Wednesday, 30 March 2016

MiY Longley Cardigan with Knit/Bias Band Neck Finish Tutorial

 I've got to know Wendy Ward  through Instagram, especially sewing photo events like #miymarch16 when you post a picture each day following a list of sewing themes.  She's got a long background in the industry and I have huge respect for her work. She explains the basics of sewing so well- see this example on sewing machine settings from her blog - and is an industrious and independent spirit writing books as well as regular features in sewing magazines, running workshops and designing her pattern line.  I got in touch with her recently for my Sewing World column and when we were emailing each other she asked if I'd like to try a pattern and review it here.  I chose the Longley Cardigan and here it is!

Wendy's patterns come in a bag and with a detailed A4 size instruction booklet.  The pattern pieces are printed on large paper- copy shop style.  For this style I checked my bust measurement which fell smack in the middle of the small range and cut the pieces out of paper without tracing- I know living life on the edge.

It is a beginner friendly pattern- a page of the pattern is dedicated to information about knitted fabrics- their characteristics and how to sew them.   On the pattern pieces, the seam edges are given letters and these are referred to in the instructions.  There are lots of diagrams to support the written instructions and the Longley Cardi can be made using an overlocker or on a standard sewing machine.  I used a mix of a Brother 1034d overlocker and my Bernina 830 record with a walking foot.

I made the cardigan from a lovely quality draped cotton loopback medium weight fabric from Ditto Fabrics.  I've bought a selection of jersey fabrics from Ditto over the years and they have always been of very good quality and this was no exception- sadly it has sold out for the moment.  When sewing a thicker knit fabric I usually refer to this very helpful Indie Sew Bulky Knits blog post and I used the settings specified as that machine matches mine!  On my sewing machine I use a Bernina walking foot and a 90 ballpoint needle.

The pattern is clear and easy to follow.   The cutting plans are accurate and there is relatively little fabric wastage and the fabric quantities specified were perforce.  I used a knit that was over 150cm wide and it took 2 metres (that width/quantity applies to all three sizes).  The only thing I changed on the pattern was not adding the sleeve cuffs.  I read Rae's post and also Anna's review before I sewed it up so I knew the sleeves would be on the long side and so I turned up the sleeve ends by 1 ¼" and sewed a double needle hem using this method.

I added a few little extra touches that are decorative and have a little function including adding a strip of fabric over the back neckband seam.  This is a ready-to-wear style finish that you see in sweatshirts and hoodies.  It makes for a smooth neck and stops the seam flipping up after it's been pressed down.   I used some Girl Charlee floral jersey that I had left over, it has a small amount of stretch. You could use twill tape or hem tape

Adding a Bias Neck Strip
  • Cut a 1 ⅛" width 14" strip of jersey or bias fabric.
  • With the fabric strip wrong side up, using a Hera marker or smooth bladed knife and a ruler, make a crease along the length of the fabric ¼" from each edge.  Fold and press the short edges of the strip in  by ¼" in 
  • Place the fabric strip along the neck seam (this should be pressed downwards).  The crease of the strip will be lying against the seam line. Pin in place.
  • Stitch along the crease using a slight zig zag to allow for a small amount of stretch.   The start and end of the strip will be folded over.   At the end of the stitching, trim the strip so there's an extra ¼" to fold inwards and stitch over it.  My stitch settings were 0.5 width and 3 length.  Flip the fabric over the stitching and press downwards. 
  • Fold the long raw edge so it tucks under the neck seam and pin into place. 
  • Starting at the short edge and pivoting at the corners, sew along the bottom edge of the strip.
I added some top stitching along the shoulder seams, the front neck band edges and the hem band just using a long straight stitch.  These aren't areas that need to stretch and even though I had pressed everything I wanted the seams to stay firmly down plus I liked the look of the stitching.  The fabric is such great quality and it didn't distort or go wavy-  on a lighter weight cotton/lycra jersey it may not have worked so well!

spot the stray thread!  Perils of a dressmaker in photoshoot...
I love the result.  I've worn it every days since I completed it on Sunday,  Even with the arrival of Spring, I know I need long sleeves for many more months and even well into the summer.  The Longley Cardi is perfect for keeping warm working from home, wearing to yoga and pilates as an extra layer, throwing on as a jacket when the sun's out.  My daughter has already put her order in so a second is definitely on the cards- I just need to find the right fabric for her.  I think it would work well in a Ponte Roma too with a smarter and more structured jacket sort of look.  Recommended!

Size Small
2m of 160cm wide fabric
Changes- removed cuffs, turned up sleeve ends by 1 ¼".  


  1. Kerry I just love love love what you've done here and huge thanks for taking the time to write such an in depth review and fit my pattern into your busy sewing schedule. I hope the fact you've already worn it so much means it's earned its place. Great tips on adding that back neck binding and topstitching - it adds a nice special touch that's also practical (more comfy on the neck) which I totally approve of! I know the long cuffs aren't for everyone and I do like the many versions I've seen without, I don't think anything is lost by leaving them off. I put them on for myself as I have long monkey arms and like warm garments that bit overlong too. I hope your daughter will enjoy hers as much too! Thanks again, Wendy

  2. Ooh! I love this, Kerry! I desperately need a little jacket for spring - something casual, short and not a hoodie but still young and fun. This is perfect! And thank you for those handy dandy links to useful blog posts. Bookmarked!

  3. That looks like a useful and stylish item to have in the wardrobe and I like the floral beck binding for a colourful detail.
    Which walking foot do you have for your bernina sewing machine? Bernina's or a generic? I'm thinking of getting one but not keen to spend £100 on one.

    1. I bought the Bernina one, I randomly found it in the UK on sale which was unusual and I paid around £80 and it was a lot and I did consider a generic one but I was glad I did, it was worth it. It is brilliant!

    2. Thanks for your reply. That's useful to know.

  4. Very nice - I'll have to check out some other versions as I'm always keen on a good cardi pattern.

  5. I love this cardi!! *adds it to the list*


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