When the Elmira cardigan was released as one of the patterns with the August issue of Seamwork, I knew right away that I'd be making one at some point. I really love the look of wrap cardigans, and the large bow closure is just the kind of thing that appeals to me. It was one of the first things on my autumn sewing list, and here's my version....
The Elmira is a cropped, fitted wrap cardigan that fastens with buttons and thread chain loops on the right on the inside, and a large ties at the left hand side.
As with all of the Seamwork patterns, it's a fairly speedy sew. I cut mine out one evening and sewed up everything apart from the loops and buttons the next evening. By the evening after that, I'd decided that I didn't want to use the loops and buttons, and instead I sewed in some poppers/press studs/snap fasteners/whatever-you-want-to-call-them that I had in my stash.
The fabric I used came from Girl Charlee, but I bought it several months ago and it doesn't seem to be in stock now. I originally ordered it intending to make a dress, but when it arrived it seemed a little lightweight for that so then it sat around waiting for me to decide what it would become.
When fabrics have been in my stash for a while, I tend to regard them as "free" (even though they're clearly not because I had to pay for them at some point) and will happily use them for anything, even if I'm not sure how they'll turn out (am I the only one that does that?!), and that's how this piece of jersey ended up being an Elmira.
It's a lightweight jersey; I can't remember the exact fibre content, but I'm pretty sure it's some sort of viscose blend because it's really drapey. It's also slightly sheer when stretched, which is what put me off using it for a dress. I knew wouldn't be a problem with the Elmira though, because I'll always be wearing at least a little vest top underneath it.
I don't think I would have wanted to use any knits that were much heavier than this. I noticed that one of the recommended fabrics in the Elmira description is French terry which sounds really cosy and tempting but, from my experience of French terry at least, I think that the knot/bow could end up being really bulky.
The fabric was nice to work with, and the instructions were clear and easy to follow. I'm not 100% sold on the finish that the pattern produces. The front pieces are self-lined, and the outer and lining pieces are joined together and the back neckline is finished (by turning under and stitching) before sewing the shoulder seams. I found that my shoulder seam allowances wanted to peep out at the neckline (because they're not enclosed in a band or anything) so I ended up top-stitching them down to keep them in place inside the cardigan. I'm not sure if that's a "thing" or not, but it worked, so that's what matters.
Based on my mesurements, I graded between a medium at the shoulders and bust, and a large at the waist. As it turns out, I really didn't need to grade up at the waist because I ended up taking the side seams in (probably taking them back to where they would have been for the medium), and I positioned the poppers so they're not right at the end of the inside front piece meaning that the overlap is bigger than it should be. I also added 1.5 inches to the length - fairly standard for me. With those adjustments, I'm fairly pleased with how the fit turned out.
The front crossover sits quite nicely when I'm wearing it. I've worn it once so far and, while I did have to adjust it a couple of times throughout the day, it wasn't constantly moving out of place as I feared it might. I would say though that this is definitely a wrap cardigan rather than a wrap top - you'll want to wear something under it unless you want the world to see your bra!
Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, and I love how it looks with a nice full skirt (I'm wearing it here with my denim Veronika skirt). I won't be rushing to make another Elmira instantly because I want to see how much I wear this one first. It's also reminded me that I have the Papercut Coppelia cardigan in my stash so part of me wants to make that one and compare the two. I could have my own little quest to find the perfect wrap cardigan! Have you made either of them? Or are there any other wrap cardigans out there that I should try?