Just in time for the end of winter, I’ve finished a late ‘teens, early ’20s inspired boiled wool cardigan jacket:
I had intended this to be another ‘Outerwear’ entry, but as I was sewing it I realised how much it was like a robe – the cut is nearly identical to my favourite robe pattern, just shrunken. And since my poor robe a la francaise is still pottering along, very slowly, I’m VERY excited to finally have finished a Robes and Robings entry of any sort.
For something that is essentially robe shaped, this cardigan was stupidly hard to make. It’s not a hard pattern: I just got caught up in my own brain as I sewed, and turned something that should have been a doddle into a complicated mess.
I started out wanting to make this:
I’m still madly in love with it as inspiration, but as I tried to sew it, I realised that the look really did need to be made out of blanket weight woven wool, not lighter boiled wool knit.
So, failing that, I went back to actual late ‘teens and early ’20s knitwear, like this (which includes a pattern, so you could knit it, if, unlike me, you knew how to knit):
I adapted the look to have a shawl collar, very fashionable in the late teens and early ’20s.
Apparently these sorts of cardigans were meant to be worn to play tennis and golf, but since I haven’t been near a tennis racket since high school and have never played golf, I think the school-marm look is more my speed.
Because of my brain-tangle and stupidity, the cardigan has some flaws, like side gussets, because I originally cut the cardigan too loose, and then I cut it too tight and had to add back in width.
I think I added in a teeny bit too much width, but at this point I’m just telling myself done is beautiful and leaving it at that.
Despite the flaws, and the sewing-every-seam-at-least-twice and having to re-cut the sleeves and piece the front overlap, I actually really like the cardigan. It’s warm, and comfortable, and since ‘end of winter’ is a bit of a joke in Wellington (it can randomly get down to single digits in summer) I’m sure I’ll get lots of use out of it, both as a historical garment, and for modern wear.
The Challenge: #17: Robes & Robings
Fabric: 1.5m boiled wool knit – I traded it with a student in exchange for a class.
Pattern: My own, mushed together from various vintage patterns and with a bit of drafting.
Year: ca. 1919
Notions: Thread, 4 wooden buttons ($6)
How historically accurate is it? Since this is another example of my sewing something that would have been knitted, not. I don’t think it would really pass the most basic ‘could I have worn it on the street in period without getting really strange looks’ test.
Hours to complete: Way, way, way too many!
First worn: Last night, for reading and posing and staying lovely and warm and snuggly on a chilly evening.
Total cost: $6 + a $60 class fee.