Saturday, 27 February 2016

Drafting the Waterfall Cardigan

This may be the simplest thing I've drafted to date. If you're new to drafting, I reckon you could comfortably give this one a go.

I am using a long sleeve, crew neck t-shirt as my starting point. Essentially this is a knit block.

You can get a knit sloper off Burdastyle (you would need to add seam allowances), which you would shorten to make a shirt, or you can use a basic t-shirt pattern. You can get some some simple shirt patterns from this craftsy course, or there are loads of free or independently designed shirt patterns you can find online. Otherwise, you can copy an existing shirt that you already have. As long as it is a long sleeve shirt pattern with a fairly high, close neckline it will do - a boat neck wouldn't work as well.

I've got my tried and true pattern for this shirt.

Once you've got your pattern, your pieces should look like this:
I don't need to worry about the neckband, so it's just the front, back and sleeve I'm working with.
My pattern - pdf printout taped together.

To work with these pieces, I have traced them out onto brown paper, leaving a reasonable space around each piece. 
For the diagrams, I am keeping the original lines in black, and drawing the new lines in in red. The dotted line is the stitching line, and the solid line is the cutting line. Front on the left, back on the right.

First thing to bear in mind is that your cardigan is going to go over your other clothes, and therefore needs to be looser than your usual t-shirt. Generally speaking, knit patterns are made for about 90% of the width of the body so they skim and stretch over. We want this closer to 100% size.

Step 1. Increase Sizing.

If you are using a commercial / multi-sized pattern, this step is easy. Go up one or two sizes. If you can hold the pattern piece up to your body, or around your arm and they will cover without stretching, that's what we're after.

If, like me, you're using a copied or custom pattern, you need to enlarge it. I traced mine added 1cm at the seam allowances (5/8" if you prefer) to make mine a little roomier.

Check out this detail of the arm - The armscye needs to be a little deeper to fit your wider sleeve, so rather than just adding your extra bit around the outline, shape it so that the arm hole finishes a bit lower. I also kept the width of the neck the same, and only raised the sleeve head half as much.

So like this;
And not like this:

I also added an additional 1cm width to the bottom of the sleeves, to make it a bit looser around the wrist. It's a bit crooked in the diagrams here, but I'd completed them all before I realised!

Step 2. Add A Little Length

I've added 3cm along the bottom at the front and back, because I want the cardigan slightly lower than my usual shirt length.

Step 3. Check Your Waist.

Some (but not all) t-shirts will have a defined waistline. If the pattern that you're working with is a fairly straight cut to begin with, you can skip this step. If, like mine, you have a defined waist, you want to reduce that curve because without the front being closed, the area below the waist will hang differently. I took out my curves on front and back thusly. (I left a just little curve in there...)

Step 4. Square Out Your Front Piece.

The drape portion of the cardigan is as wide as the front half. Starting from the bottom, draw a straight and square line across your paper (I had to add a strip to fit it onto my paper!) so that the pattern piece is twice as wide as before. Square straight up, and back across to the middle of the neck.


Check your shoulder seams will connect smoothly, and adjust if necessary.

That's it. No kidding.
Finished pieces with guidelines.

Finished pieces without guidelines.

Next post I'll run through fabric and construction.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Brief Pause, and New Requirements

It has been a little quiet on the blog front.

There have been several reasons for this brief pause.

For one thing, we've been renovating and redecorating our whole house. Every room. It's been a bit busy, and for a short while my sewing room was acting as an improvised kitchen. (We're nearly there, the bathroom starts in a fortnight).

Then, in November I learned that we were expecting. This did two things which slowed me down. One, was that it made me very, very tired. So instead of coming home and sewing, instead I came home and had a 'little nap' on the sofa until dinner time, followed by another little nap, followed by bedtime. 

The other thing which it did was re-wire my thinking around food. Despite the fact that I was nauseous, food suddenly became much more interesting than it has every been in the history of my world thus far. Instead of daydreaming about darts and stripes and shapes for clothing, I started daydreaming about dumplings and lasagne. The creative part of my brain had to step aside for a while.

However, the worst of the sleepiness has now passed. I can focus on things I can't eat. And I have new requirements. Since is petite fit is a niche, and maternity clothing is a niche, and super-petite maternity clothing isn't really even a thing that exists, I have zero choice but to archive the 30 - 40 handmade dresses currently in the wardrobe, and whip up a few things. 

First up - simple dress and waterfall cardigan. 

I've been meaning to make a waterfall cardigan forever. This one was self drafted from my basic t-shirt pattern. More on that later. I'm off for a nap.