Friday 19 February 2016

Opal cardigan review

I was really excited when I got selected as a reviewer for Paprika Paterrns latest pattern; the Opal cardigan.  Having recently made the Jade skirt I was impressed with their PDFs and instructions and excited to try the latest offering.  I made a couple of design alterations to my cardigan. These were partly due to the fabric I chose to use and partly because I wanted a bit of waist definition.

Actually despite having just mentioned making a change to create waist definition I like this photo without the belt-as the pattern intended-maybe that will teach me to meddle!

The fabric I used was this one from girlcharleeuk. I had originally ordered it for a different project but when it arrived I felt it was a bit fine and drapey for that purpose but as it was lovely and soft I did want to wrap myself up in it so it became my Opal cardigan. However as it is so fine, it was a nightmare to sew! I constructed most of the cardigan using my overlocker which slightly felt like I was using a sledge hammer to crack a nut, this fabric feels like it should be sewn up by fairies with tiny delicate stitches. The overlocker did the job though. My sewing machine could not cope with this fabric at all. It just looked like a mess when I tried to do almost anything, although the hem was done on the sewing machine and I managed not to mangle the fabric. One of the pitfalls of having such a basic machine is that it really struggles to cope with any complicated fabrics or stitches. For this reason I decided to ditch the pockets too. Actually with hindsight this was probably a good thing as the fabric is so drapey that I don't think they would have stood up as pockets very well.

So now let's chat about the pattern.  Having now made two of the Paprika patterns I am happy to sign up as a fan.  They're just so well drafted and I find the instructions great and full of specific and helpful details.  With the Jade skirt I appreciated the interfacing pieces and with this one it was a few lines on sewing up areas that will get strain such as the top of the pockets and shoulders.  Lisa suggests using clear elastic or a piece of jersey cut on the grain.  I had never seen this second method recommended before and decided to give it a go and it was great.  I think it particularly helped with my super fine fabric.

I decided that since my fabric was going to be draping over every lump and bump anyway, I would add some belt loops and a belt to allow me to close the cardigan (I prefer to do this when I'm cold) and also to create some waist definition.  I was super easy to do this.  I just created 2 little tubes for the loops and a bigger, longer tube for the belt.  Before I sewed the side seams I just draped the cardigan over my mannequin and marked the waist point and pinned the loops to it and then just sewed up the side seams as instructed.  One thing I would say about this pattern is that the arm come up very long.  This is fine if like me you have super long monkey arms and like having your sleeves come down over your hands but something to bear in mind if you're not.  The dopey photo below was the only one where you could see the length of the sleeves with my fingers peeping out.

While the fabric I picked really wasn't that appropriate, I still see myself getting some wear out of this version.  I'm also seriously drooling over a couple of the versions I've seen so far, like Lisa's long version and Charlotte's woven version.  A coatigan like one of these may pop up in my future.  How about you, are you tempted by this pattern?

For any of my US readers, as part of the Opal launch, Gorgeous Fabrics are offering 20% off all their full price sweater knits with the code PAPRIKA20 until the 15th March. 

I am on serious count down to my Friday night glass of wine.  Happy weekend all!  Hope you all have fun wine or non-wine related weekends planned.


  1. Lovely:) I've been wearing my Opal all day. I have this same fabric but haven't sewn it up yet.

    1. Thanks. Your versions are so lovely, they're making me want to start sewing another one instantly.