This is not a cardigan

It all started with a dare. After a lot of dithering I finally took the plunge and asked for a Sewing Dare.  And the reply I got filled me with dread…

You said you desperately need warm tops in your life – so I dare you to make some kind of cardigan! So many great patterns out there… or hack a tee-pattern into a fitted or waterfall cardi. Go forth and sew cosy!

Nooo, not a cardy!  I simply don’t wear cardies. But a dare is a dare. Suffice to say I have been overthinking my knee jerk reaction to the cardy challenge, what constitutes a cardy and whether there is a style of cardy that I might actually wear ever since I read this.


In the mean time, while I muse on this, I have made one of my wardrobe staples that I wear instead of a cardy, a long sleeve t shirt. I decided to make another Coco Top as the last one that I made gets a lot of wear. And I even remembered to read the blog post that I wrote about it before starting and I tried it on (double organisational points for me) resulting in me raising and bringing in the neckline still further (it’s annoying when my long sleeve top has a lower neckline than the top underneath and I have to make sure they match each other as well as matching my bottom half), making  a small sway back adjustment (which I’m not sure I did effectively) and lengthening the sleeves by an inch at the three quarter length line.


What’s that up in the sky?

I think I bought this spongey thick purple knit with a subtle flecky sparklyness to it with a coco in mind. (I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t buy some of the charcoal grey colourway too, sold out now). And it will match more things than the last one (big flowers may be ace, but they’re not always much easier to match to the rest of my wardrobe than my stripey tops are).


Why it’s Super Mum                                                                                                                                                 (as photographed by The Boy, accessories photographers own)

Have you noticed the decorative stitching yet?


Yup, the neckline, cuffs and hem are hand finished in herringbone stitch.


This wasn’t the original plan. It started due to laziness. Last time I made a facing to finish the neckline as I thought the pattern as drafted was a little on scruffy side for a neckline finish. But I’d just altered the neckline, and I couldn’t be bothered to alter the facing too, so I decided to try some knit bias tape that I bought (online, then found locally, sigh).  I stitched it on to the right side, pressed, turned, tacked down, then wondered how to sew it down. Straight stitch would pop (the new smaller neckline definitely needs stretching to get over my head), as in my experience does a twin needle. Stretch straight stitch (aka lightening bolt) looks awful as topstitching, and I wasn’t sure that zig zag nearly an inch out from the neckline (as the pre bought bias binding is quite wide) would look ok. I don’t have a coverstitch machine. I tried to search for a knit bias tape finish but was unsuccessful, I only rediscovered the excellent grainline one for wovens, and realised that I should’ve undererstitched. While pondering what to do next, my mind turned to sashiko style stitching, inspired by all the lovely mends I’d seen on the Make do and Mend group. I tried out a zig zag (hmmm), a straight running stitch (not stretchy, as predicted) and a herringbone stitch and decided on the latter, using some white cotton that had belonged to my grandmother in law (so presumably is for quilting in some manner).


I was a bit worried that it looked too homemadey (I don’t usually do handstitching on anything as I’m a bit slapdash and scruffy at it), so I started with one cuff and worked my way up. LSH was very impressed, he thought the top had looked too plain (not used to seeing me in solid coloured garments obviously!) and the herrbingbone lifted it. Today I just happened to call into my local fabric shop and I was asked by one of the lovely assistants how I got thread that thick to go through my machine 🙂 So it passes that test! Now fingers crossed it washes and wears ok! (And no, I will not normally be wearing an entirey purple ensemble, but I have perilously few pairs of trousers and these were the ones that were clean today).

What’s your favourite finishing technique?

9 thoughts on “This is not a cardigan

  1. Well done! That is my favorite stitch.

  2. I love the stitching! A really nice accent–a little bit unique, but not busy or distracting.

  3. I love the look of the handstitched finish. Can’t wait to see the cardi! :))

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