During these times of social (sewcial?!) distancing, I'm finding that being creative in various ways is one of the things that's keeping me vaguely calm and I'm making sure that I've got a couple of projects on the go or lined up in my head so that I always have something to work on that fits my mood. One of the projects that I worked on last week is the Bertha cardigan by Tilly & The Buttons.
This is one of the patterns from Tilly's latest book Make It Simple, which I treated myself to the other week as part of my own version of panic buying (can't risk running out of projects!).
In Tilly's own words, "Bertha is a slouchy, open cardigan, cropped at the waist and with dramatic batwing sleeves. The deep cuffs and hem band add definition to the silhouette". I also added the optional pockets following the instructions in the book.
While it was initially the Safiya trousers/playsuit/dungarees that attracted me to the book, Bertha ended up being the first pattern that I made up because I wanted to use the leftover fabric from the Sheridan sweater that I made earlier this year, and this seemed like the perfect pattern to do that.
As with all of the patterns in Make It Simple, the Bertha cardigan is an easy project to sew. Even with adding the pockets, it was still a quick pattern to make and came together in just a few hours from start to finish over the course of a couple of evenings.
The instructions are very thorough, and help to make the sewing process quicker and easier by, for example, not telling you to press seams after each step but leaving pressing until you have a few things that you can press all at the same time. I found the instructions very easy to follow throughout, and the only thing I did slightly differently was to catch stitch the seam allowance of the neckband to the various other seam allowances around the neck edge. The instructions don't tell you to do that, but with my fabric (French terry) I felt like it would be a good idea to make the seam allowances sit nicely.
My measurements put me in a size 5 at the bust and between a 5 and 6 at the waist and hips. Being as Bertha has a relaxed fit and is designed to be worn open, I decided to make a straight size 5 and I'm happy with the fit that gives me.
As I already mentioned, the main floral fabric is French terry left over from my Sheridan sweater and came from Loubodu Fabrics (now sold out). I had just under a metre left, so far too much to let it go to waste but I knew whatever I used it for would need some colour-blocking and the Bertha cardigan seemed like a good project for that. I debated what colour to use as the contrast but in the end settled on a light pink, also from Loubodu Fabrics and also sold out, but they have other plain French terrys here. I'm happy with how the two fabrics look together, and thankfully they played nicely with each other while I was sewing.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with my Bertha cardigan. The style is more slouchy than I usually go for so it might take me a while to work out exactly how to best pair it with other garments in my wardrobe, but it's super comfy and feels lovely to wear. Plus it's definitely good to have another way to wear this beautiful floral fabric - I wouldn't have wanted to leave that sitting in my stash would I?!