside. The lining ends up covering some of the seam allowances, and this was probably my first make ever where I didn’t have overlocker thread ends to deal with at the end. Really clever construction on this one!
Time taken: 1hr 32 mins to sew (cutting not included)
Apart from that hiccup with the fabric width, everything about sewing and wearing this cardigan has been a joy. It’s the perfect size and length, and the pockets are amazing! They’re so big you can fit loads in there, but they don’t bulge or do funny things to the bottom of the cardie even when weighted down. That’s probably down to the fact the inner pocket ends a good 3cm above the bottom of the cardie, giving extra support. Andy says the contrast fabric makes it look a bit like I’m wearing a peg bag, but hey, I like peg bags. My first blogged sewing project was a peg bag!
Honestly, this is already one of my most-worn projects, as I’ve been wearing it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Maybe not all day, but it gets chucked on first thing in the morning and in the evenings when it cools down. It’s the absolutely perfect layer in that respect, and it helps me keep track of my phone because of those amazing pockets, so no more running around trying to find it or ringing myself from the landline (please tell me I’m not the only one this scatty!)
The fabric deserves a special mention too as this wool jersey is wonderful! Soft and not remotely itchy, it’s thin enough that cardigan doesn’t feel bulky, but wonderfully snuggly and warm. I’m slightly concerned that the massive difference in fabric quality between the wool and the lining will mean the lining wears out first (it’s already going quite bobbly), but if that happens I’ll just have to take the cardie apart and remake with a different lining. I love it THAT MUCH!
Here’s the pics showing different views:
One thing that you might not notice in the pics but that makes a real difference to the fit is that there is side seam shaping, so that it comes in at the waist and out at the hips. The sleeves are also a really good length for me, and extend to the base of my thumb to keep my wrists warm. This is a seriously well-drafted pattern and it makes me want to go out and buy many more Jalie patterns!
Changes for next time:
I’d like to make this in a solid colour next, as the leopard print lining makes it just a little more tricky to co-ordinate with all my other clothes. Black or navy, probably. I’d also love a deep red version for the winter. I’m a big cardigan wearer, so I can see this cardie being made many, MANY times in my future. And who knows, maybe I’ll make one for Daisy too. Jalie patterns come with kids sizes included, so I could 🙂
Pattern: £11.04 (paper pattern & postage from Habithat)
Okay, clearly it cost much more than that, but my sister gave me a gift voucher for Ditto for my birthday (what a great present!), so I’ve offset that from the fabric I bought there (shared between this and another project I’m sewing up right now). The real cost was £27, broken down as follows:
Main fabric £14.75 per metre. Used 1.6m, so approximately £23.60
Contrast fabric £4.25 per metre. Used 0.8m, so approximately £3.40
Total cost: £18.56 (or £38.04 if you want to be picky!)
That’s a total bargain at the adjusted price. To be honest, even at the full price I think it’s a good deal for a cardigan of this quality that I love this much. You won’t find many wool cardigans at that price point in the shops.
One final silly pic for luck:
What do you reckon? Would you make this cardie? Or have you found another perfect cardigan pattern?