Sewing with Knits Mondays - The Awesome Amy Cardigan!

it's monday!  i have to admit that monday's have become a pretty fun blog day for me lately.  i've been loving sewing with knits and hope you guys have been too!  when anna and i first decided to do "sewing with knits monday's" i knew i wanted to make a new cardigan.  i knew that i wanted to add something personal to my cardi and thus the "awesome amy cardigan" was born!

made from a soft, light-weight grey stretch i knew i wanted something to curl up in that wasn't too hot for cool summer nights but kept me warm in the winter.  i wanted it to be simple in it's design so you guys could make it too and i knew i wanted you all to be able to customize it.  

what's different about this cardigan?  well it's got a pretty little ruffled detail along the shoulder seams and also some hand stitching all along the border of the cardigan.  do you likey?  i lovey! 

why's this one called amy?  well last week i mentioned that i had been naming my tutorials after some pals from my knit night and this one is named after amy.  she's awesome :)  she blogs over at "the family feedbag".  be careful if you go will end up cooking.  she knits, she sews, she quilts, she's obsessed with turquoise like me & she's a great pal.  put all these things together and well....she's AWESOME!  she's also a busy momma of 2 gorgeous little boys.

both amy & i love a great drapey cardi.  we are both always sporting our repertoire of them on a weekly basis.  i know my obsession with them lies in the fact that they hide and disguise the "dreaded overhang" and leftover baby belly...yes, i said overhang.  my arch nemesis.  damn that overhang.  if you hear me overhang i'm talking to ya....i'm gonna get ya one of these days but in the meantime i'm going to hide you with this awesome cardigan :)

so get excited!  get ready to have some fun, bond with your sewing machine and learn to embrace the knits!!!  you can do it!  look how excited sewing with stretch makes me!  how fun is it to make your own clothes that actually fit your own body?  want one too?  here ya go....jump right in!

***Copyright 2011
All rights reserved. For personal use only. Please do not sell items made from this tutorial unless permission has been given.


* 1-2 yards of lightweight stretch/knit fabric. Look for a nice soft drape.
* scissors
* embroidery floss (1 skein)
* embroidery  needle
* sewing machine
* ballpoint needle (for sewing machine - optional
* thread

1) Find a favorite drapey top, cardigan or tee and use this to trace your pieces to make a basic pattern from (if you made anna's top from last week or mine you could use this as a starting point or also follow katy from no big dill's tutorial for the billy cardi).  *make sure the stretch of your fabric goes left to right, not up and down.  I cut my back and both sleeves on the fold and the two front pieces normally.
2) Once you trace out your pattern pieces (I use freezer paper for mine) I made my overall length longer and also extended and angled out the front sides of my cardigan.  I also increased the width of the front shoulder seam pieces (this is for the ruffling effect if you choose to do this, if not, just leave at normal width) making them a few inches bigger than I traced. See the diagram above for an idea of what i did.  The broken lines represent the original pattern piece of mine i used to trace from.

3) Set your machine to your basting stitch and without backstitching sew along the two front shoulder pieces with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Then stitch another line at a 3/4" seam allowance.  Pull the bobbin threads to ruffle your fronts up to match the width of your back shoulder pieces.  Or you can use your machine to actually do the ruffling for you as shown in this post.
4)  With right sides facing each other (cardigan is inside out) pin your side seams together.  Using the settings for sewing knits on your machine (i like to use a zig zag stitch for these seams) stitch your sides together using a 1/2" seam allowance.

5)  Pin  your front shoulder seams to your back shoulder seams.  Stitch together with a 1/2" seam allowance using a zig zag stitch as well (you will be stitching between your two basting stitch seams).  Take care that your ruching lays flat & drapes nicely.  You can now remove your 2nd basting stitch which was done at a 3/4" seam allowance. 
3)  Get your sleeve pieces.  I'm very picky about my sleeves and how they fit. I'm a busty gal so I don't like my arms to look any bigger than they need  So I like to pin my sleeve vertically along the seam and try the sleeve on to get the exact fit I want.  I then use a fabric marker or pins to mark where I want to sew if I have to make any adjustments.  This is the fun part about customizable tutorials!  You get to make it to fit your measurements and dimensions!  So fun!

4)  Make sure that when the sleeve is pinned along the long edge that your sleeve still fits your arm hole.  I'm really picky about this for some reason and always do a trial pin to make sure my underarm seam will match up perfectly to the side seam.  I think it gives more of a professional finish.  After testing out your arm sizing and armhole measurements stitch up your long seam of your sleeve using a 1/2" seam allowance (again, zig zag stitch).
5)  Now we're going to sew in your sleeve.  There are a few ways to do this and the easiest I have found is by keeping your cardigan inside out and your sleeve right side out.  You then pop that sleeve into the hole of the armhole and when you look into the armhole you will see the wrong side or your sleeve.  Pin the sleeve to the armhole taking very good care that your seam for the sleeve and your armhole match up perfectly.  I like to start stitching there to make sure there is no movement or drag later.  Sew this seam again with a 1/2" seam allowance and a zig zag stitch.

6)  Time to finish your sleeve.  I folded back a 1/4" seam and then did a mock overlock the seam to give a nice finish.

7)  Fold your back neckline under 1/4" and finish the same way.

8)  Now comes the fun part!  Time to personalize!!!! Woot woot!  I got 3 strands of white embroidery floss and simply did a loose blanket stitch around the edge of both front sides and the whole bottom of the sweater to create kind of a scallop effect.  Make sure your stitches are even and not pulling your fabric.  You can find out how to do a blanket stitch here or many other places online and on youtube.

9)  Trim your threads and all your inner seams of your cardigan and go rock your new awesome cardi!!!  you go girl!!!

***Copyright 2011
All rights reserved. For personal use only. Please do not sell items made from this tutorial unless permission has been given.

that wasn't hard at it all!  it's also a super fast cardigan project to whip together.  so go put that new fab cardigan on and go have a great time!  you look fabulous!  a big giant thank you to the lovely and talented jane richmond who was my photographer for this tutorial & my date to the fibrations festival where we took our pics after oogling over tons of yummy candy colored yarns, knitting in an orchard on the grass under apple trees and sipping yummy americanos.  not a bad way to end a weekend if you ask me - thank you jane!

make sure you check out what fun stuff anna's whipped up over on noodlehead today!  she's the best partner in crime!!  have you been stitching with knits?  make sure to come show off your projects on our "sewing with knits mondays" flickr group or link up in the comments below!  we love to see what you guys are working on :)  happy stitching!