Plans for a Washington Square Cardigan

First, a tip of the hat to Erica Schmitz and MyBodyModel! Though the croquis builder app is still in development (as far as I know), Kickstarter backers received a PDF download of several realistic body types. My quick illustration above for the Washington Square cardigan was "hung" on one of those figures, and I made the croquis layer invisible in the final rendering. When designing for myself, working with a figure closer to my own was so much better than working with the 9-head tall figure I learned to draw a long time ago in fashion sketching class. Won't it be fun (and productive) being able to make preliminary designs for myself on a digital mannequin with my real proportions!

In the meantime I did enjoy creating a digital, stylized version of the cardigan I designed (in my mind) over a year ago and have yet to make. What's not shown in the illustration are the embellishments I'm planning. I consider Washington Square a textured plaid with the usual vertical and horizontal intersecting stripes, represented here as ribs and ripples instead of color. I thought it best to give the embellishments a try in real life first to see what's possible with this fabric.

My goal is to enhance the plaid aspect with simple machine embroidery over a very small portion of the cardigan, perhaps near the bottom. Brown seemed like a good “neutral” background for the other colors I want to feature: red, orange, and yellow.

As always, I’m working with pre-washed and air dried wool. I tried these embellishments with and without wash away stabilizer. I may end up using leather to bind the edges, similar to the zipper ripple jacket I made several years ago. Otherwise, I’ll see what kinds of knit fabric I have available for binding.

Using the contrasting color as the top thread and matching thread in the bobbin
Experiments in stitch length, width, and tension
Now with stabilizer pinned to the back. Turns out stabilizer doesn't make much difference with this fabric.

Got the basic hang of it now, but more experimentation is needed.

Some of the above pics were previously posted on Insta Stories #OnSaturdaysWeSewSweaters. Keeping a day to sew is my personal challenge, but feel free to use the hashtag if the occasion arises! I watch in awe as sewists post their #makenine goals for 2018 on Instagram. Planning personal projects so far ahead just doesn’t seem to work for me. Instead, I discovered I can be more efficient by really taking the time to thoroughly plan a single project.

I've learned the hard way that changing a design element in the middle of a project wastes time, energy, and fabric! I can't tell you how many times I've changed necklines mid construction, only to go back to the original design. I should know better, but once I get started, a million other ideas pop into my head, and I’m anxious to try them. I must learn (and remember when I’m tempted by those ideas) that I can always use the rejected design elements on future projects, if I still want to give them a try.

Anyone else come down with idea-overload midway through a personal project? Do you go with the urge and try out the ideas?



  1. So interesting. I look forward to seeing more of your experimentation and to hearing more about the croquis.

    1. Next up -- I've decided to bind the inside seam allowances, but I still need to choose a color! :)


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