Secretly Comfy Grandpa Cardi

Today’s post is brought to you by:

  1. My desire to wear comfy clothes (aka pajamas) to work
  2. My desire to look as nice as the accounts lady always looks at work

and:

3. My favorite RTW cardigan

One and two seem pretty self explanatory, so I’ll start with number three. My favorite cardigan is a purple merino Icebreaker affair that I got from Jon’s work – It’s got a v neck opening, a very well interfaced button band, and perhaps most importantly: the most excellent pockets.

It’s also got some pretty spectacular pilling going on since it’s probably the single most worn item in my wardrobe, and even the highest quality merino isn’t gonna stand up to that. Poor fella. Fortunately, I know a thing or two about cloning RTW, and my friendly neighborhood dealer of fine merinos (The Fabric Store) has a veritable cornucopia of cardi-copy fabric options. I picked up this very practical and dreamy-soft fabric at their sale a few weeks back, and thought it was perfect for something a bit more ‘workwear’ while still comfy and warm. It’s a lovely deep navy with a thin light grey stripe every 2 inches, and it’s one of those fabrics that makes me want to go back and buy the whole roll so I can make ~one of everything~.

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That SMILE! (that frizzy hair)

This sweater does not retain the neckline style of its inspiration. I’m not really sure where the idea for a lapel collar came from originally, but I just generally wanted something I could dress up a bit, and this one jumped out. It was a pretty easy modification to my pattern- since it already had the v-shape neckline, I just drew up a cut-on collar from my favorite drafting book, and taped it onto my pattern.

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The original had a sewn-on button band, but I eyeballed the cut on width for this cardi, hence it’s not in the pattern.

My inspiration’s draft instructions were for something called a ‘brunch coat’ which basically looks like a belted boxy trenchcoat… gotta love those 50’s wardrobe requirements. I chose it because it didn’t have any additional seams anywhere to cause problems with my stretchy fabric, and the end result is also super streamlined.

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(streamlined and wrinkly because I am a slouching sloucher)

Construction was pretty straightforward as well. This fabric is quite stable with no vertical stretch, so I decided to straight stitch all but the armholes and sleeve/hem bands with my Elna. My current serger is a very old lady who sometimes has difficulties getting out of bed in the morning – but she did manage the armholes and sleeve/hem bands, which are the only seams with any kind of stretch anyways.

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Buttons!

The facings went on to the fronts first, followed by the back at the shoulders, the side panels, and then pocket construction. I folded the facing under at the shoulder/back neck and stitched it down in the ditch from the right side. My original cardi has self-fabric seam tape here but I think the facing reinforcement is more than sufficient. I also topstitched the facings up to the lapel points to encourage the fabric to roll in the right direction, and that combined with the interfacing in the collar area makes it look nice and polished, but not overly so.

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I feel so cozy!

The pockets are sewn into the seam of the front and side panels and bar tacked at the front edge to keep them in place. In the original sweater, they’re sewn into the button band at the front edge but my version hasn’t got a traditional button band so I improvised. I love the pocket style of this thing – it disguises my phone, and the two layers of merino are excellent for warming up my hands! Plus, they’re basically invisible which gives the whole thing a very tailored appearance.

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So close on the stripes!

For next time: I will stick by my decision to lengthen the body by 1 inch instead of impulsively chopping it off again at the last moment. I will interface the button and buttonhole bands to keep them from puckering, I will lengthen the cuffs to thumb-length because I like pulling sweater sleeves down over my hands, and I will extend my front facing all the way into the front/side seam instead of leaving it hang. that last one doesn’t matter for how it looks or wears, I just kind of think it should be attached somewhere, as it’s not fully lined. Also, I don’t think I should have stretched the bottom band as I was sewing it on. I though it would help things sit properly but in retrospect it’s not really needed, and it makes the lowest button pull a bit, while the bottom of the sweater does that signature grandpa/mushroom poof. Not that I mind, really. The poof is sometimes good, and I’m rarely a buttoned cardi wearer regardless.

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When I finished it and put it on for the first time, I didn’t look in the mirror for a few minutes. Busy moving around, checking fit, etc… my first thoughts in those moments were about how warm it was, how nice the fabric felt – something to the effect of hugging a big fluffy sheep. When I did look in the mirror for the first time, I was quite surprised by how very much like a blazer this thing looks. I’m not sure why I was surprised – this was what I was going for, after all – but it looks very polished for a glorified snuggle buddy. Sneaky. Sneaky like wearing my wooly bunny slippers at work, except nobody’s said anything about the cardi yet.

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stop pulling on sleeves and messing with the shoulder seams! I’m ruining my own photos here.

Well! That’s about all I have to say! My bra clasp tutorial will be done soon, I’m gonna be tackling a swimsuit in the very near future, and judging from how many times I’ve worn this cardigan since I finished it, I’m gonna need about 12 more. Plus, if you’ve been keeping track of me on instagram you’ll know that I made Jon a hideously tropical shirt recently, so you’ll see that soon! Yay!

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Sorry about the tardiness of this post, guys! Life gave me a whole pile of lemons this weekend so bear with me as I figure out what to do with them, and carry on yelling into The Void.

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