As a card-carrying germophobe, the Coronavirus is scaring the crap out of me…so naturally it’s time to talk about sewing and the weather, right?
Right. Well, Spring in Northern California has always been a little unpredictable, and in the past few weeks we’ve had everything from sunny highs in the 80’s that make me rush toward my swim stash, to windy, sleety days that have me wrapping myself in my sweater knits, wondering whether I should sew them, or just use them as blankets around the house.
Also under consideration is the fact that I’ve been spending the last week cleaning out my closet, in preparation for our move into 200 square feet of livable space. I’ve worked at carefully considering each item in my walk in (which is the size of my future living room, dining room and kitchen in our RV) and sorting it into one of three piles- donate, storage, or keep on hand.
For an item to make it into the third category requires the ultimate versatility- at least 3 seasons of use, a neutral but attractive color palette, and style that works equally well with leggings on a museum day as it does with fancy pants for those elusive date nights.
Fortunately, a good cardigan or two (or three….so hard to narrow things down!) satisfies all these prerequisites, and I was delighted to distract myself from the moving chaos by jumping into the Calgary Cardigan test.
Like all New Horizons patterns, the Calgary has options to spare- three lengths (hip, tunic and knee), four collar styles (straight bands, tall curved bands, short curved bands and a square shawl collar), long banded sleeves and an option for fancy in-seam pockets.
During the early testing phase I made a knee length short curved-band version, that didn’t make it to photographs, because my “moving brain” (it’s worse than baby brain, if you’re wondering) totally stuffed up the pockets and collar.
The instructions are totally fine- I just had a big brain fart, and couldn’t unpick all the serging without creating massive holes in my bamboo french terry (seriously, FT is the WORST fabric to have to unpick…all those little loops- argh!). I’ll repurpose the fabric into something for one of the kids soon (because bamboo french terry is too amazing to waste!), but I decided that any future knee length versions would probably be best made in a lighter weight fabric anyway- I felt a bit swallowed up by the heavier fabric in the longest length.
Calgary #1: Hip Length, Short Curved Bands
Considering this, my next version featured the hip length, short curved bands, in a lightweight brushed waffle knit from Knitpop.
This fabric is so soft and light it literally feels like wearing an Easter Bunny around- one of those adorable little white ones that makes you want to eat Cadbury eggs and tickle its pink little nose. I usually avoid white for tops, but I’m hoping this one lasts, because its simply delightful to slip into, and adds a nice touch of lightness to my wardrobe, which lately has felt a little too heavy on the blacks and grey’s.
The curved bands are one of the first things that attracted me to this design- I love my cocoon cardigans, but I don’t love how the bands drape, so the option for a contoured band was a welcome change. The contoured bands do require more fabric, since you’re cutting four of them for the front, and two for the back, but you can color-block this part if you’re coming up short, and I think the smooth look is worth the extra yardage.
Cocoon Cardigan Comparison
The only other cocoon I’ve sewn is the Patterns for Pirates cocoon, and compared to that, this one has a looser fit in the sleeves, but a slimmer, more contoured fit through the body, which I enjoy. The pockets are also different (see my second version below), and feel a bit fancier. Of course, this one includes options for contoured bands, which the Cocoon does not.
I have several favorite Cocoon Cardigans (see them here, and here, and here), but I think the Calgary will become my new go-to pattern, because of the slimmer body fit. I do like the option that the Cocoon has for longer bands on the sleeves, but that’s an easy hack.
Calgary #2: Square Collar
My next Calgary features a leopard print double knit from JoAnns that I purchased this week, specifically for this test.
What I NEED to be doing is cleaning out my fabric stash, not adding to it, but this fabric caught my eye as I was running into the store for a new spool of thread (you know the story!), and I reasoned that since it would get used right away, it wasn’t really breaking the rules, right?
Full disclosure- I didn’t even wash it before I cut into it, I was that excited. How I can be a hypochondriac and not wash fabric from a major retail store is one of my special personal ironies, but there it is.
This is the square/shawl collar version, which includes an option for lining the front, if you choose. I didn’t want to purchase extra fabric, and I didn’t mind the wrong side of this one showing, but it’s nice to have the option, in case you’re using something with a less attractive wrong side.
This view only includes a knee length, but I felt like the difference in the collar and fabric weight/drape from the bamboo made it workable, and I ended up with a cardigan I can’t wait to wear to work this week!
I added the pockets to this version, and I love the way they’re done. If you’re going to add pockets to your Calgary, I would recommend two things: 1) finishing all edges of the pockets and the side seams of the cardigan before sewing and 2) tacking down the pockets int eh front after sewing with a couple hand-stitches, so they don’t flap around as the cardigan flows.
I absolutely adore the back curve of the cardigan, and in the unlined version, the double hemmed front edge is both easy to do and looks clean and chic.
Another option would be to finish the front edge with bias binding, which would add a front contrast, and I think a sleeveless “vest” version of the square collar would be fun too. Finally, while only one length is offered with this collar type, I think you could easily shorten or lengthen it for a different look.
Not only do I have to carefully consider which clothes I need to bring with me, but I also have to carefully evaluate which patterns I’ll bring, and I anticipate this one making the cut, due to the excellent fit, great options, and hacking opportunities.
Help me pack!
Which leads me to an important question- help me pack by telling me what your top 3 patterns would be if you were limited on space!
Finally, as proof of our crazy weather, here’s a photo of me on the same day we took these photos, just a few hours earlier- soaked to the bone after running a half marathon in the rain. It was actually a beautiful race, but my poor cheering squad really needed a hot chocolate after all that standing around in the cold, waiting for mama to finish.
The rain must have worked for me, somehow, because I got a PR in this race- 1:48- all while wearing my favorite Super Gs from this post!
Note: This post contains affiliate links! If you want to purchase the Calgary using my link, you can do so HERE. Thank you for your support- I appreciate your readership and the opportunity to make a little money sharing my makes with you! If you’re interested, you can also connect with me on Instagram here, or check out my YouTube tutorials here.