How I Created The Wavy Cardigan {The Flora Modiste Sewing Projects}

The Flora Modiste
by The Flora Modiste

And our very first sewing project of the new year is.. The Wavy Cardigan! A truly beautiful velvet cardigan with the biggest pockets you ever did see, perfect for carrying around everything you may need. (And yes, that includes books.)

I have been looking for a good cardigan for yeaaars now. At first, I imagined this sewing project in a thick knit, but when I saw this soft, lavender velvet at the fabric store.. I couldn't resist.

I had never really worked with velvet before, but since it is literally EVERYWHERE, I thought it would be a fun, trendy sewing project to take on. I'm not one to follow trends too closely, but this is one I haven't been able to ignore.

It is literally everywhere. You may have noticed?

What I was aiming for when I drafted this cardigan: Slightly oversized, comfy, and GIANT pockets. And I think I have ticked off all of those requirements, no?

The Wavy is about hip length, with a slightly oversized fit. Instead of going with a regular sleeve for the cardigan, I decided to go with a kimono sleeve.

The fit is a bit more slouchy, and a bit more comfortable, IMHO. I also just love the unusual look of a kimono sleeve. I feel like I hardly ever see them, and I have no idea why. They are seriously SO comfortable. T

hey aren't any harder to draft patterns for, or any harder to sew. I actually think a kimono sleeve is EASIER to sew than a regular sleeve.

With a regular sleeve, you have to ensure the sleeve fits into the armhole properly, at the right height on the shoulder. If the sleeve isn't fitted properly, then it won't lay on the arm properly.

But with a kimono sleeve, all you need to do is sew the straight seams together. Just like with sewing a side seam together.

And of course.. The best feature of the cardigan is those big ass pockets.

There are many different types of pockets out there (with last month's sewing project we covered how to sew inseam pockets on the Ashby, have you checked it out?) but I particularly LOVE patch pockets. They are so giant and comfy.. AH I just love them.

The Wavy Cardigan has patch pockets on both sides of the cardigan's front. Pockets that are big enough to fit books, phones, wallets.. Anything you can think of really. (I wore this cardigan when we were flying up to Oregon last month, and I even fit my giant Hydroflask in the pockets.. No joke.)

If you love big, giant pockets (because honestly, who doesn't?) then stay turned for next week's post. We are covering how to sew a patch pocket, and the tutorial can be used for ANY sewing project you may currently be working on.

There is a seam binding along the entirety of the cardigan, from the neckline to the hem. (Not sure how to sew a knit seam binding? We went into some serious sewing tutorial detail on how to sew a knit seam binding with the Ilma Raglan, a few months back.)

I think attaching the seam binding was probably the most difficult part of this entire project.

Every time I made a stitch the velvet would slide the opposite way. I had to attach the binding incredibly slowly, to try and match the different notches and keep the correct length the entirety of the binding.

I always struggle with sewing my seam allowances evenly, but this project took that struggle to another level. My allowances were definitely off, since the fabric was constantly sliding every which way.. No matter how closely and tightly I pinned my seams before sewing.

The fabric that I used for this sewing project was a knit cotton velour. (While the fabric is "technically" a velour, I refer to it as velvet, since that is what most people are familiar with.)

The velour I chose is almost a hybrid between a traditional velvet and a velveteen. Most cardigans are knit, so I definitely wanted to use a knit velvet for the project, rather than your traditional woven, high pile velvet.

Velvets don't typically have quite the shine that velveteens do, and they usually have a much higher pile. (A pile is the height of the threads in the fabric. Think.. Shag carpet has a HUGE pile. Most other fabrics are nice and flat, and have a pretty much nonexistent pile.)

If the fabric is brushed with your hand, you can see the movement along the fabric. All of the pieces need to be cut in the same direction, so that the pile lays the same way with each piece.

If a piece is cut in a different direction from the others, then the fabric will lay differently, and it will look completely off from the rest of the garment.

This wasn't a huge issue with the particular velvet that I picked out. It had a pretty low pile, and the velvet seemed to be brushed in a pretty defined way. I did still cut all of the pattern pieces in the same direction, just to make sure everything was consistent though.

(Not sure how to cut your pattern pieces? Stay tuned for a post coming in the next few weeks all about how to cut your pattern properly. This will be especially helpful if working with a velvet that has a high pile.)

While the fabric was pretty challenging to sew with, it still has a beautiful look and shine to it. Velvet is definitely one of the most beautiful fabrics out there..

I also wanted to go with a brighter color with this project, since velvet is already a pretty big statement piece. Most of the colors I wear are pretty neutral colors, but I felt the need to go bright with the velvet.

I ALMOST picked an ocean blue velvet.. But that will take some working up to.

I think the lavender velvet just looks so beautiful though, am I right? It's not too much, but it's still a pop of color and shine.

And last but not least..

I wasn't sure what (or who) I wanted to name this beauty of a cardigan after, but when I was writing the recap posts for 2017, it came to me. The Wavy Cardigan.

Earlier this month, I recapped all of my favorite books and sewing projects from 2017. One of the books on that list was All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Byrn Greenwood. This book is an incredible read--I read it in one day. Seriously.

While I know the book isn't for everyone (I think people that have young children would have a hard time reading it) I absolutely loved it.

The Belle of this tale is Wavy, a young girl that falls in love with a much older man. Wavy is born into a pretty terrible family (her dad was willing to let her get married to said older man at 13 years old) but she is always trying to better herself so that she doesn't fall into the cycle of abuse and neglect that has dominated the entirety of her short life.

She knows her love (and her life) isn't traditional, but she doesn't care. She literally does not give two shits about what other people think of her.

What I love about Wavy's character is that she stays 100% true to herself throughout the entire story. She knows that she loves this man from a very young age (like, 100% inappropriate, she was a child) but she never denies her love.

She never sees it as wrong, and is never ashamed of it. Even when everybody else was trying to shame her, Wavy didn't back down.

I don't want to give away too much of the story.. I hope you read the book, it was a pretty incredible read. But I just love Wavy's resolve, and the way in which she never falters in her belief.

She has such strong convictions when everyone is telling her she is wrong.. Which is another characteristic that I want The Flora Modiste to represent. Even in a world where everyone buys every single article of clothing that they own, knowing how to sew your own clothing is an incredibly important skill.

People may laugh and ask why you would make something when you can just buy it (I literally hear this ALL THE TIME) but if you believe in yourself and your convictions, then that's all that really matters.

Have you read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

(PS.. Stay tuned next week for a tutorial all about how to sew the patch pockets that MAKE the Wavy Cardigan. A truly excellent tutorial that can be applied to any sewing project you may currently be working on.)

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