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The Blackwood Cardigan - Helen's Closet

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A few posts ago, I shared the experience of downloading my first pdf pattern  Yesterday I used the pattern to make the Blackwood Cardigan. I thought you may be interested in how I got on with the pattern, and if it worked.

First of all, I love it!! Although a faff to stick all those pages together, in all other respects it was the same as any other pattern. The instructions that also needed to be printed off were comprehensive, well illustrated, and easy to follow and I'd give a 10/10 for that! There are plenty of little speech bubbles in the instructions filled with extra little beginners tips. I'd be very happy to use another pattern from Helen's Closet if and when I come across them.

The front page says this is for an advanced beginner, but I think anyone could have a go at this - the only slight caveat to that, is the front bands as they go over the back neckline, need a little easing to get in the fullness at the back*.

The pictures of people wearing the cardigan, in the instructions and those online show it to be edge to edge but not terribly full, so at best, the edges only meet as shown in my photo above. I didn't twig this until after it was made. This isn't a problem and is quite lovely, but if you're expecting something a bit fuller or if you want to wear a jumper under it, you might like to make a bigger size.

The pockets were stitched onto the front of the cardigan using a piece of tissue paper between the fabric and the machine. This, and lots of pins, were recommended so that the pocket stayed flat when you sewed and didn't buckle. I tried this and it worked very well. I think it also helps to have the right needle in the machine - my fabric is sweatshirting, and I needed one for stretch stitching. As the pockets are on show, it's worth taking time over this. You could leave them off of course, but where would you put your tissues, pieces of string, conkers etc.

Sewing through the fabric layers and tissue paper.

Removing the tissue paper after sewing.


* I find the best way to ease in fullness is to either slightly gather, or if it's not much, then just fold all the layers over your fingers as you pin, making sure the extra bit of fullness is on the outside so it takes up more fabric.

I did like the sleeve construction; the sleeve top was sewn in along the armhole before sewing the sides, (above). This is easier than fitting it in after the sides have been sewn - it doesn't take much juggling this way because the armstic and sleeve head are the same size.

The sleeves are then finished by making a continuous line of sewing along the side seams and into sleeve seam (a little pivot at the turn). There's not much else to add - just a question of following through the instructions.


  1. Oh my!! I had no idea your blog address had changed hense not seeing any posts from you in a while. Glad you mentioned it on Insta. I have months of posts to read through this weekend. What a treat. Love the cardi btw.

  2. Ack you know me Beth. I'm a blog fidget. This one went out of use a while back but was getting more traffic than my new one so I swapped. Thanks for finding me and reading. Good to have your company!

  3. Hi, I have subscribed to you for awhile and changed to your new blog. LOVE the sewing. You are doing a great job, but it looks like what you are making is too big on you. You've a lovely figure but perhaps you like your clothing loose! It's very interesting about the pdf patterns but not for me at all. I'd just rather buy a pattern than go through all that printing etc. I also liked your flower painting very much. I thought the hi-flow acrylic ones were as beautiful as the Senelier one. xoxo

    1. Hello Aimeslee, and thank you for your comment. I confess I don't like tight clothing so would always err on the side of a loose fit, but next time I make something - which will be next week! - I'll bear that in mind. The PDF was a faff, but I wanted to try it and was glad I did as I thought it was a cracking pattern, but I'd opt for a ready printed pattern wherever possible. Thanks for the comments about the flowers too - very kind. I'm off to do a botanical painting taster day shortly so will report back on that on the blog.