Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan – new pattern!


 I love trying a new pattern from Grainline Studio. Jen is simply one of my favorite designers – her drafting is so professional, and her designs are trendy and fresh. Lots to like…

She released the Driftless Cardigan just a few days ago. I got it within 5 minutes of the announcement hitting my email inbox. Check this out!

From the pattern description:

“The Driftless Cardigan drapes beautifully and has a casual, yet polished appearance. It’s the perfect cardigan for cooler temperatures throughout the year…This pattern features pockets and drop shoulders. View A is straight across the bottom, while View B has a split hem and is longer in the back.

Techniques involved include sewing with knits, straight seams, attaching binding, thread chains, inserting buttons and buttonholes.”
I decided to go with View B – buttons on sweaters don’t interest me, and I was intrigued by that back hem band. How fun is this!

The pattern has 10 pieces for either view. That’s a lot of pieces for a cardigan sweater – but they make for such nice details. Here’s a look at the inside front – those great pocket bags (I had to lighten the pic a lot, purple is almost a bad as black for showing details):

And here’s the nifty back – the two main pieces echo the front piecing, which I think adds a lot of interest to what would otherwise be a sea of fabric:

This pattern is rated at Advanced Beginner level, so I sort of thought about that as I was making the cardigan. I think it’s valid – the most challenging construction is probably attachment of the neckline and hem bands. Not because it’s hard, but because it needs to be done carefully so that the band width is uniform and the finishing is nice. 
The pockets might look complicated, but they’re actually very easy to sew. I have to credit the pattern drafting on this point – everything fits so well, and it’s very gratifying to see the pockets come out so well, particularly in a knit.

As one might expect, the instruction booklet is very well written and illustrated. So the ‘hard’ parts have lots of guidance for anyone trying some new sewing skills. 

A few sewing notes – well, a lot, but I hope they’re helpful:
  • As noted, I sewed View B, and cut the size 10. Love the fit!
  • Being brave, and because this was intended to be a muslin, I used a poly/lycra sweater knit from Fabric Mart by way of France. It’s closely knit and has a very small horizontal rib – which meant I had to be super careful in laying out and cutting the pattern so those ribs wouldn’t wander around. Aaacck.
  • My cutting regret: I failed to note that the pattern comes with 1/4″ seam allowance. I prefer to sew knits with 1/2″ allowances, and I usually draft my tissue with the added width. Next time… And here’s a tip – it’s very dangerous to cut notches into 1/4″ allowances! I marked all of them with a small gold safety pin instead. Worked great.
  • This sweater knit is kind of squishy and thick, so I spent a good bit of time finding the best settings for my machines (the seams are sewn first with a lightning stitch, and the seam allowances are serged together). I had to release the foot pressure on my sewing machine, something I haven’t had to do before – but what a difference it made. And I didn’t use my walking foot. Another surprise, but it sewed better with a regular foot.
  •  Because of the weight and ample stretch in my fabric, I staystitched the neckline and front edges about 1/2″ in from the edge, and removed the staystitching once the bands were in place. 
  • IMHO, the sleeve is very narrow – I don’t think I would be comfortable with a shirt sleeve under it. And the cuff is fitted as well – mine is only 7.5″ around. Redrafting would be easy – just add width to each side of the bottom edge and redraw the side seams. The cuff would also need a little more width. E.g., if an inch is added to the bottom width, one might increase the width of the cuff by 1/2″ – 3/4″ to accomodate it.

  • Finishing the front band: I serged the inside edge, and secured it by stitching in the ditch on the outside, along the band/front seam. That open-toe foot is great for stitch-in-the-ditch because you can see where you’re going.

  •  I didn’t use thread chains to secure the pocket bags – I just didn’t need them. If you want to try them, Jen has a tutorial on her blog site for making them.
  • Last note – I lengthened the front and back by 1″, as I’m a little taller than the fit models for most patterns.

I really like this pattern – it would be great in a mid-weight jersey or light sweatshirt fabric as well.

Parting shot: I just realized this morning that March is National Craft Month, which excuses the mess on my sofa…there’s barely room enough for me 🙂

Bye for now – Coco

19 thoughts on “Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan – new pattern!

  1. Hello – I just came across this post while researching the Driftless to make my own – your post is such a useful review so thank you, I will note the point about narrow sleeves as I often have issues with bicep fit – I'm between 8-12 so will cut a straight 10 as you have here. Beautiful cardy and colour 🙂


  2. You have put a lot if care into making this and it really shows Your cardigan looks so professional and a beautiful colour. I has never seen an open toe foot before ! Thanks for those tips.


  3. I know to my sorrow about snipping notches into narrow seam allowances. Your tip about the pins is genius! I've become a huge cardigan fan and this looks like a great one. Love that color on you!


  4. Looks comfy/cozy. I do like the sleeves, thanks for the warning that they are close fitting. Good to know about this pattern company, still I have so many patterns and so little time. Beautiful job as usual!


  5. I had to laugh. I have what my husband calls “my nest” on the sofa, too! Great review. Thanks for the details and this is one comfy looking cardigan.


  6. The color of this cardigan looks great on you. Love the interesting use of pockets with this cardigan. Looks great on you. I have added this pattern to my growing wishlist.


  7. Great feedback, thanks so much Coco. I'm usually a size 8 in Grainline, but I always add to the lower side seams. My hips measure the same as yours, and I have broad shoulders, so in this drop shoulder style, I think I'll just cut a straight 10 with added length for my 5'8″.


  8. Oh, I think this would look so good on you, you wear things so well. You're right about the narrow sleeve, Jen even mentions the rationale somewhere – but someone might want to wear a long-sleeve tee under it. I gave it a go but it wasn't comfy, so I'm just wearing a cami in these pics!


  9. Thank you! good point on the sizing…I'm always conscious of the hip thing, last place I want to be too tight. However – this pattern has generous ease top to bottom, so I chose my 'usual' Grainline size 10. The size 10 is made for a 40″ hip, mine is 41.5″, but the cardi has a finished hip of 48″ in the size 10! I sewed the size 10 unchanged except for adding to the length. Didn't even have to trim the sleeve. Fits great. Go for it!


  10. So excited you posted since I've only seen the website version and everything looks good on Jen and her model. Both the sweater and you look great! Did you choose your size based on hip measurement? Just curious because I'm between sizes but don't want to “blend” and lose the silhouette.


  11. I didn't like this at all when the pattern was released but now on seeing yours I have to take it all back. You have highlighted the details of the cardi beautifully and it looks great on you. I think that the narrow sleeve is to balance the looseness elsewhere – otherwise it could easily look like you're wearing something five sizes too large for you. Anyway, beautiful colour and you look terrific.


  12. Thanks Angela! I agree – these narrow sleeves are a weird phenomenon. I've gotten so I measure sleeve patterns really carefully – that's a lot of fabric to mess up!


  13. A lovely cardigan — deep purple is another color that suits you! Your notes are helpful as well. I am wondering what is up with the narrow sleeves these days — both you and Bunny (two very slender people) have commented upon it, so I know it's not just me and my beefy biceps;)


Thank you for stopping by! comments are welcome and appreciated - Coco

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