Thanks to the current coronavirus lockdown in the UK I can’t hug my mum right now. This last Sunday was Mother’s Day over here, and I was feeling really sad about the prospect of missing that hug.
Then I realised that the fabric I had earmarked for a wearable toile of the Seamwork Oslo Cardigan would be absolutely my Mum’s style. And what better substitute for a warm hug than a warm, snuggly cardigan? It’s like wearing a hug!
You’ll have to put up with some poorly lit pics of me modelling said cardigan, as obviously there are real difficulties taking pics of my Mum in it. She’s roundabout the same size as me so it looks about the same on her. But it suits her better, I reckon!
So, I don’t generally much enjoy making clothes for other people. Well, I enjoy being at my machine sewing them, but I don’t get that same sense of excitement I get when I know I’m (hopefully) going to really enjoy wearing/using the thing I’m making.
This was different, however. Every moment I spent sewing this cardigan was an act of love, and it helped me get through a difficult few days when the bad news was piling in thick and fast. I started sewing it on the day I found out schools would be closing, and finished the day before Mother’s Day, when social distancing was already a thing. The world was turning upside down, but at least I could turn to my sewing for some much-needed solace.
I hand-hemmed it on Saturday afternoon when the kids (and Andy) were watching Harry Potter, and I was wondering how on earth we were going to get through an indeterminate amount of time stuck in the house together with our sanity intact. Concentrating on those stitches was soothing and meditative, and I figured that so long as I spent some time making every day, I’d manage to get through with my sense of humour intact. Maybe not my sanity too, but hey, that’s overrated anyway.
I should say a little about sewing up this pattern. Well, first up, the fabric. This stuff is crazy! It’s a mostly acrylic sweater knit I bought from Minerva about 18 months ago but it seems to still be in stock here (affiliate link). It feels super cosy, and the applique embroidery is made from strips of the same fabric sewn on in a swirly design reminiscent of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s roses.
Originally I was planning on using the fabric to make a Kinder Cardigan for my sister, as she loves this one I gifted her as it was too loose and boxy for my liking. But then we ended up doing Secret Santa for Christmas and I didn’t draw her name.
I pulled it out again recently and decided that while I loved the colour I wasn’t 100% sold on the applique design. It would be good for trying out the Oslo cardigan for fit before cutting into my more precious fabric.
And then of course I realised that I could try on the cardigan for fit and gift it to my mum, who is a similar size to me, also loves this colour and who would be more of a fan of the textural design than I am. Win-win-win!
Working with this fabric took some careful thought. I trialled a few different seam finishes and ended up settling on overlocking the edges of the fabric first, then sewing with the machine on a narrow zig-zig before pressing them open. Most seams were treated this way, although I did simply overlock the armscye seams and press them towards the sleeve. Attaching the collar was also an overlocker job. As I already mentioned, the hem had to be hand stitched as topstitching would have looked awful over the applique.
Before I even got the point of sewing, though, I removed lots of the applique. It all went on the inside of the collar, the inside of the cuffs, and the area the pockets covered. Also, any stray bits that were close to the seams got removed. Anything to lessen the bulk! Fortunately it was easy to remove by pulling on the bobbin thread on the wrong side and it came off without leaving a trace.
Apart from all that faff this was a really easy pattern to sew up. I slightly complicated matters by adding some self-drafted pockets to the front, but it was still a really simple make. For the pockets I followed the method used for the aforementioned Kinder Cardigan, which sandwiches patch pockets between the side and collar seams. I reinforced the inside top of the pockets using some plum coloured grosgrain ribbon from my scraps box so they won’t stretch out:
BTW, this fabric is seriously stretchy! It has 60% widthways stretch and 20% lengthways. That’s more than any sweater knit I’ve previously encountered. The pattern said to stabilise the shoulder seams using clear elastic but I thought given the stretch, using ribbon might be better. I found a cute pink velvet ribbon in the stash and zig zagged over it along the seamline:
With hindsight I probably should have used something to stabilise the entire back neckline before sewing up as this fabric is sooo stretchy. The finished cardigan is definitely generously sized around the neck and shoulders! And speaking of generous, check out the cuffs when they’re not folded back:
When I first tried it on I thought the cardigan was way too big, but after a couple of minutes I realised that it is probably pretty much perfect for a cosy, slouchy cardigan. Yes, it’s much larger around the shoulders and under the arms than I’m used to, but that makes it perfect for layering over other clothes. And those cuffs turned up are so snuggly!
I’m still not sure if I want to add buttons to the front of my next Oslo. Mum likes an open cardigan so I was happy to leave them off this version. I like open cardigans too, but for maximum winter cosiness buttons would definitely be useful. The jury is still out on that one…
I’m including one pretty shocking picture of me, but it’s the only one I managed to get showing the side view.
Aren’t those pockets fabulous? Such an easy hack, and it makes the world of difference.
In summary, I’m really happy with this make. Mum looks fabulous in it (she left it hanging outside for 24 hours before trying it on, just to be safe) and she loves the colour. It also gave me a chance to get to know the Oslo pattern and to be sure it’s one I want to make for myself. I’ve even got one cut out already, with another precious stash fabric earmarked for a third. Yep, gotta love a cosy cardigan!
Pattern: The Seamwork Oslo cardigan.
Fabric: Dimensional Embroidered Stretch Jersey Knit from Minerva (affiliate link)
Modifications: Added front patch pockets using the method in Wendy Ward’s Kinder Cardigan pattern.
- Pattern: £2.26 (1 Seamwork Credit based on conversion rate at time of purchase)
- Fabric: £15.98 (2m at £7.99/m)
- Notions: £0.00
- Total: £18.24
Other inspirational versions: I adore Erica’s ribbed knit Oslo, as well as Michelle’s stylish red check version. I’m also taking inspiration from this gorgeous woven wool version by Sew RED-y, as the fabric I want to use eventually has little stretch.
How are you coping with the lockdown? Anyone else taking solace in sewing?
Coming Next Week:
Honestly? I don’t know. My regular weekly blogging schedule might get messed up by the lockdown as I seem to have less free time than ever. I’m currently working on a pair of cute summer double gauze dungarees for Lauren and have a dark purple bouclé knit Oslo cut out and ready to sew (for me this time). Both of those are Minerva projects so won’t reach this blog for a while, though. Perhaps I’ll end up finishing and blogging the cat bed!
Disclaimer: some of the products linked above use affiliate links, meaning if you follow the link and make a purchase I will receive a small referral fee (at no added cost to you). Any extra income to help fund my sewing habit is greatly appreciated, but rest assured I only recommend products I love and think you might find useful too 🙂