Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pamela's Patterns Cool Cardigans #111 Banded Front

When I really started getting into fashion sewing again there were very few indie fashion pattern designers.  I recall going to my first sewing expo....a revelation to me after decades of only home dec sewing....and seeing several instructors who got me excited about fashion possibilities.  Some of those patterns were wildly inappropriate for my lifestyle (then conservative bank marketing/training staffer) and some were beyond my skill level at that stage.  But the pattern picture and personality would suck me in.  Two of my funnier experiences were with women who have now left the expo circuit:  Dos las Tejas and Karen Odam and The Fashion Sewing Group's Nancy Erickson.  I loved Karen Odam's big Texas heart and enthusiasm although what I was doing buying her patterns for my sporty or business life in Baltimore I will never fully understand.  I made the three layer long twirly skirt and remember trying to wear it on a casual work day when the long layers kept getting caught in my rolling office chair.  LOL
Dos de Tejas patterns  
Nancy's patterns were more classic and suitable and I subscribed to her newsletter and fabric swatching service for years.  Fashion Sewing Group patterns Other women had good results but I never had really success with her limited line of patterns because they were based on an early 90s design aesthetic of lower armholes which was quickly becoming passe.  (And to be honest, even when viewing those who were thrilled with their results I saw the same shoulder/armhole folds that I disliked on my versions.) But her drawings and early internet devotees kept me trying yet without exciting successes.  
Now I am a little older and wiser and yes, perhaps more skeptical about anyone having a "perfect pattern."  The indie pattern field has exploded and I am glad to see women, mostly, taking advantage of technology to create new products and new lines of distribution.  For me, however, turns out I need some basic TNT types of patterns that I can then adjust to my fabric, my life and that's what Pamela's Patterns are offering me these days.  I hesitated about even buying this pattern, the Cool Cardigan Banded Front, especially because the original pattern envelope front was so boring.  (Sorry, Pamela, you know I love you but you were wise to change up that printed pattern pic)  But once more, a 30% off sale at Fabric Mart and it joined the cart along with those Jalie pants from my earlier post.  And I am so happy that I added it because I think this pattern has real staying power and opportunity for some fun.  
#111 Cool Cardigan Banded Front

What I like is that Pamela has two front versions, one for B cup fronts and the other with either a dart or eased in dart space on the side seams....which is what this cardigan has.  She has adjusted for a slightly rounded back and forward shoulders so I can almost fit this one straight out of the envelope.  I do a slight 1 inch sway back adjustment, lengthen the sleeves and I am a happy girl in a short time.
This first one is the very same picture as my Jalie Eleonore pants.  It's a very slinky like knit, from Fabric Mart, and packs without a wrinkle so will be so versatile for traveling.  
Cool Cardigan #111 Banded Front from Pamela's Patterns
I made a size S and still narrowed the shoulders 1/2 inch.  I also narrowed the bottom 12inches of the sleeve by 1" total by my wrist.  
Since we are in southwest Florida for the month I have taken advantage of the weather to move the sewing room out to the back deck of our lovely rental condo.
so I could sew up this version of the same cardigan pattern:

It's a beefy, textured knit (yes, Fabric Mart) that has been aging.  I think the tropical print is perfect for the environment, don't you?  

Vacation version of #111 Cool Cardigans Banded Front pattern by Pamela's Patterns
Sewing outdoors is also a lot more fun when I am going through the tedious but necessary step of making a mock up of a new-to-me pattern.  I want a few TNT loose breezy tunic tops for skinny pants and shorts but also want a set in sleeve.  This pattern, New Look 6414, is just what I was looking for this month.  New Look 6414
My mock up revealed that yes, I will have to make a few pattern adjustments when I return to Baltimore:  add a bust dart, raise that front slit 1 1/2 inches, eliminate back neck slit and button and add 1" length to the tunic.  I see a few of these in my 2016 summer repertoire.  For once I was not complaining about "wasting" time sewing a mock up since I got to do it in this beautiful setting.

New Look 6414 mock up
It has been worth bringing my sewing machine and serger on our trip and even more worthwhile to pack our kayaks.  We have taken frequent trips right off the back dock and this past week were accompanied by dolphins as we made our way through the Naples Dock area.  My camera wasn't always quick enough but I think you can make them out just ahead on the right of Mr. Lucky's orange kayak.  
The bay itself is a little rough with a great deal of boat traffic in high season so we enjoy paddling up and down the many canals all over the area.  
We ogle houses, fancy pools and boats of every condition while getting exercise and sunshine. 
On our last excursion a woman came down to her dock area and asked if we wanted two chilled Le Croix waters.  How unexpectedly thoughtful and I promised to pay it forward.  
Here's hoping you find unexpected kindness in your life.


  1. Both versions of the cardigan are great! I love the outside sewing, it has to make creating even more enjoyable!

    1. Thank you so much, Carolyn. I've always been inspired by how beautifully you use TNT patterns to make your own unique and flattering wardrobe.

  2. wonderful cardis! That pattern looks like a winner.
    gorgeous setting for your sewing, too.

    1. You are so kind, Robin. It has been a joy to sew in such a gorgeous place, especially after a grey winter in our dark little house. Light, give me light:-)

  3. Oh, what a fun time you're having! I am deeply in love with Florida, can hardly believe been here almost 40 years. Love seeing your pics and the things you're enjoying. Naples is so pretty! My daughter is just up the road in Ft. Myers, and we both get into Naples occasionally for shopping. When I first moved here, it and Marco Island both were just villages. Amazing.

    1. You have certainly seen, changes, Coco, throughout Florida over the years. My parents started coming here with a trailer in the early 80s and it just keeps on growing. And yes, shopping, I've done some of that this month, too:-)

  4. Beautiful pictures! Sewing outside is fun, isn't it? I sometimes put a machine on my covered porch during the summer.

    1. Oh, I envy you that covered porch. At least our deck is raised so the breeze usually keeps most bugs away. Next house....covered porch:-)

  5. Oh my gosh, what incredible pattern making. Perfect use of this fabric. They look great on you.


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