Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Natty Newcastle

I am working my way through Thread Theory's catalog of men's sewing patterns in order of difficulty... I started with the Strathcona t-shirt for Tim and now I've stepped it up a notch and made the Newcastle cardigan, which is the pattern that drew me to Thread Theory in the first place.  It's so cool... there is nothing like it out there, certainly not amongst the Big 4 pattern makers, whose men's catalogs seem to consist mainly of a couple button-downs, some pajamas and the occasional muumuu/dashiki/cult robe.

I used some charcoal grey ponte de roma as the main fabric and some complementary navy for the contrasting yoke and shoulder panels.  Both fabrics are part of the Sew Classic line at Joann... be careful, though, as some of the ponte there is 100% poly and might be the worst thing I have ever touched. Shudder.  But the stuff I used (a rayon/poly blend) is super soft and easy to work with.  Buttons are also from Joann, as is the stretch interfacing.  Warning: stretch interfacing only stretches one way... I couldn't fit all the pieces on what I had, so I had to cut the collar pieces the non-stretchy way, figuring they wouldn't get too much stress.

Topstitching... woop!
I think my Newcastle is looking pretty good!  It's certainly not perfect, but definitely wearable.  Tim seems to like it, which is the key.   Now that I've seen it on him (and tried it on a little while sewing it), I kinda want one myself.  I might have to take a hint from Morgan's tutorial for altering the pattern for the ladies and sew myself one!

Tim requires a beer to pose for pictures.  Not unlike other bloggers who ply their children with candy and stuffed animals, I must ply my husband with craft brews:

Here are my pattern notes, none of which are particularly groundbreaking.  Most of them echo things other bloggers have said:

- I sewed up view A with the smaller collar and the contrasting back yoke and shoulder plackets

- I didn't interface the back yoke or shoulder plackets for fear of excess bulk

- Speaking of bulk: sewing the body, collar and facings all together was a beast! 5 layers of fabric and at least 3 of interfacing (there could have been 1 more, had I interfaced the yoke and plackets)... whoa!

- The sleeve caps were super hard to ease in... lots of extra fabric; mine are okay but a little ripple-y

- I was a little bit confused about the part in the instructions where you deal with the facing and hem... I think I could have used one more illustration.  I wasn't sure what exactly to trim.

- The cuffs are a wee bit large, methinks, disproportionately so... next time I might lengthen the sleeves and shorten the cuffs

- Buttonholes were tough:  I used my automatic buttonhole foot, but had to manually pull the placket through because the feed dogs were not interested in making the fabric move

- I think next time I would use a slightly stiffer fabric like sweatshirt fabric... the ponte might have had a little too much drape for this design and, when combined with the heavy collar and facings, makes the cardigan hang funny when it's not buttoned: