Dude Sewing: Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan

O, Autumn!, fairest of seasons, when the air is crisp and clear, lattes are pumpkin-spiced, and a sewist’s heart leaps at the thought of wrapping herself in wool from head to toe!  Just kidding, guys, I hate cold weather and I don’t like dropping an extra buck just to have someone dump nutmeg in my coffee.  But I do turn into a whimpering baby and reach for sweaters the second the temp dips below 65 degrees, so I hit the wool section at Mood Fabrics NYC determined to find the perfect cocoon to shelter myself from autumn’s advances!  They have beautiful fabrics for fall up there, and when I found this luxurious wool double knit, I knew immediately I had to make a sweater for my dad. It just looked like something he would like, you know what I mean?  He’s always cold, but lives in a cool climate (if you haven’t experienced it, you don’t want to know what Michigan feels like in the wintertime), so he layers up nearly year-round!

(Special thanks goes out to Man Friend, who graciously volunteered to model the cardigan for these photos despite the fact that it’s a good size and a half too small for him. He was a lovely model, so I’ll have to think of something special to make for him!)

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

This is the closest thing I could find to a smile in the photos…

I used Thread Theory‘s Newcastle Cardigan pattern and cut a size small based on measurements my mom took of a few of my dad’s sweaters. The pattern comes together quickly and is pretty fun to sew. I chose version 1, with front and back yoke details, but cut them in self fabric as my pop’s a pretty conservative dresser and probably wouldn’t appreciate any extra “flair” in his garment! I opted for the larger shawl collar as it seemed cozier. The topstitched yokes are a really nice detail, even if they’re mostly covered up by the shawl collar. I added an extra button (pretty arbitrarily… six just looked better than five in the button size I selected!). If I made this for someone else, I would lengthen the body a bit– it seems a little short, especially in comparison to the length of the sleeves. Luckily my dad’s pretty short-waisted, so it won’t be a problem for him. I would also draft a waistband for the cardigan, I think. I feel like a hem band would look a little nicer and more RTW.

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

“Oh, wow, this pipe is so INTERESTING! I think I’ll keep staring at it!”

The fabric is perfect for my pop– it’s warm and soft, but without any of the scratchiness that often deters people from wool. It’s got some heft, but it’s still drapey, which seemed like just the right weight for a cardigan.  To help it keep its shape, I used pro-tricot deluxe fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply for the collar, plackets, facings, and yoke pieces.  I really liked this interfacing– I was amazed to see that the fabric still retained its stretch after fusing!  I also stabilized the shoulder seam with twill tape, following the pattern directions to topstitch from the right side on either side of the seam. The fabric is stretchy, but not CRAZY stretchy, so I used a ballpoint needle to avoid skipped stitches, but stitched the vertical seams with a regular straight stitch. I used a zigzag stitch on anything that needed to stretch horizontally (like the cuff seams), and I used my Janome’s special stretch zigzag stitch for the hem to make sure it had plenty of give (I just discovered this stitch after, oh, two years sewing on this machine… facepalm).  Buttonholes… well, they LOOK pretty good, but my feed dogs couldn’t move the fabric forward while I was sewing them, so I had to sort of manually shove the fabric underneath the buttonhole foot.  I was trying to match the speed I thought the sewing machine would move to keep from stretching out the buttonholes, and I think I was fairly successful, but it was pretty nerve-wracking!

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

The major difficulty of using a fabric like this for this pattern is BULK.  In some places, like where the collar attaches to the neckline, you’re sewing through six layers of fabric (not counting interfacing!)– whoa, Nelly!  My poor sewing machine was pretty sad trying to chomp through that much fabric.  I graded the seams and notched them aggressively, but there’s still a bit of bulk in some of the seams that just couldn’t be eliminated.  If you’re making this pattern or something else with a shawl collar, it might make sense to cut facings or the undercollar out of a lighter-weight fabric, something I routinely do when sewing with wovens but didn’t consider on this project.

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

Better keep inspecting that pipe– you might miss a detail!

So, brief sidebar– guys, it’s WAY more fun to be on the other side of the camera telling someone how to model than to pose for pictures yourself!  I was nearly mad with power and really had to dial back the impulse to shout things like, “What’s your character’s backstory?”  Man Friend was worried that he looked too much like His Excellency, the Duke of Fall.  There’s definitely a resemblance, huh?

HOLY CRAP, LOOK OUT! YOUR HEAD IS GLOWING, MAN FRIEND!  Someone take the camera away from me, please.

How about you– are you a wool enthusiast?  Are you a fall junkie?  Are you a member of the pumpkin spice latte cult?  What’s on your sewing table these days?

Bathroom graffiti at FIT where I’m taking night classes. It’s a cult, people!

126 responses

  1. That is such a cute cardigan; I’d almost want to keep it for myself! I see what you mean about the bulk in the collar. I can see how it would be a pain to work with, but it makes the cardigan look extra cozy and perfect for fall! Oh, and yeah, your man friend does look a bit like the Duke of Fall, but is that really so bad? That article is amazing by the way…

    Typically the only reason I cared about fall was the pumpkin spice lattes (sigh, yes, I’m one of them), but this year I’m really enjoying it! I just picked up some wool, if only I can find the time to get started sewing!

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    • I was tempted to keep it for myself– it’s so soft! I think this would be pretty easy to adapt it to fit a woman nicely as it’s already got some waist shaping.

      Man Friend is TOTALLY that guy– he’s just in denial! He gets all pumped up the first time the temperature drops down to 50 or below, and he loves shopping for fall weather clothes. 🙂

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  2. This cardigan is awesome! It’s so difficult to find good men’s patterns out there.

    I LOVE me some wool, and just got some amazing gray and black double knit double faced glen plaid from Fabric Mart (it’s like a magical unicorn of fabric for this Midwestern gal) that is begging to become something like you’ve made here…or something for me. 😉

    And yay for pumpkin spice lattes! Though, I am not a big fan of them at Starbuck’s. They totally effed with the syrup a couple of years ago and it’s a bit too much pumpkin and not enough spice for me these days. At least there’s the salted caramel mocha!

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    • Double-faced glen plaid?! That sounds AWESOME! I’m excited to see what you make with it!

      I haven’t tried the salted caramel mocha, but that sounds pretty delightful! I splurge on a peppermint mocha a couple of times when they’re in season, so I’m looking forward to their return! 🙂

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  3. Hahaha, when I switched over to the tab with that article, I snorted out loud. He totally could be the Duke of Fall! Only with a way more Han-tastic belt buckle, I’m sure. =p

    I don’t give a damn about Starbucks’s anything-seasonal, I just love that opaque-tights-season means I don’t have to shave nearly as much! No shame, yo.

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  4. That looks fantastic and super cozy! I haven’t seen the pattern before, but I have a Man Friend with Mr. Autumn tendencies who would really dig that cardigan. Your dad will love it!

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    • I bet he would love this cardigan! There aren’t too many inspiring menswear patterns out there (so much so that I just bought a copy of La Mia Boutique because I liked the men’s patterns, but I can’t read a word of Italian… don’t know what I was thinking!).

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    • Thanks, girl! I’ve been the recipient of quite a few handmade gifts from my parents over the years (I remember my dad making a cradle for the faux-Cabbage Patch doll my mom made me, and another year he made a Barbie house for my sister and I), so it’s time I start repaying some of those gifts! I knitted him a sweater vest when I first started knitting, and he wore it so proudly, even though, looking back, it was pretty terrible!

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  5. that looks super cosy! And I love the finish – excellent work!

    I hate autumn, because it means winter is coming, and I’m a big baby about being cold. Frosty mornings can just stick it – bring me sunshine and warmth please. I had my first ever Pumpkin Spice latte this weekend – gak! too sweet and no pumpkin or spice that I could taste. gosh I’m grumpy.

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  6. Great Dad-Dude cardi, I love it! Is it wrong for me to want one too?! The tipple of the season here in Southern Germany is ‘new’ wine, which is enjoyed with onion quiche. ‘New’ wine is the fermenting juice of the recently harvested grapes from the nearby vineyards and it gets progressively more alcoholic by the day. It’s cheap and delicious but it’s not recommended for those with sensitive digestive systems, especially the onion quiche!
    Christine

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    • It’s not wrong at all! I’ve been pondering how to turn this into a lady cardigan– it probably wouldn’t be that hard since it’s already got some waist shaping! I could go for some new wine and onion quiche right about now (and it’s only breakfast time here!)!

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  7. That’s pretty awesome! I have a suggestion for sewing those super thick seams…get yourself a vintage sewing machine. They don’t cost much, they can power through almost anything and they run forever with only a little easy care.

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  8. You know, considering the fitted look guys like these days, that size looks pretty darn good on the “Man Friend”. Almost looks like a totally new style than from what is shown on pattern. Beautiful job!

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  9. I roared with laughter at the Duke of Fall…I’m his leather gloved companion for sure. I love autumn and I’ve got this pattern on my list for The Husband. I love your version, am sure Dad will too and really think ManFriend deserves his own for his sterling work and front of the camera and ability to study a pipe without falling about laughing! 😉

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    • I know, it’s just so funny! I was snickering when I first saw it because Man Friend is TOTALLY that guy– he revels in cool weather and loves to be outside while I’m shrinking from the “cold”! 🙂

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  10. Is it weird that I want to make this for myself? My husband is so not a cardigan guy, but I think I could rock this with a little waist shaping. I could probably get away without even adding darts, because I’m an A cup. And I could triumph in the one situation in which having a small chest is an advantage!!

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    • You could totally rock this! It was a bit baggy on me, but not ridiculously so. The upper arms would need a lot of slimming (you can see that they’re not snug on MF, who’s wearing about a size and a half too small for him), and there’s already a bit of waist shaping in the pattern, so you could just exaggerate that a bit more!

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  11. This looks awesome and man-friend made a great model. And you are super sweet to make your dad a cardi. I’ve been eyeing the thread theory patterns for my beloved, but I just need to get those 8 dresses, 4 skirts, 2 pairs of pants, 6 blouses, 2 sweaters (and maybe a couple of other things…) for me out of the way first…

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    • Hahaha, don’t think I’m too much of a saint– I promised Man Friend a pair of jeans about a year and a half ago… yikes! Better get to those, huh? It’s just WAY more fun to sew for yourself, isn’t it? 😉

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  12. thank you for that onion link, loved it! but, I don’t love fall and I don’t love anything pumpkin 😥 please come back 90 degree days.

    I am sewing long sleeved briars, but resentfully…

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    • I’m right there with you! I HATE cool weather, especially knowing that once it gets cool in October, we won’t see warm weather again until, what, MAY?! UGH! I miss you already, summer!!!!!

      Oh, and I have a couple of Briars cut out and ready to go, funny you should mention that! Better get on that, I guess!

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    • Thanks, lady! It’s a nice gift project since the fit doesn’t have to be exact– if you can find one of his sweaters and take a couple of measurements, you should be good to go! It comes together quickly, too. 🙂

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    • I think this would look cute on you AND on Liam! Make two! Matching! In fall colors! And a matching sweater for Lucille! OMG, have a fall photo session with the three of you in autumnal colors… MAKE THIS HAPPEN! 😀

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  13. This post is hilarious, I loved it! I hate the cold and love wool, so that might be why . . . also I’m in the pumpkin-spice-lattes-are-ridiculous camp, though I will pretty much only drink hot beverages from now until about . . . March . . . doesn’t bear thinking about. At least there’s pomegranates! And butternut squash.

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    • Ugh, that’s the worst thing about fall– I wouldn’t mind it if it didn’t mean we have to suffer through winter and spring before we’ll get some sun again! I actually love October in New York (it tends to be sunny here and still pretty warm, unlike where I grew up), but it’s just so depressing that summer is so far away! 🙂

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    • Man Friend won’t wear them, either! He hates all cardigans in general, and this one specifically! He’s very, very specific in his taste, which makes sewing for him really scary. Boys– what can you do with ’em?!

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  14. What a fantastic-looking cardigan – it looks so professional and walks the line between interesting and classic. I’m not down with the pumpkin-spiced everything either – I drink an Americano or black tea every single day of the year (iced if it’s over 90 degrees). I’m a cranky cheap creature of habit. But I do love the colors, crisp air and the fact that I can hunker down and sew without feeling guilty! And cozy layers like this cardigan are pretty inviting 🙂

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  15. Heheh – your coffee comment made me chuckle. My stomach can’t handle the milk of lattes but I’m not a fan of soy lattes either. 😉 The cardigan looks great. How do you feel about using interfacing that’s 99% polyester? My concern is that it’s not breathable – but then there are no other options for something that stretches, right?

    I have some wool crepe that will eventually be a pair of pants. And then I have a couple of wool caps that I need to add lining to. Other projects – I’m participating in the Emery Dress and Red Velvet sewalongs. Plus I’ve got a skirt project percolating – though it’s cotton, not wool.

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    • I can’t do dairy, either, so my favorite is almond lattes, BUT I hate paying for them! 🙂

      You know, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure all/most of the interfacing I’ve used is man-made fiber-based. It doesn’t really bother me since I’m not using it in areas where you really need air circulation (in this case, I only used it on the plackets, yoke, and collar). Have you used any natural fiber interfacings that you would recommend?

      I’m excited to see your Emery dress– I’ve really liked the ones I’ve seen popping up on blogs!

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      • I like fusible cotton woven interfacing. Pellon makes one – SF101, which I first heard about from Erin of Dog Under My Desk. It’s a lightweight one that’s good for collars, yokes, facings, etc. I’ve also used cotton flannel on a skirt facing – but it was a little thick. I was experimenting and going through an anti-fusible interfacing period at the time. 😉

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  16. I’ve always wanted to try a pumpkin spiced latte, I hear so much about it in movies!! And pumpkin pie!! I love pumpkin and i love pie, so it’s like my ultimate food dream.

    I still haven’t sewed with wool. I think the reason is because it’s more expensive compared to cottons and I can’t justify the cost when I don’t know if I will even sew something great with it. I don’t wear much wool anyway, in winter I wear trenchcoats (made of thick cotton) and cardigans which a re usually cotton blends…

    It’s coming up to summer in Australia so I’m sewing dresses… well I really only sew dresses haha.

    You are so cute, sewing for dad!! The cardigan looks really good, but yeah you can tell it’s too small for Mr Ginger 😛

    You should post a pic of dad wearing it!! He would be so rapt with a cardigan like that, made with love!

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    • I’m so jealous that your weather is so warm! Do you need a roommate? I wanna move in! 🙂

      You should try wool– a fitted wool pencil skirt would be fabulous! 🙂 But I do love your cotton sateen dresses, so I don’t blame you for sticking with them! 🙂

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  17. this looks great! nice job. i concur about the hem band, i plan on doing that when i get around to making this for the hubbs. or possibly just myself… mwahaha…

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  18. “What’s your character’s backstory?” hahhaahhhahaha!!!!!

    I’m debating if I want to show my husband this post. I know he will love what you made and then demand that I make him one. But I want to show him because it’s too cool not to!

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    • Oof, I thought my machine was going to die– I couldn’t get it all jammed underneath the presser foot! I just kept smashing it down as much as I could before I tried to sew it. Harrowing!

