Pattern Testing - Lisbon Cardigan

The making of this project has been a bit of kismet and a bunch of firsts rolled into one successful sweater. I got a Juki MO 654 DE serger last month. It had a bit of a learning curve but once I took a class at Handcraft Workshop and had some time to practice I'm starting to get the hang of it. My first serger project was a Lindy skirt (to be blogged soon. It's a great free pattern!) from Itch to Stitch Patterns. It was a wonderful pattern, as expected, much like my go to t shirt also from ITS, the Idyllwild tee. After having made so many of Kennis' patterns, I was really pleased to be selected as a tester for her new cardigan pattern, Lisbon. (That's the kismet part. I was in Lisbon in February and it was one of the most amazing places I've been, I can't wait to go back!)

I cut my Lisbon in a straight size 18, long sleeves and regular length. I skipped the buttons for an open front cardi and instead of using lace as an accent cut my fronts out of some long hoarded, totally adorable, dachsund fabric from Girl Charlee. Since it was a test and I was still learning my serger I basted everything on my sewing machine first using a straight stitch, 4.0mm. This actually worked out really well because I could be more exact with the seam allowance on the sewing machine and then had a sewing line to follow on the serger rather than eyeballing how far past the blade my edge should be. Plus it meant that I didn't have to worry about pins anywhere near my serger (a serger will cut through a pin, but it'll nick the blade and it's expensive to have that replaced). I ended up having great seam matching and only having to pick out one or two little pleats.

My sweater fits really well and is so comfortable it actually took me a few extra hours to finish because I was too interesting in wearing it, even before I had time to attach the cuffs! Speaking of the cuffs, I learned a good trick for serging in the round: cut two slits into the seam allowance about a half inch apart, about 1/8" from the seam line. Cut out the small piece of fabric between the two slits. Lift the presser foot of your serger and line it up so that the blade fits into the cut out notch. Start serging as normal and serge over the starting stitches when you come around the circle and sew in your thread tail as normal. Voila! 

There were only two things I would keep in mind as I sew: 1) I shortened the sleeves by 2.25". I know Kennis is shortening the sleeves by .75" in the final version and I used a slinkier main fabric than I might use in the future. On my next one I will cut the sleeve out as patterned on the final version and then shorten as/if necessary once attached to the body. 2) Make sure when you cut your interfacing that the stretch of the interfacing aligns with the long edge of the front bands. If you use Pellon interfacing like I did, be aware that the stretch is selvage to selvage so you might want to cut a few smaller crosswise strips and overlap instead of one longer strip that doesn't take advantage of the stretch of the knit.

I think my next one (and there will certainly be a next one!) I'll add length and some patch pockets. If I'm feeling adventurous maybe even try my hand at hacking a v-neck so I can make myself the consulate grandpa cardi! You can get your copy of the Lisbon Cardigan pattern here. Normally $10, Lisbon is on sale for $8 right now. If you buy 2 or more patterns you get 15% with code savemore15. Both sales are good through Monday May 9. If you make a Lisbon, let me know, I want to see your makes!

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