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May 19, 2014

Working on My Shawl-Collared Cardigan -- McCalls 5267

A few updates, readers:

With my mother's robe out of the way, my menswear sewing class completed, and the double-breasted toile de jouy blazer put aside, it's time for me to return my attention to my shawl-collared cardigan.

 I've decided not to make a double-breasted blazer for now.  Instead, I will most likely make a single-breasted blazer using the chambray-type cotton/linen blend we talked about last week.  I tried on my toile blazer and I like it a lot, but I'm not going to get a lot of use out of a jacket I have to keep buttoned all the time.  Especially in the summer.

But back to the sweater.  My fabric is this Italian cotton knit I bought last month.

This morning I got to work.  The only alteration I've made so far is to widen the torso a smidge at the hip.  It's cut quite narrow.

This knit is thick and I wasn't sure how I wanted to finish my seam allowances.  I decided that the side seams look best with the seam allowances pressed open and lying flat.  So I'm not going to serge them but instead will likely whipstitch them down by hand.  Sometimes a serged seam can feel lumpy (or wavy) especially with a lofty fabric that may not feed smoothly through the machine.

I interfaced the collar with knit interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoller.  I tested a few different interfacings to find the one that worked best.  It needs to be able to support a buttonhole.

I did serge the seam allowance that attaches the collar to the torso (and I'll probably handstitch the serged seam allowance down so it lies completely flat), as well as the bottom edge of the cardigan and bottom edge of the sleeve (before hemming) and the armhole.

And that's it.

It certainly would have been easier to just serge everything (as I did with my mother's robe).  I'd rather have the inside look a little more homemade but have the outside smoother and more elegant.  It's a tradeoff.

Here's a peek, with a lot of finishing still to be done -- and pockets too.   But you get the idea.  I like it!

Do you every hand-finish seam allowances on knits instead of serging (for whatever reason)?

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Are you going to line it? Even a half lining? I'm just thinking that type of fabric can be "sticky" and makes taking the jacket on or off--if you're wearing another shirt beneath--a pain.

  2. Beautiful knit, love the color(s), a classic. It's almost like a tweed. Are you going with all five buttons? (I'd love to see you do a video on serging.)

  3. Love everything about this!

  4. The color looks fab on you!

    Just one question - why you left the pockets for last?

  5. I just bought this same fabric in both the blue and beige and I am so happy to see how you handle it first. To serge or not to serge? You have the answer. I plan to make a sort of drapery loose top with no closures or belt.

  6. Snug Hug the side seams! I'll look great and not at bulk. Gorgeous knit!
    Your fab fan,

  7. It looks great!
    I would catch stitch the seams (small stitches) to keep them flat.

  8. Wow, looks really great. Love the fabric.

  9. We would expect nothing less than a Hong Kong finish Peter!

  10. I'm really in love with this project, which indicates I might like a shawl collar more than I think I do..The blue and white just reminds me of all blue skies...

  11. I love a shawl collar and want to track down this pattern! I think you would also look great in the cardi thread theory curious what you think about that pattern line? Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Look no further:

      I've never tried the Thread Theory patterns; someday!

  12. Peter, your sweater is beautiful.


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