Newcastle Cardigan Is for Slender Guys

Photo of the male model wearing Newcastle Cardigan (from Thread Theory’s site)


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:

Pocket for Newcastle Cardigan

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.

pocket added to Newcastle Cardigan

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?

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How to Add a Patch Pocket to a Skirt – Tutorial

Patch pocket sewn in place

I started making this skirt (Butterick B5756) in August (how time flies!) using this cotton voile, which I got at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I’m making version C but a little longer (mid-calf length), which has gathered fabric below the yoke. But this version doesn’t have pockets so I decided to add one. I didn’t think side pockets would work because I’m using a lightweight fabric and I thought it would put too much strain on the side seams. Plus I didn’t know how it would look with the gathering. So I decided to add a patch pocket and see if I could line it up with the fabric design, which I haven’t done before. Here’s my brief tutorial on how to add a patch pocket to a skirt.


This fabric has a rather large repeat design so I decided to make a pocket that would line up with the pattern.

I needed to determine its size. So I thought about:

  • the purpose of the pocket, how I would use it
  • the weight of the fabric and how it would look.

When I’m at work, I often go to a cafe around the corner and I pay with my phone using an app called LevelUp. So I  wanted something that could fit my iPhone and building access card. However, my fabric is lightweight and because the skirt would be gathered, I didn’t want it to gape too much. This meant the pocket couldn’t be too wide.

Also, I knew I would be placing the pocket below the yoke but near the gathering because I didn’t want it to be too low on the skirt. Thus my pocket is narrow (X inches wide finished) – about the width of one “family” (yes, that is a family in the design!) – and wide enough to fit my hand. The height was determined by the fabric design. The family was about 8 1/2 inched tall. I added an inch to that measurement.

So I drafted a pattern with rounded corners, which seemed appropriate for the fabric design. I made it big enough to fit my hand.

Patch pocket pattern

I cut out the fabric.

Patch pocket cut from fabric

Then I ironed a strip of 3/8 inch double-sided fusible tape (I like “ultra soft double sided fusible” by Design Plus) to reinforce the fabric around the sides and bottom of the pocket and to make it easy to fold over. It’s paper-backed on one side so you iron over the paper strip, fusing the other side to the fabric, then remove the strip, fold over the fabric and iron. It’s tacky enough so the fold easily stays in place.

Patch pocket reinforced with double-sided fusible tape

I folded it over about 1/4 inch, ironed it and then folded it another 1/4 inch. Though I think I could have made a little narrower – 1/8 inch. I folded (and ironed) the top over 1/2 inch and then another 1/2 inch. Then I sewed the top fold down and checked how it would fit on the skirt front.

Patch pocket lined up

Then I pinned and basted the pocket in place (big enough for my iPhone!).

Baste patch pocket in place

Finally I was ready to sew!

Patch pocket sewn in place

And it matches!

Have you added pockets to anything? Have you ever lined up pockets to your fabric’s design?

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