It was my husband Kofi’s birthday last month and I told him I’d sew him a cardigan. I confess I didn’t spend a whole lot of time searching for men’s cardigan sewing patterns. I wanted a more traditional v-neck cardigan rather than making another Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan, which I made last year and blogged about here.
I found this cardigan pattern – Andrew 6030 – on the Burda website, which features ribbed knit on the bottom and wrists. The suggested fabrics are wool knit and cotton sweatshirt.
It seemed like a nice basic pattern and a PDF costs $5.99 so I bought it. But I didn’t pay attention to the size chart for this pattern until after I downloaded it. It only goes from 44 to 54. Burda’s men’s size chart goes from 44 to 60 (European), 34 to 50 (US). (Here’s a link to the page where you can download Burda size charts.)
My husband’s chest is 47 1/2 inches (nearly 121 cm) so so that means I would need to grade up 3 sizes – not to mention the many adjustments I’ll likely need to do – wide shoulder, bicep, full belly, etc. I had to make massive adjustments to the Newcastle Cardigan, which took three versions to get the fit right. So I decided to see if I could find another cardigan pattern.
The pickings are slim among the Big 4 (mostly pajamas and vests) but I did see Kwik Sew pattern K3724 – a men’s button-down cardigan on the Kwik Sew website, which has more variety for men – and it goes from size S to XXL. Perfect – except it was listed as out-of-print. Darn.
I tried adding it to my cart and it did appear there but I didn’t know if that was an error or if they really had one in stock. It was $11.99. So I went to eBay and found a seller who had three in stock and bought it for $10.25. Here’s a link to the eBay listing.
Here’s the line drawing of the cardigan. I like both versions. I bought two yards each of a black and a gray cotton knit fabric, which should be enough for this pattern. I bought black ribbed knit, too. So I think I’ll make version A in gray and version B in black.
I’m waiting for my Kwik Sew pattern to arrive. My goal is to finish one version by the end of the year. If you know of any other men’s cardigan sewing patterns, please let me know!
Hi, I hope you’re enjoying some warm weather wherever you are. Here in northern California it’s pretty warm, for March anyway. It may seem odd to write about a cardigan with the spring equinox coming at the end of the week, but I finally made a version of the Newcastle Cardigan that my husband really likes. In fact, he liked it so much he even volunteered to model it! We took photos a couple of weeks ago. This is my third attempt at making this Thread Theory pattern for my husband.
Why three? Well, way back in October 2013, I saw the version Ginger Makes made on her blog post Dude Sewing and I was excited to make one for my husband. I bought and downloaded the Newcastle PDF (you can also buy the tissue version).
Warning: This is a rather long post with info on my pattern adjustments. It took me two more tries to get all the pattern adjustments right: bicep, armhole, waist, back, and butt. Below you’ll see the various adjustments and mistakes I made as I attempted to figure out how to make this pattern fit my husband and still retain the design. If you want to make this pattern and your guy is bigger than the largest size, compare the pattern pieces against a cardigan that he fits him well. Then you’ll know right away how much you’ll need to adjust. I didn’t do that with my first one. Lesson learned!
The PDF was easy to put together. I like the little pointing hand at the end of the grainline marks.
I made a muslin for size XL using double-sided black fleece I got on sale at Discount Fabrics in San Francisco. I quickly discovered that the Newcastle Cardigan is for slender guys. My man is 6′ 3″ (190.5 cm) and weighs more than 200 pounds (90 kg). On him, size XL was more like an L and was too tight everywhere. It’s a fitted pattern with not a whole lot of ease unless you are a svelte guy. My husband was disappointed and thought I could just whip up another one pronto. Uh, no.
