Thursday, July 13, 2017

Anthropologie Cardigan Knock-Off

I recently noticed a gaping hole in my wardrobe when it came to a lightweight summer cardigan. Y'know the kind, usually lacey or knitted, drapey, looks gorgeous on the model? A little oversized and oh-so-snuggly? Perfect for wearing around the campfire? Right before my vacation I went to a second hand store with that specific vision in mind and managed to find the cardigan of my dreams.

It's grey, so obviously amazing, with a cool pattern to the knit. It fits like a dream and is a great weight. According to the tag and Google, it's originally from Anthropologie. The only problem with buying second hand is, obviously, there aren't any more! (Not that I could afford full-price Anthro anyway.) Luckily for me, I can sew, and can fumble my way through copying a relatively easy garment. I had a lightweight sweater knit in my stash and was able to make a second perfect cardigan. I couldn't be happier with it!

The fabric is from Urban Rag Trader on Etsy. It's an amazing black/grey/silver mix and it matches everything in my closet. I've sewn with open sweater knits before (here and here) so I had some idea of what I was getting into. This one turned out to be pretty easy to cut and sew, I'm not exactly sure why. It didn't curl or shed much. It's a rayon blend and took well to pressing. I made sure to give myself a 1/2" seam allowance, any less would have made sewing much harder. I constructed it on my serger, making sure to lighten the presser foot pressure and turn up my differential feed.

To draft the pattern, I used Swedish tracing paper laid underneath half of the Anthro cardigan and traced around the edges, then added seam allowance. The sleeves are kimono with a machine knit single-layer cuff (I added a traditional double-layer cuff instead). The front edge is finished with machine knit single-layer ribbing, I used double-layer self-fabric. The front edge is simply a rectangle, so I measured that with my tape measure and added seam allowance. The back has a shaped center-back seam, which I basically drew free-hand after studying a similar seam on the Fiona cardigan. The bottom of the original was finished with single-layer ribbing as well, instead I simply cut a bit longer and hemmed by hand after serging the raw edge. It ended up a bit shorter than the original as well.

I didn't notice until I laid out the original, but the front edge is not straight up and down, it actually curves gently outward towards the bottom. That curve creates the lovely draping in the front, which you can see below. The only downside to this outward curve+kimono sleeve is that they made the pattern piece fairly wide. I struggled to fit my piece onto my fabric, so the sleeve is maybe a touch shorter than I would prefer. It worked out fine, but it's something I need to note moving forward with any other sweater knits. Sometimes those knits run narrow (this one is 50").

I've had a lot of sewing fails in the past, so it felt amazing to be so successful with a garment that I drafted myself. The fabric was definitely intermediate level but I was able to tame it (I guess after five years I can call myself an intermediate sewist haha). An all-around giant win! If you're interested in copying RTW garments and making your own patterns, check out my review of Stephanie Lincecum's Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit or check out her class on Craftsy.

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