Fabric choice is key for every pattern, but even more so for the Opal Cardigan. You can make your choice based on what kind of style you are looking for, or whether you’re a sweater knit rookie or an expert. I’ve used three very different fabrics for my samples to show what the fabric choice can do with the fit and the style of the cardigan. The recommended fabric section in the instructions lists sweater knit, but if you find a nice ponte or French terry you can use that too. I’ve used a lightweight knit for View A, a medium weight and coarse knit fro View B, and a heavy textured 70% wool knit for View C. They are all made in size B, graded out at the hips to C. To help you find the right fabric, Gorgeous Fabrics has provided you with a 20% discount, so read on!
The pattern works best with a stretch percentage of 10-50%. That is the first key to your choice of style: the more stretch, the more oversized your cardigan will be. The grey knit has a stretch percentage of 50% and has a slouchy fit. The orange knit has a stretch percentage of 30% and is a bit oversized. Also, because it’s quite heavy, it stretches vertically as well. The white heavy knit almost looks like a coatigan rather than a cardigan: it has a stretch percentage of 10% and is the most close – fitting. So checking the stretch percentage is the first step towards finding your perfect fabric. The instructions have a handy diagram to do this.
The tightness of the yarn is the second key. View A and B are loose-knit, they have a more open structure. View C is close knit and has less drape than the others. The difference between A and B is the thickness of the yarn: the grey one has very fine yarn, while the orange one has thicker yarn with a clearly visible knit structure. These all give a very different look to the cardigan.
Both of these factors have to be taken into account when you consider your experience with knit fabrics. A medium to heavy weight, dense knit with a low stretch percentage is much easier to sew than a lightweight, open knit with a high stretch percentage. So if you have some experience with sewing knits, you can easily choose the lightweight one. If this will be your first project with sweater knits, try choosing one that will make your project easier and go with a lower stretch percentage.
To help you get underway, Gorgeous Fabrics is having a 20% off sale on all their sweater knits! Use the code PAPRIKA20 to get the discount, valid until March 15th. Finding the right fabric is so important, and I’m so excited to provide you with a source that has a great selection. As I said last time, I’ll try to alternate between EU and US based stores: Gorgeous Fabrics is US based so happy shopping to all of you on the other side of the pond! Here are some other sources that have a good selection:
- Fabric.com (INT)
- Mood (US)
- Harts Fabric (US)
- Emma One Sock (US)
- The Sweet Mercerie (FR)
- Stoffbüro (DE)
- Pretty Mercerie (FR)
- Knitwit (AUS)