Driftless Cardigan Hack: Making it for a Man

I realize I’m getting awfully close to Halloween but still not posting anything costume related. This year’s been weird (understatement) and I am grateful that we still have reason for costumes although our festivities will be anything but normal. In any case, I’ve got two costumes in the works but we’ve had some hang ups so hopefully I can get them finished very, very soon! And then I’ll post about them weeks after Halloween as per my norm! (Ha, I’m the worst blogger, if I can even call myself that!).

But enough about our odd American holiday, how about something that is seasonally appropriate: cardigans!

I suppose that’s one good thing about the weather getting colder is that it invites all sorts of warm cozies. I might not be super in to cold weather but I’m all for warm cozies. You may recall the Driftless cardigan I made in the spring (when the weather was cold for another couple weeks). When I showed Ben my cardigan, he immediately asked that I make one for him. I don’t make clothes for Ben as often as he asks me to, and this request was specific and reasonable, so I decided to make it happen.

So. My first attempt was a huge fail. First, I didn’t pattern match at all (I wasn’t thinking!) so when I got to assembling it, I realized what a big mistake I had made in cutting and tried to fix it by stretching the pattern into submission but I knew it was too little too late. (It’s times like these that I want to point to when people tell me {people who don’t sew, mind your} I’m a very skilled seamstress. I might make a lot but I’m still a beginner in the world of sewing clothes). Once it was recognizably a cardigan but still missing some important parts, I had Ben try it on to see what the fit was like. Here’s what we found:

Hopefully Ben will forgive me for posting this picture but as you can see dropped, tight sleeves are NOT the best choice for a strong armed, handsome man like my husband. This mistake ended up being a good thing because turns out I didn’t love that fabric anyway, plus all the self-inflicted pattern matching issues I was having. Scrapping this thing wasn’t difficult.

So I went back to brainstorming to figure out how I could make this work. We wanted a slouchy, comfy cardigan that had comfortable sleeves. We liked the features of the Driftless: the buttons, the pockets and the oversized look. But obviously the sleeves had to go.

I think sometimes I make problems bigger than they need to be. I tried and tried to figure out how to fix this and finally I realized a simple (like super, super easy) hack would fix the problem:

I got out the Sage tee pattern I’d used to make Ben a t-shirt earlier and laid it directly on top of the front (top) Driftless pattern piece. I drew in the armscye and did the same for the back piece. I used the Sage sleeve pattern (although I did have to extend it to make it a long sleeve). It was so, so easy. The slope of the shoulder was even the same, so it really took no finagling. I will mention that you could theoretically use any knit men’s t-shirt pattern and get similar results. The Sage tee is free so if you don’t have a tee pattern, that’d be a great place to snag one for this particular project.

The construction isn’t really a whole lot different from the standard Driftless aside from the fact that this now has a set in sleeve rather than the drop sleeve, but all in all the cardigan comes together very quickly. The most difficult part is probably the buttons, in my opinion, but there are only 4 so it’s really not even that bad at all.

The fabric I used for this was one I got during a remnant sale at LAFinch fabrics. It’s a Famous Maker sweater boucle knit. I got 3 1/2 yards for like $18 (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, their sales are the best). So I made this cardigan and I definitely have more fabric for when…ever I need it. Which you never know when that’s going to happen.

I think this hack turned out great, BUT Ben has been concerned that it’s a little too long. So if I tried this hack again, I’d probably take off some inches from the top and the bottom pattern pieces to make it hit closer to his hips.

I think men’s patterns can be really difficult to find and really difficult to fit (mostly because I do most of my sewing when Ben’s not here to try it on!). Also, I know my preferences but I don’t always know Ben’s preferences. And, in fact, I’m not sure he knows his preferences (I don’t think cardigan length has ever been on his mind until he wore this one a couple of times). Anyhow, I was excited that he liked something I already had the pattern for and I was pleased at how little alteration it took to turn it into something appropriate for a guy.

In other news, I’m thinking about making Ben some clothes for Christmas so if you’re experienced in Men’s patterns, please send me your faves because I don’t know what I’m doing.

So anyway, even with Ben’s worries (about it being too long), imma call this one a success.

Pattern: Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan mashed with Elbe Textiles Sage Tee
Size: 12 for the Cardigan and C for the Sage tee
Adjustments: hacking the Sage’s sleeve and armscye onto the respective pattern pieces of the Driftless, and lengthening the Sage sleeve to make it a long sleeve
Fabric: Famous Maker boucle sweater knit
Cost: fabric-less than $10 (for the amount I used)
pattern-in stash
Would I make this again?: Yes, I love the Driftless! If I make it for Ben again I will shorten it by about 2 inches, but I’d love to even try this hack in my size, just for a little variation

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