This make is giving me all the autumnal feels which is very apt as I both finished it and am writing this blog on the first day of autumn.
I was very excited a few weeks ago when Casey of @patternscout contacted me and asked if I would like to be a tester for her new pattern. I had already been loving the sneak peeks of her Lulu cardigan so I said yes without hesitation.
The Lulu is a bomber style close fitting cardigan with options for a zipper, snaps or buttons and a peplum. The pattern is designed for knit fabrics and the fit and style will largely depend on the type of knit fabric you use. I loved the pattern so much that I made 2 cardigans, testing out both versions.
For my first jacket, I rummaged through my stash. I kind of wanted to colour block but I wasn’t entirely happy with the mix of patterns or weight of fabric I had. I finally settled on these two. The striped fabric is textured ponte from Sew Over It on Essex Road, Islington. I bought it last year in one of their monthly remnant sales and I knew it was destined to be a cardigan, once I’d found the right pattern. The teal ribbing is from Dalston Mill, Hackney. Both fabrics are pretty stable knit without much stretch, but enough for this pattern according to the little stretch test chart on the pattern instructions. Ponte is my favourite knit to work with, but stripes, well that just added another dimension. I was uber careful to cut the pattern out best as I could to get the stripes to match. I wish I could tell you step by step exactly what I did, but I can’t remember!
I have tested once before for @patternscout and I find her instructions so clear, informative and logical. Part of being a tester means that you follow the instructions as they appear so you can let the designer know if they makes sense. These instructions made total sense. I know I’ve been sewing quite a bit over the last couple of years but I found this pattern so easy to make and this version at least was a seam ripper free make! Whoop whoop!
I made a size 12, C cup. I love that Casey designs for a range of cup sizes. I recently went to the trouble of going for a proper bra fitting at a charming, old school place called Design Also, Highbury. I discovered there was more to me than I thought and the words ‘scoop’ and ‘lift’ are now a part of my daily morning ritual. If you want to know more, go visit the shop. I digress. I graded the arms up a size and lengthened the sleeves to the full Version B (cuff less) length, to accommodate my mesomorphic frame.
The finished, bomber style cardigan is close fitting as I wanted it to be. It makes a snug top over a vest or cami. I love the cropped length here with my Megan Neilsen Ash jeans. Actually, as I look at that picture above, I can’t believe that I made my complete outfit. If you had told me a couple if years ago that I’d make a pair of jeans and a jacket I would have scoffed.
After I made that version, @patternscout made some tweaks to the pattern, heeding the voices of her testers. So what could I do? I had to make another one of course!
Version B required a trip to the shops. Living in North London, I am blessed to have so many fabric stores and markets a hop and a skip away. Rolls and Rems, Holloway was the first fabric shop I stumbled upon when I first moved back to London, 8 years ago. My favourite thing about this shop are the remnants buckets where a bargain can always be found. But rummage as I might, this time I couldn’t find the knit fabric that I wanted. But the store had a good selection of knits on it’s shelves and this autumnal shades, floral print grabbed my attention, even though I specifically told myself to buy a solid colour. Prints draw me all the time! The fabric was a light scuba which I believe is now my favourite knit fabric. It doesn’t fray or crease, what’s not to love.
I decided to block this cardigan, teaming it with a black rib, again from Dalston Mill. However, unlike the teal rib for my Version A, this rib was really stretchy and had little cotton content. Nonetheless, I proceeded to sew the collar and side panels in this ribbing and it was a disaster. The fabric stretched and the cardigan was shapeless. Time for the seam ripper? I really didn’t have the heart for this. Thankfully, the lulu cardigan doesn’t use a great deal of fabric and the scuba was a wide piece and I managed to cut out a new bodice from what was left 🙌🏾.
I decided I would go for buttons because I couldn’t find any pearly snaps that I wanted, but I did find cute little antique looking buttons. So with having to basically start again, make button holes and a ruffled peplum, the fun in the make was in danger of being lost altogether. But seeing all the other Lulu cardigans sneak peeking their way on instagram inspired me to press on. I’m so glad I did because this Lulu is gorgeous, if I do say so myself!
If you like the look of my makes, do follow #pslulucardigan and @patternscout on Instagram for more inspiration. And go get the pattern, you won’t regret it!