The Esme Cardigan is a fun, fashion-forward cardigan pattern perfect for medium or heavyweight knit fabrics with minimal stretch. The oversized look and dropped shoulder seams are right on-trend, and this would be a great project for beginners!
The cardigan is made with a black and white metallic boucle knit from Stylish Fabric. Sadly, this fabric is no longer available on their website. I think this cardigan would look best sewn with knits that look more dressy as opposed to casual. Heavily textured fabrics, wool, or wool blend knits would be great options. However, an Esme sewn in a casual cotton sweatshirt jersey or cotton French terry might look more like your grandma’s house coat and less like a chic cardigan. FYI, B&J Fabrics’ website has a huge selection of wool knits and textured novelty knits right now. They are perfect for the Esme. Stylish Fabric still has a few heavier knits in stock too.
I made several small changes to this pattern. I shortened the length to hit just above the knee, and also made a slight high-low hem. The back is 2.5 inches longer than the front. Also, I eliminated the seam that originally joined the upper and lower front pieces, and I changed the pocket style from in-seam pockets to welt pockets. This particular Named PDF pattern has seam allowance and stitching lines marked which made pattern hacking easy. For the welts, placket and cuffs, I used the wrong side of the fabric, and I love how it turned out! I wish all fabric had a beautiful wrong side!
My pockets are two inches narrower than the original in-seam pockets. I was able to use the same pattern piece for the pocket bag, but I trimmed the sides down to match the new pocket width. Sewing welt pockets in knits uses the same process as inserting welt pockets in woven fabric; just make sure you use interfacing made specifically for knits like a fusible tricot! Use a pressing tool, a clapper, to get a crisp, folded edge on the welt.
I used corded button holes on this knit for and added stability and because they look amazing on thick fabric. Larger buttonholes tend to appear wavy or saggy on knits after they are cut open even with the appropriate interfacing. The cording also gives the buttonhole more of a 3D look as some buttonhole stitching gets lost in chunky knits.