The Eivy Cardigan can be sewn in a multitude of knit fabrics, in fact, pretty much any medium to heavier weight knit can be used. Which is one of the reasons that this sewing pattern is so versatile.
To sew the Eivy Cardigan, pick a knit fabric that has:
- At least 20% crosswise stretch. Crosswise is the direction that will be wrapped around the body.
- Minimal lengthwise stretch (ideally no more than 10-15%). Lengthwise is the direction from shoulder to hem, i.e the vertical direction.
How to measure the amount of stretch
Crosswise stretch: Place two pins horizontally on the fabric, 10 cm (4”) apart. Don´t measure the amount of stretch at the selvedge, since the fabric edges on knits often have more crosswise stretch there compared to the rest of the fabric.
Using a measuring tape or another tool to gauge the distance, pull the knit fabric apart to until you can’t stretch it anymore. In this case, the fabric went from 10 to around 13.5, meaning it has around 35% crosswise stretch.
Lengthwise stretch: Use the same method but stretch vertically instead (the fabric has around 10% stretch lengtwise, so it is a perfect choice for the Eivy cardigan.
Suitable knit fabrics for the Eivy
- Sweater knits
- French terry and sweatshirt fabrics
- Double knit/Ponte di Roma
- Quilted knits
- Double-face knits (i.e. knits made with a knit lining)
- Bouclé knits
- Felted wool knits
- Jacquard knits
- Velour knits
- Scuba knit
- And many more!
Here are some fun knit fabrics that are perfect for the Eivy cardigan:
What not to use for the Eivy Cardigan
- Lightweight spandex knits with 4-way stretch, such as jersey fabrics normally used for t-shirts and tops. These fabrics are not stable enough for this pattern and will not look good.
- Woven fabrics with no stretch (unless you modify the pattern by adding more ease).
Your fabric choice will affect the fit
Each fabric will accomplish a slightly different look and feel, even though they have the same stretch properties. For instance, thinner fabrics equal a roomier cardigan and a thick fabric mean less ease and a snugger fit.
Here are two examples that will show this clearly. Both samples are made in size 40 (US 8).
Roomy fit with lighter fabric
This Chanel inspired version is sewn with lighter weight jacquard knit with a bouclé surface. The fabric is definitely heavier and more substantial than a t-shirt fabric, but it still feels quite light to wear.
As you can see there is ample ease, In fact, if I wanted to have a really fitted cardigan, I could probably have gone down to a 38. For reference, I am between a size 38 and 40, but closer to a 40 than a 38.
Fitted style using a double-faced knit
Here I used a double-faced knit, meaning it has two layers of fabric. On the outside, it is a pretty thick sweater knit and on the inside, there is a layer of fairly thick jersey as a sort of built-in lining (i.e double-face).
This basically means I’m wearing twice as many layers compared to the Chanel cardigan. And you can definitely both see and feel the difference. In this case, size 40 was perfect whereas a 38 would have been hard to even button, even though the fabric has about 25% crosswise stretch.
Beware of expanding fabric
Another thing to consider is that some knit fabrics expand quite a bit during sewing and wearing, and they only recover to the original shape once you wash the fabric in water. So that is another aspect to keep in mind, especially if using a more loosely knitted fabric.
Want to use a super-thick fabric or a fabric with minimal stretch?
Then I recommend sizing up or adding ease, lowering the armhole (I show how to do that in the instructions) and perhaps also adding a bit more width to the sleeves.
All these alteration methods are described in the tutorial Adding Extra Ease to the Eivy Cardigan.
I used this method for this sherpa fleece version of the Eivy Cardigan, which worked very well. As you can see it has a roomier fit to suit both the thick fabric and the style of a collared sherpa fleece coat, which is all the rage right now.
And yes I’m also wearing my own Tova Mittens patterns, and stay tuned for the beret pattern which is something that I plan to release a version of pretty soon!