A Review of the Men's Straight Fit Chapman Cardigan Pdf Pattern by Ellie & Mac.
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I picked up The Straight Fit Chapman Cardigan pdf pattern by Ellie & Mac while it was on offer. It's worth checking their Weekly Sale and Free Patterns Section regularly if you like a bargain! I have made the FREE Curved Hem Pocket Tank a few times as well as The Summer Nights Set so I'm familiar with their patterns. There has been some discussion on social media recently on the quality of the pattern drafting from E&M - apparently they are poor quality because the sleeves are cut out on the fold. I haven't found this to be the case personally, however, the garments I have made have been very simple, constructed with stretch fabric so it's difficult to judge and of course I don't have any dressmaking or pattern drafting training.
I thought that The Men's Chapman Cardigan looked like a useful garment that I could make for my husband - a light layer to wear over a t-shirt. It's a very simple shape with pockets and no fastenings. There is also an option to make a sleeveless version. There is a Curvy Fit Ladies and Unisex Children's version available to purchase too. Recommended fabric for The Chapman Cardigan is a 4-way, 50% medium weight stretch knit and it comes in sizes XS - 5XL (32" - 60" chest).
The Chapman Cardigan Sweater Sewing Pattern is comfortable, stylish and definitely, a must-have in your life. It features long sleeves with cuff, pocket option, and waistband. Straight fit style.
We are currently in lockdown here in the UK so I'm having to get used to buying fabric online. I decided to try Minerva Crafts because they have free delivery (in the UK) if you spend more than £20 whereas other sites calculate the postage depending on the weight of your order. I chose a black medium weight Sweater Knit. It arrived nicely packaged and generously cut and washed well. It felt more lightweight than I had expected but, as is usually the case, once The Chapman Cardigan was constructed it felt more substantial.
The Straight Fit Chapman Cardigan pattern was drafted for a male body type with a height of 5' 10". The pattern pieces have shorten / lengthen lines so it was easy for me to shorten the relevant pieces by 1.5". You are also given finished sleeve lengths which is useful - I chose to shorten the sleeves by 0.75".
Construction of The Chapman Cardigan is fairly straight forward. The pockets are lined (I used some scrap jersey for that purpose) and there are no fiddly fastenings to navigate. I chose to strengthen the shoulder seams by attaching some clear elastic tape before sewing. I used some wash-away tape to keep the clear elastic in place before serging the seams together.
I usually construct sleeve cuffs by sewing the side seam of the cuff and then folding it in half so that the wrong sides are together creating a tube that can be sewn to the sleeve. I had recently watched a YouTube video by Trish Newbury Designs called 'How to do the Ham Hot Method' and decided to give it a go. Essentially you fold the cuff right sides together lengthwise and then fold it again along the short length. You then sew through the four layers of fabric. When you turn the cuff out the side seams are perfectly lined up and it's far less bulky. I really liked the finish of the cuff on The Chapman Cardigan using this method and will try it again.
The major issue I had was attaching and topstitching the waistband. You are sewing with a 1/4" seam allowance but the seams are very thick where they intersect with the pockets so it was impossible for me to be able to press those seams up and topstitch them in place. In the end, I sewed the waistband to the body with a 3/8" seam allowance and then finished the raw edges with my serger. There was now enough seam allowance to press up before topstitching.
I picked up this tip on social media some time ago - use a hammer to flatten thick seams! Where the seams intersect can become very thick and my domestic sewing machine struggles to feed and sew over these areas. Using a small household hammer, protect your fabric with some scrap and give the seams a good whack! This flattens them out to make sewing a little bit easier. Be very cautious with delicate fabrics and don't over do it as you can snap the fibres - worth testing on some spare fabric first.
Final Thoughts: This is a very easy, quick to make garment. The pockets are useful for perhaps a handkerchief but don't function as the type you'd keep your hands in because of their position. I shortened The Chapman Cardigan following the instructions and the finished length is quite short on the body but this is actually more suitable if you spend time sat at an office chair or in a car.