I explained that it would take a lot of pattern adjustments and that I had zero experience adjusting patterns for men, let alone doing bicep, back, belly, etc. adjustments. Yikes. All my previous pattern adjustments had been fairly minor ones for myself: wide shoulder, small bust adjustment, adding ease to the hips,and that was it. I told him it would take me a while to figure out how to adjust the pattern for his figure. (I decided to keep the first one as an oversize cardi for me but it is still a UFO (unfinished object) because I felt obligated to first make and finish one that fit him. The UFO still needs button holes and hemming.)
A few months later, through trial and error and then actual help via email from Morgan Meredith of Thread Theory, I was able to figure out how to accommodate his broad upper back and large biceps (slash and spread!). I made my second Newcastle Cardi from blue fleece I had in my stash.
Here’s how I added width to the bicep area.
I also decided to apply the same principle to the front and slash and spread to accommodate his not-so-flat waistline. BUT what I neglected to do was to true up the side seam. You see how the side seam at the bottom doesn’t go straight down from the armhole? It tapers in to the center. I should have straightened that line out. My man has a shapely bottom (OK, let’s be honest here, he has a nice ass!) and I needed more ease there, not less. But I didn’t notice this because all of this was new to me. It looks so obvious now. Go figure.
Meanwhile I consulted Sandra Betzina’s Fast Fit book (I got a used copy from Half Price Books. You can find buy it on her site here.) for additional tips. The sleeve was tight around the armhole so I needed to drop the armhole.
I slashed through the top of the sleeve head to add about an inch and then did the same to the front and back pattern pieces. I also added an inch of width to the front pattern piece as you can (sort of) see below. The front had three adjustments: slash and spread for the waist, 1 inch longer to accommodate longer sleeve head, 1 inch wider for his broad shoulders and a looser fit.
Before I cut my pattern pieces out I checked the front pattern piece front and button placket against a RTW cardigan sweater of his to see if it was wide enough. Check.
I cut out my pattern pieces from the blue fleece fabric.
… including some patch pockets, which I attached before I began sewing it up.
Apologies for the blurry photo but I wanted to show you the grading and clipping of the collar.
Warning: When you sew on the collar, you’ll be sewing many layers – the body of the cardigan, two layers of collar and the facing – for a total of four layers of fabric! It’s super thick and broke a needle when I made it the first time with the double-sided black fleece. Here’s the body, the collar, and the facing being sewn.
Here’s what it looks like with the collar and cuffs attached and buttonholes done. I added a bit of ribbon – sewn through the facing and back – to keep the facing down. It’s slightly off-center. Oops!
Here’s what version 2 looked like but as you can see the arms still needed more ease but the fit was much better. However, it turns out that he really wanted one in black and he wanted it to be a little longer. He was reluctant to tell me because he knew how much work I had put into sewing this one up. I also realized that my pattern adjustments still weren’t perfect. It didn’t fit well over the lower back/bottom – because I neglected to adjust the side seams after I did my slash and spread. It was too snug back there and it looked short.
Fast forward to December 2014, I had him try on the blue on again and made couple more pattern adjustments so I could make a third version – this time in black fleece. I fixed the front and back side seams, which should have been perpendicular to the bottom (see the extra paper added near the pink highlighter for the pattern notch?). This is why it didn’t fit well in the back.
And here’s mistake number two – I thought if I curved the back down like this, it would accommodate his bottom. Uh, wrong! What was I thinking? All I needed to do was fix the side seam. I later cut this curving bit off – but not before I sewed it up.
Here’s a side view of the third Newcastle Cardigan.
… and the back view.
See the band at the bottom? I added that because when I made my pattern adjustments, I forgot about adding length. And remember my pattern adjustment for the back wasn’t quite right. I didn’t need that bottom curving thing at all. My side seam fix was fine. Unfortunately, I had already added the band when I realized the curve looked funny. Sorry I didn’t take a photo of it before I cut it off (no way to unpick stitches from black fleece!). Yep, I removed that curving bit, made sure the back piece just went straight across, and added a new band at the bottom. I cut another strip of fleece folded it in half and attached it to the bottom.
