Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MAKE MY WARDROBE: Phinney Ridge Cardigan

Me and Shannon Cook show off our newly-made Phinney Ridge Cardigans

My friend Shannon Cook and I are getting each other motivated to build our handmade wardrobes by having a casual sew along/knit along. The plan is to examine our wardrobes and figure out what’s missing, then make those pieces. Our focus will be on pieces that can complement the clothes we’ve already got (particularly our handmade stuff like those special hand knit sweaters!) so we can make some great outfits. We figure that the two of us will probably make the same sorts of things, though not always the same patterns and not always at the same pace. You all are welcome to join us! Just post on social media using the tags #makemywardrobe and #makemywardrobe2017! We’ll be blogging and sharing lots more in the coming weeks. 

With spring approaching, we’re going to start with some layering basics that can go with our hand knits. First up is Phinney Ridge by Straight Stitch Designs. It’s a basic buttoned cardigan with deep cuffs and a nice wide hem band. I’ll wear this under my hand knit wool cardigans on chilly days and evenings and as a light sweater on warmer spring days. I’ve been using long sleeved Merino tee shirts for this purpose, but I want a piece that’s more of a mid-layer that I can easily shed in the middle of the day. I like that it isn’t so tight that I’ll get it sweaty immediately while biking (tmi, sorry!), but that it’s fitted enough to work under a bigger sweater. I made mine out of some gray Merino jersey that was a gift from a friend. (Thanks, Jessie!) 

I sewed the smallest size (I've got a 31" bust, 26" waist, and 36" hip) without any alterations. (Shannon was smart & did a FBA for hers - read about her Phinney Ridge here.) I think it fits pretty well as a casual mid-layer, which is what I was going for, and I've been wearing it a whole lot since I made it. As you can see, the upper arms are pretty baggy, and the shoulder fit could be better. It's also much more snug around the hips than the rest of it, which is okay, but it does pull a bit when closed. I'm a complete baby beginner when it comes to fitting sewn projects, but I think I may try a small bust adjustment out the next time I sew a top. Phinney Ridge was designed for a B cup (such helpful info!) and I'm an A cup, so that could account for the less-than perfect shoulder fit. I'd love any tips on what could be done to improve the fit of the sleeves as well. I'm thinking they're a bit too long for me (though I completely love the deep doubled cuff, which you can see a bit better in other photos), there's too much fabric in the upper arm, and I think the armhole may be a bit deeper than I want. I wouldn't want it much smaller though because I don't want a completely fitted cardigan. Thoughts?

This will definitely go with a lot of outfits for me. I dress in layers because I'm often cold, but if I get excited, I get hot really quickly, so I need to have a lot of options for warmth in one outfit. I like that this can be worn over a tank (the Merino jersey is so smooth and comfortable), and that it also fits really well under a knit cardigan, vest, or just a big shawl. I definitely like it better unbuttoned. Here are a few outfits I'll wear it with:

Top Left: Halyard Cardigan with RTW jeans & self-drafted tank
Top Right: Camber Vest & Ume Shawl with RTW jeans & self-drafted tank
Bottom Left: self-drafted tank & Colette Mabel skirt
Bottom Right: Squam Confidential Shawl with self-drafted tank & Colette Mabel skirt

This was a really easy and fun project for me with a lot of great details like interfaced bands and deep cuffs and hem. The fit isn't perfect, but I know it's going to be a staple in my wardrobe anyway. Thanks to Shannon for taking all these photos and to Kimberly at Straight Stitch for sharing a Phinney Ridge coupon code! If you want to sew a Phinney Ridge, you can still get 20% off with the code WARDROBE20. Shannon and I would love to see your makes, so be sure to tag your photos #makemywardrobe and #makemywardrobe2017! And be sure to check out Shannon's post about her Phinney Ridge here.

Happy making!



  1. Great job on your Phinney! I see what you mean about the fit of the armholes and the upper sleeves. raising the armscye will definitely make the armholes smaller and you can reduce the size the the sleeve width accordingly. Once you've done that, you might see the shoulder situation resolve itself. I'm sure you can find tutorials online for instructions on how to recut the armscye. Maybe someone else can recommend a really good book on fit. I can't think of one offhand. BTW, I LOVE how you've styled your lovely new sweater - very chic!

    1. Thanks so much for the suggestions! I'm just now starting to feel like I understand sewing well enough to dive into fitting. I'm definitely going to be working on this!

  2. Both your cardis are smashing! The fit issues are only noticeable in that one photo you used to point them out. I share all the same problems fitting shoulders and bust. I just got used to checking measurements, and re-grading armholes and sleeves in patterns.

    You have a big jump though! The same steps you take to grade an armscye + sleeve cap for a knitting pattern will take out all the unwanted ease in this piece.

    1. You're so right! I totally know about how to fit an armscye + sleeve cap in knitting. I get intimidated by sewing because I'm more comfortable with using exact numbers like I can so easily in knitting (stitch and row counts make me happy!), but visual/spatial things are much harder for me to grasp. Making the connection between fit in hand knitting (numbers!) and fit in sewing (yikes, shapes!) is still a leap, but I'm hoping it will all fit together the more I learn and practice.

  3. Ha! I learned to knit first but grading was sooo much harder for me in knitting than sewing. Ack, sts aren't equally tall as wide?! I had an awful time with fitting books too, made me dizzy. Playing with paper pieces was easier for me, I could see how altering a flat shape would change volume and orientation in 3D space.

    Do you have a schematic for a handknit that fits well? When I have to re-grade, I hand draw an actual size sleeve cap and armscye combo. If you start from a knitting schematic, you can just smooth out the jagged slopes. Way faster. Then I cut out the pieces and compare to a garment I already have, or pin it and try it on. For the latter, tissue paper is key! Rinse, repeat until I'm satisfied or exhausted.

    For this cardi, I'd probably raise the armscye first. That will narrow the sleeve and maybe the bust will take care of itself. If not, what do you think of building in less ease at the bust v. hip? Hard to tell if the knit fabric can handle it... hmm, do you think the neckline would go wonky?

    I’m a 33” A cup, 27", 35" with broad shoulders. To get the right shoulder seam, it’s not crazy for me to have to go up as high as 42. I re-grade the armscye to transition to my actual chest size, and then sort out waist and hips. If I get all that right, I usually don’t have to do much in the way of bust fitting. If anything I let out bust darts a bit.


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