I made my girls some mini Marlo cardigans.
Now, before you get too excited, True Bias does not, as of yet, have a mini version of the Marlo pattern. Unfortunately. I checked first thing when I had the thought to make slouchy cardigans for the girls. If they had the pattern in mini, my job would have been a lot easier. They do have some kid patterns so maybe someday they’ll make a mini Marlo, but for these I had to resort to my own devices, which are unprofessional and mostly inadequate but can do in a pinch.
I made the mistake of making these cardigans as gifts for the girls for Christmas. And I do mean mistake because when you are making a pattern you’ve blindly “drafted” (I use that term verrry loosely here), it can be extremely beneficial to measure and try on as you go. But if you’re determined to gift them, there is no trying on and the whole of the process is riddled with doubts and worries. Will this stay on her shoulders? Are the arms too short? Wait a second, maybe they’re actually too long…Every step of the way I was worrying about the fit. And I would hold up the project for Ben at various points through the process and was pretty much exclusively met with more doubts from him.
“Seems kind of big,” He’d say hesitantly.
“It’s supposed to be oversized,” I’d respond defiantly but then immediately spiral back into my doubts.
Eventually my method became to just plow forward without thinking too much about it.
And truthfully they turned out! And I think they’re cute! And the girls have actually been wearing them! (Though Wendy was very unenthusiastic about opening clothes on Christmas morning…may as well substitute the word “clothes” with something like “stinky socks” or “pile of toenail clippings” with how she responded. But once the opening stage was over, she was excited about the clothes she got).
My method for trying to recreate the Marlo sweater but in kiddo form was haphazard and unscientific. First, I prepped and cut out a Marlo pattern in my size. Then I laid out and studied the pattern pieces. For a starting point on the girls’, I pulled out a drop sleeve tee they have in their dresser and used it to trace a tentative front and back bodice. Using the Marlo’s pattern pieces as a reference, I tweaked the bodice pieces to more closely resemble that of the Marlo’s, but on a miniature scale. The rest of the process really lacked finesse as math isn’t my strong suit and I don’t have any sort of training in drafting. But basically I winged it. I attempted to calculate ratios (don’t know if I did that correctly), used my Marlo pattern (both by tracing parts of it and just eyeballing others), and then tweaked until things looked right and lined up where they needed to. Ha! Maybe someday I’ll learn proper drafting (which would be awesome). Oh and despite the fact that my girls are different sizes, I just made one size of pattern for their cardigans. I didn’t want to mess with grading and their sizes are close enough!
The blue fabric was left over from the sweater I made myself just a bit ago. I had a ton of fabric leftover and the first thing that popped into my mind was to make a slouchy cardigan for my girls. The blue seemed perfect for Greta and I had a couple different options for Wendy but ultimately went with the same fabric, though different color, for her. The fabrics and rib knits are from Blackbird. The main fabric is a really lovely lighter-weight cotton and bamboo fleece with a bit of stretch. I hadn’t previously cut into the pink fabric but I still have plenty leftover-probably close to 2 yards- to make something for myself.
I batched sewed all three of the cardigans (mine and both of the girls’). The only issues I can recall were with my buttons/buttonholes. I feel like all three of the cardigans ended up with buttonholes that were too big for their buttons and subsequently just want to wiggle out of the hole and come undone. It’s really annoying and one of those things that makes me wonder if I was going too fast just trying to get them all done (I most definitely was). If it gets too bad maybe I can go in and zigzag stitch a portion of the buttonhole shut? I don’t know if that actually works as I’ve never tried it. But if I get desperate enough maybe I’ll give it a go.
Another issue I’ve noticed is that the cardigan can fall off the shoulders but I don’t know if this is the pattern’s fault or the wearer’s as I’ve only seen it happen on Wendy and she’s typically more inclined to not worry too much about her clothes once they are on her body (make no mistake, she cares very much about picking outfits and jewelry and hairstyles but once they are on, they might get covered in paint or chocolate or whatever and she won’t give it a second thought. Doesn’t bother her one bit). So when it comes to a cardigan sliding a bit off her shoulders, she may just not be giving it enough mental energy to fix it. And if I needed to adjust the pattern I’m not quite sure what I’d do? A narrow shoulder adjustment, probably?
I got all of our buttons at Hobby Lobby. I was down almost to the wire to finish these cardigans before we left town for Christmas so I was trying to be fast and efficient with the final steps-buttonholes and buttons. But I still needed buttons! I did what I often do, which is head to Joann’s trusting that they’ll have what I need. And, again, what often happens happened: I left empty handed, cursing myself for trusting them once again! Haha sorry I’m just being melodramatic. But you’d think that with an entire aisle of buttons I’d be able to find what I needed! Hobby Lobby, on the other hand, has a single 4-sided spinning rack for their buttons. Not only did I find the perfect buttons for each cardigan, I had to debate multiple good options for every one. And I’m sure I’ll go crawling back to Joann’s, probably before the week is up. In any case, I’m glad I was able to slap some buttons on these. They look adorable and it seems like the girls prefer to wear them buttoned up. Aqua tinted clear glitter button for Greta’s and pink flower button for Wendy’s.
I had fun picking out tags for each cardi. I don’t know if the girls notice details like that, but I enjoy adding them regardless.
Sometimes gifting to our girls who are so close in age can be tricky. I’ve fallen into both traps (the one where we get them something different and have to pay and the one where we get them something the same and have to pay, ha!). Making these sweaters for them was really fun because they’re very similar but have small difference (the color and the buttons) that I think play to each girls preferences but in a subtle enough way that they haven’t fought about anything. I will try to not make an untested and self drafted pattern as a Christmas gift again but all things said I think these turned out well. And they’ve been well received which just makes my heart happy!
Pattern: self drafted with heavy inspiration and help from the True Bias Marlo Sweater
Fabric/notions: Fabrics are bamboo and cotton stretch fleece and coordinating ribbing from Blackbird Fabrics/buttons are from Hobby Lobby
Cost: fabrics and threads from stash/buttons about $6
Would I make this pattern again?: Now that the drafting part is over, yes! But only as long as these still fit; I don’t know how to grade to a different size!