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  19. Gah, this is brilliant and I think my boyfriend would love it if I made him one. Also, how cute is Man Friend?!? I don’t like cold weather…winter feels like it finally arrived tonight…brrrrr!

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    • Isn’t he adorable? 😀 You should make one for your boy– it comes together really quickly, but looks like it took more work than it actually did, heeheehee!

      I just want summer to come back, Marie! Why is it over so soon?!

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  20. I love it! You always crack me up and you’ve given a really good review. I’ve been wanting to make one of these for my fella bit I haven’t found suitable fabric plus I’m selfish. It is a really great style. If I do make it I’ll use your tips for sure. Awesome job and love the pipe haha 🙂

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    • Ooh, I bet this would be amazing in a lovely merino! I’m so terrible about making things for other people– I just want MORE DRESSES! Ridiculous! Man Friend smokes a pipe on Sunday evenings, and I know it’s not good for you and all, but I love the smell— it reminds me of my granddad. 🙂

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    • Oh my gosh, that article made me laugh so hard! I feel like I know about 12 of those guys! This would be easily adapted for a gal– I hope you try it! I tried it on and loved the smooshy shawl collar!

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    • Man Friend is so picky– he hates cardigans! Luckily that means more sewing time for ME, hahahahaha! Although I should probably get cracking on the pair of jeans I promised him a year and a half ago, whoops!

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  21. That looks awesome and I am loving your could get “man friend” to model it! Your dad will be super happy with that – it looks so cosy 🙂
    I love wool too, but not much opportunity to do much with it in our tropical climate. But I use it whenever I know I will be travelling somewhere cold. I’m working on summer stuff at the moment, sundresses and the like. I’m off to the beach for the weekend soon, so of course I need a new dress for that!

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  22. I love this! I’ve been very tempted to make one for my bloke and seeing that it can be done without an overlocker and turn out looking great has tempted me more. Great job, it looks so professional, your Dad is going to love it!

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  23. Ginger, this one is awesome! Your dad is going to love it, and Man Fried definitely did a great job sewing it. I’m very curious about the fabric. Is it a double knit wool (like jersey?) or what? I have the feeling my Mr. Stitch may like this pattern.

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  24. His Excellency the Duke of Fall!!! Bahahahaha!!!! I had to share that article with everyone I know!
    Ahem. Composure. This cardigan is AWESOME! Your Pops is gonna love it!! Now I’m thinking I need to make one for MY man friend, and my dad, and all my brothers and… oh my… Sorry boys… that probably won’t happen! My fingers are itching to get a feel of the wool double knit. Sounds dreamy, and like the perfect fabric for this pattern. That’s always been my hesitation with this one – I think finding the right fabric would be tricky. But you nailed it!
    Also, boo to pumpkin spice lattes!

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    • I laughed SO HARD when I read this article– it’s TOTALLY Man Friend. He gets all jacked up when the weather gets cool, and loves to stroll around smoking his pipe on fall weekends. Ridiculous!

      You should go ahead and make this for your menfolk! It comes together pretty quickly, actually (way faster than wovens… let’s be honest, we’re not making any buttondowns for our dads and brothers anytime soon).

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  25. Well done! I hope your dad loves it. After seeing the cardigan so slim-fitting on Man Friend, I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that that cardigan pattern would look great on women!!

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    • I really like this fabric with the pattern– in fact, I’m tempted to try to make one for myself! Haha, that’s the problem with unselfish sewing– it just inspires you to do more selfish sewing! 😀

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  26. This cardigan is the epitome of autumn. Hands down my favorite season! Fires, pumpkin spice whatever, I’m a sucker. I just may have to make this for my man!
    p.s. that pipe IS interesting! haha.

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    • OK, I’m glad that someone’s enjoying the season instead of whining about it like me! 😀 I love the beginning of seasons, but never the end– I’m a grumbler, I guess! 🙂 But yes, you should definitely make this for your guy– it’s nice and it comes together really quickly. 🙂

      Like

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