Because I had to cut off the bottom, I lost my seam allowance and the bottom band is really close to the last button as you can see below.
At least it looks deliberate – matches the cuffs. If I make it again, I’ll just be sure to add length to the pattern overall. I’m so thrilled it’s done and he likes it! He’s proud to wear it out. Whew!
Have you sewn any menswear? Did you need to make any pattern adjustments? How’d it go?
I first saw the Newcastle Cardigan, a pattern by the Canadian menswear pattern company Thread Theory, from Ginger Makes. Ginger had made it for her dad and her Man Friend modeled it for her blog in this post. I really liked the pattern – finally a stylish pattern for guys! My husband had been bugging me for months, asking: When are you going to make something for ME?
But every time I flipped through the pattern books of the Big Four, all I saw were patterns for vest, pajamas, boring shirts, or formal wear. So I’d tell hubby that I couldn’t find a pattern that I liked and that the big pattern companies just didn’t make very many things for men and that 95 percent of their patterns were for women. His response: that’s sexist. Um, yeah.
I bought the PDF version of the Newcastle Cardigan. Then I had a reality check and it dawned on me that that it’s drafted for a rather trim figure – just look at the slender guy in the photo above! The pattern’s side seams actually curve in slightly around the waist. Hmmmm. My husband is nearly 6 feet 3 inches and is not a skinny 20-something guy. This should have been an immediate red flag but hey, I had some soft and fuzzy black double-faced fleece that I got on sale at Discount Fabrics in San Francisco so I forged ahead.
I cut the largest size – XL – with a slight adjustment, instead of following the inwardly curving waistline, I cut a straight side seam. I decided to leave off the yoke because of my thick fleece fabric and just cut the front, back, two collar pieces, facing, button placket, sleeves and cuffs.
I also added patch pockets. I took a sheet of U.S. standard letter paper (8.5 inches x 11 inches or approx. 21.5 cm x. 28 cm) and drafted a pocket. I used the short side of the paper as the height of the pocket and I made it 7 inches wide so the pattern piece was 8.5 x 7 inches (21.5 x 17.75 cm) wide.
I folded my rectangle in half and rounded one corner to get this:
Then I cut two pockets, folded over the top sewed a 1/2 inch, notched around the curve, pinned and sewed the pockets on to the right and left front sides. It’s hard to photograph black – so please excuse the poor quality of this photo.
I followed the clear instructions and sewed everything but sleeve cuffs and then I decided hubby needed to try it on. And uh-oh – waaaaaaaaaay too tight around the belly and not enough ease around the upper arms and armscye. Uh, oh.
Sorry no pix of the hubby wearing the too-tight cardigan – I couldn’t ask him to pose in something that didn’t fit – especially after I had to explain how I couldn’t “fix” this one and had to make another. Not only was there not enough fabric to magically create more ease, thread just disappears into this double-faced fleece. There was no way I could easily unpick my stitches. No. Way. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.
So I secretly tried it on in the bathroom and took a photo with my phone and posted in on my Instagram account @csews. If you follow me there, you may recall seeing it here. Without the cuffs the sleeves fit me. It was a little bit wide in the shoulders but it could work as a warm and fuzzy cardigan for me.
I was thrilled that I could wear it but then I felt guilty because it wasn’t supposed to be for me, plus I didn’t have enough of that double-faced fleece to make a second cardigan. I was about a 1/2 yard short. Darn. I went back to Discount Fabrics and they didn’t have anymore. But I did have some fleece in a nice shade of blue that I got on sale at Joann’s so I showed him that and he liked it so I decided to use that.
That was about a month ago, I’ve been making various pattern adjustments since then, which I’ll get into in another post. Meanwhile the black fleece cardigan remains a UFO (unfinished object) until I finish the one for hubby. I can’t finish it until I get his done. Stay tuned….
Have you made the Newcastle Cardigan? For a guy or for yourself? How did yours turn out?