Monday, March 4, 2013

Ivey Abitz-Inspired Cardigan

The new-to-me work of Ibey Abitz is chock-full of inspiration. Her Eliot Jacket particularly appeals to me with its vague Victorian/steampunk visual references, asymmetry and flexible practicality.

I'd like to make this more than once, but for my first interpretation I decided not to study the images of her garments closely. Working with not-big-enough-for-any-practical-purpose scraps of double knit wool, my goal was only to explore the basic idea of a curving front panel with one longer side on a cropped sweater.

The size of my fabric scraps limited the length of the "point" which could be achieved.
Although it looks like a vest, this is really a little jacket with sleeves. I had to piece the gray fabric to have enough length for long sleeves. That seam is topstitched, which I hope makes it look more intentional.
As you can see, I used hook and loop tape as the closure. To make this trim as visible as possible, the hooks are upside down, making them a bit of a struggle to fasten!

Strangely, I used an 80s-era New Look pattern as the starting point for this project. Though it needed lengthening, that short bodice section was a good compliment to the limited fabric. I traced a full front, redrew the neckline and the curving front, cut the two pieces apart and then (true confessions), added a seam allowance to the center front when cutting out the pieces in fabric. In hindsight, I should have added more to each center front to provide for a bit more overlap. The neck and front edges were finished by turning 1/2" to the inside, fusing with 1/2" Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible tape and topstitching. Looking at the Ivey Abitz jacket now, it's clear from some of the lighter-colored examples that she has used curved front facings, which I would also do in future jackets (when not struggling with a fabric shortage!).
My jacket is slightly asymmetrical in the back, which was a bad idea. Not terrible, but it would work out better for the two front pieces to be the same length at the side seams, and for the back to follow suit. I did a curved upper back adjustment on this pattern and I think it makes a wonderful difference. I get much less diagonal wrinkling at the lower part of the back armhole when I add length to the top of the center back.

Since the jacket was looking too short, I finished the lower edge with a band (just a rectangle pressed in half lengthwise and attached to the jacket at the lower edge). Again, necessary due to fabric limitations. I also considered a ruffle (from a slightly lighter-weight and color gray wool knit), but it changed the overall look to a much fussier one.

The different-ness of this short sweater really appeals to me. Working from something other than bits and pieces, I would never have combined these elements, but I like the way they play together. Most wonderfully, this little topper is nice and warm! 


  1. I love it- the whole outfit just works so well- nicely done!

  2. Neat cardigan. I found your blog searching for Ivey Abitz. Can I say I'm smitten with her style? The Elliot jacket is one of my favorite pieces. I'd love to develop a pattern for it. She uses it in nearly every collection. I like to wear a short, light cardigan, so I think it would be perfect for me. I may try some with old t-shirts as fabric until I can get it right. I could see this being my first TNT pattern and getting a lot of use.