A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Joining the M6996 party

This cardigan has been on my to-sew list forever.  It gets great reviews, and all the ones I had seen in the blogosphere looked fabulous.  The pattern is McCalls 6996, which I picked up during a $1 sale last summer but just got around to sewing up.
When I pulled out the pattern, I was surprised to see that I had bought the larger size range (L-XL-XXL).  Although most of me takes a larger size, I tend to do an FBA from a size medium shoulder in McCall's patterns. Unfortunately, there is no overlap in the size ranges.  It's either XS-S-M or L-XL-XXL.  I really needed a pattern with both M and L sizes.  I must have bought the larger pattern because I figured it would be easier to size the shoulders down than the rest up.

I made view D.  Working with what I had, I cut a Size L with a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment.  I shaved off 1/2" from the outer shoulder and from the top of the armscye, and cut the XXL sleeve. I normally would have just cut the L sleeve, but after sewing three shirts in a row with sleeves that were just a bit too tight, I decided to measure everything from scratch and somehow ended up choosing the XXL.

The entire cardigan was too big, but the shoulders and sleeves especially so.  I took the sleeves off and narrowed the shoulders another 3/4", tapering to nothing around the underarm curve.  Then I took the sleeve in 1/2" and cut down the sleeve cap to somewhere between L and XL.  After all that, there was still a good deal of excess fabric in the armpit and bust, so I took that in - starting at nothing from about five inches below the armscye and sewing up toward the sleeve, taking in 1" at the armscye seam, and tapering back out to nothing a couple inches down the sleeve.  The fit is pretty good now, but I could still narrow the shoulders 1/4"-3/8", for a whopping total of 1.5+" narrowed for the size that is supposed to fit my bust.

The fabric is a jersey knit purchased as a fabric kit from Fabric Mart last month when they were having a crazy sale.  It was listed as cotton/lycra, but I'm not sure how much cotton is actually in the blend - there is definitely a good deal of something drapey in it, maybe rayon.  It's cool to the touch and has a matte feel.

It also tends to get hung up on my backside, as many of my cardigans seem to these days.  I didn't think I had a particularly protruding behind, but maybe a swayback adjustment would solve the issue.  I don't particularly want to go putting center back seams in all my knits, though, so I might just keep dealing with the bum shelf wrinkles.

This is one of those pieces that goes with so many things, that it has instantly pulled together some of the more disparate parts of my wardrobe.  It's definitely a workhorse, and I will make more of these in the future.  

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!



  1. What a great staple! I'm on the hunt for a black cardigan with that basic shape (bit longer, though, to hit at low or just below the hip) in a heavier weight. It's a unicorn hunt.

    I've always found in Big Four patterns that one cannot trust body guide measurements. You have to go by the finished garment measurements and choose your size from there. Glad you figured out the fit on this one, even if it took a bit of fiddling! It looks great!

  2. Well, you've sorted out the fit quite well from the looks of it! It looks perfect around your shoulders! I have the same issue with the size ranges, btw. I'm either a 10 or 12 and those are often in different envelopes, as are M and L. SO ANNOYING.

  3. It looks like a good staple cardigan pattern. If you made it in a heavier fabric you could probably avoid the 'bum shelf' issue. It really does look good, though!


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