I’m not afraid to admit that I’m terrified of knit fabric. Cotton is so stable and solid — the edges meet nicely, my needles behave with it and it isn’t complicated. Knits, on the other hand, have never seemed to like me. They slip around, are temperamental with even the best stretch needles… I could go on. When I bought a serger a few weeks ago, I knew it was time to revisit knits.
It took me a while to figure out my serger. The threading alone took me 20 minutes. Is that embarassing? Anyways, I knew it was the key to sewing knit pieces that I’d actually wear, so I was determined to make it work. Now I can’t sew without it.
I picked up the Tilly and the Buttons Make it Simple pattern book a few weeks ago and was immediately drawn to the Bertha Cardigan. Not only did it suit my stay-at-home wardrobe in chilly Toronto, but it was also a beginner-friendly project to ease back into knits.
Based on the fabric requirements, I ordered 2 metres of a purple Rayon Cotton Modal Sweater Knit from Riverside Textiles. Everything about it was perfect — I didn’t even want to cut into it. Once I did, there was no going back, and the Bertha Cardigan was born.
Firstly, the pattern is wonderful. Tilly and the Buttons patterns are some of the best for beginners. Is this cardigan perfect? No way (for reasons mentioned below), but it’s wearable and the closest I’ve ever come to loving a knit project. To be clear, I do like it! Particularly the raglan sleeves, bottom band and cuffs.
Things went a little awry on the front band. I left my serger’s presser foot up (facepalm) and fudged the edge of one side. Then I was sorely reminded of how slippery knits can be. Matching up the bottom of the cardigan with the edge of the front band proved nearly impossible. I lost about half the width of the band, along with some confidence, but I managed to get it to a point where I will actually wear it.
I had planned to finish the seams with a double pointed top stitch, but I experimented on a scrap piece of fabric and it didn’t look that great. I want to repeat this pattern with a thicker jersey or sweater fleece in the future, so I’ll give it a try then.
The moral of this post is that I’m still learning how to sew with knits, but patterns like the Bertha Cardigan make it possible. If you’re in Canada, Make it Simple is on sale right now on Amazon — I bet it’s even more affordable in other countries.
P.S. My blog is a miniscule corner of the internet, so I’m not affiliated with any brands mentioned in this post.