Woven Cardigan by Charlotte

How to Sew a Woven Opal by Charlotte

I’m delighted to have this guest post for you today by Charlotte. I first met Charlotte at the big Paris meetup in November 2014 and we’ve kept in touch since then. I can honestly say she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! She blogs at English Girl at Home, has her first PDF pattern out, and is interested in all things crafty besides sewing. Her blog is also a great resource if you’re interested in dyeing with natural dyes. For now, she’s here to show off her Opal Cardigan made in a woven fabric and tell you how she made that work!

Woven Cardigan by Charlotte

I’ve been wearing my Opal Cardigans pretty much constantly since I tested the pattern a few months ago, and in particular have been reaching for this cosy version I made in a woven fabric. Although the Opal is designed for knit fabrics, it’s a perfect candidate for trying in a different fabric than those recommended, since it has minimal seams and is loose fitting.

For my woven Opal, I used a medium-weight woollen fabric with lots of drape. The drape of the fabric means that the end result is very similar to the shape I would have achieved using a heavy-weight knit. I think the pattern would also look good in a more structured woven – but it would result in a different silhouette.

I made View B (the medium length version) with full length sleeves. I didn’t make any changes to the pattern pieces for the body, sleeves, pockets, or front bands. The pattern recommends a minimum stretch percentage of 10%; since my fabric had no stretch, I needed to extend the length of the cuffs, and neck band to remove any negative ease. To calculate what length to extend these pattern pieces by, I compared the existing pattern pieces to the neckline and sleeves in my woven fabric and extended them to match, allowing for the 1cm seam allowance. In my case, this meant extending the length of the cuffs by 2cm, and the neck band by 10cm. Take care not to extend the neck band too much, being over cautious, or it won’t lie flat once attached. Although I didn’t make any changes to the front band, it would be worth double checking this pattern piece before cutting your own fabric. (NB: it is drafted with 5% stretch, so extend it to have the same length as the front piece – Lisa)

Woven Cardigan by Charlotte

In terms of construction, I followed the pattern instructions as provided, taking particular care to topstitch around the neck and front bands, and to finish my seams, since the fabric frayed constantly.

P.S. The latest issue of Seamwork contains an article on substituting knit fabrics in patterns designed for wovens, by Christine Haynes: From Woven to Knit.

Thanks so much for sharing your Opal Charlotte! It’s always great to find ways to make a pattern even more versatile. If you have any questions or your own Opal you’d like to share, leave a comment.

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