Pattern: McCall's 6559, altered
Fabric: Missoni sweater knit fabric (legit!!) from Fabric Place Basement
Flats: Michael Kors
This was one of those projects where I didn't consider how in the world I was going to make the fabric work with what I wanted to do, which will become evident later on in this post.
I admit it, I must have a crush on everything Missoni, their fabrics are just too amazing . I kept looking at this Missoni sweater knit fabric every time I went in to Fabric Place Basement (which is usually once a week), eyeing the pretty colors and imagining what kind of wonderful garments to make out of it. I think it was around the end of January when I broke down and ponied up the cashola (totally worth it though) for two yards of this colorway, thinking it would make a great sweater jacket.
I didn't have a pattern in my stash that was the kind of jacket I wanted: basically, no seams or shaping except for the side and shoulder seams. I realized when I got home and opened up my fabric that this stuff was fragile - the cut edges fell apart easily, so the less seams in my garment, the better. I liked the sloping front style of the tie-front cardi of McCall's 6559, so I altered it to have a straight front instead of ties and drafted a self-facing for the cardigan neckband and fronts. I also lengthened it, too.
The picture above gives a good idea of how the fabric is constructed - it's pretty baffling, actually. Even though it's made up of loose ply yarn and sweater-like, the construction is more like a woven. Those thin black threads keep everything together and connect all of the colored yarn, so if a black thread is snipped, the color pieces pull out and fall apart. That's the only way all of the yarns connect in this fabric, very unlike a knit. I have no idea how this fabric was manufactured!!
And this is what immediately happened after I cut out my cardigan pieces...yikes. If I didn't have a serger, there is no way I could have made this garment. I used the four thread setting on my serger and a wide overlock, and finished all of the edges of the garment pieces immediately after I cut them out.
The construction itself was a no-brainer, but I had to be a little creative in some instances. For example, even though I set the sleeves in ok, some of the thin black threads become loose and I had some running holes under the arm or at the front of the sleeve cap. I ended up "darning" them with black thread by hand, catching all of the colored yarn loops together and securing them so they wouldn't create bigger holes. It was some tricky stitching...
Then came the problem as to how to finish the edges of the cardigan. I didn't want to turn the edges in, and then turn them in again and stitch them down since it would be bulky. Thank goodness I stopped in at Grey's Fabrics and picked up some silk bias tape - you really haven't lived until you've sewn with silk bias tape!! In retrospect I should have hand-stitched it to the edges instead of machine sewing since there's irregularities in the width of the bias tape, but oh well! After I attached the bias tape, I folded in the front facings and hand stitched everything. Funny enough, I forgot to hem the sleeves, but I'm ok with the edges being serged and not hemmed, you can't even tell.
This jacket/sweater/cardigan is definitely something I'd wear for special occasions due to the nature of the fabric - it seemed appropriate to debut it at the NYC blogger meetup last month! I'm not sure if I'd ever even have it cleaned, I wouldn't want to risk damaging the fabric. But it's all worth it, because now I have a real Missoni garment in my closet for a fraction of the cost.