Monday, October 31, 2016

The "Button" Cardigan

I started this cardigan last February right before I went to Sew Expo. It was really cold here and I had no thoughts of the warmer weather ahead. I just wanted to swath myself in wool to stay warm. That's how this cardigan came to be. However, when I got back from SewExpo, I had some unselfish sewing to do. After that all I wanted was to sew spring because Pullayup and Seattle were warm with spring-like temps. This encouraged me to put winter in my rear view mirror.

All of that made this cardigan fall out of sewing favor, so I hung it on the side of the fabric wall (with a few other UFOs) and moved on. Fast forward to last week when the temps took a dive here on the East Coast and I was looking for warm and cozy again.  I remembered this cardigan and since it was almost done tried to figure out what I wanted to do for closures.

See it's a basic brown cardigan, knee length with long sleeves, made from a heavier wool knit from the collection. Whew that was a mouthful! Here is my first idea for some unique hardware on the cardigan front. But when I went to try to install the pieces, I realized that I was missing some screws. I bought these pieces years ago...many, many years ago and there could have been screws then and I'd lost them in the meantime...but who knows. After discussing the hardware with Gaylen and her husband during Sew Expo, I knew I would have to go in another direction.

If you've been reading for awhile you know that I love Lafayette 148. When flipping through their fall selection I happened upon these cardigans with magnetic closures and fell in love. I thought this closure would work for the cardigan. Thus started my search through the notions stores in the Garment District for something similar and I found nothing like I saw in my head.  Loads of magnetic pieces but mostly for bag fronts and not really clothing.

Walking out of Botani I was a little disgusted. I wanted to finish this cardigan up and move on so I crossed the street to Lauren Trimming just to look. It's a newer notion store (up the street from Metro Textiles) and I found these buttons:

They are large but I was captivated by their unusual-ness. Because they are different they will add some zing to the cardigan front. However, I'm NOT making buttonholes for these. Buttonholes that large would be unattractive on the cardigan front. So, I have stitched the buttons to the front and added covered snaps to the backs.

A few more pics of the finished cardigan ~

Cardigan worn open with RTW ponte jeans and
Sewing Workshop Mission Top that I made in 2008.

Sweater coat closed and the buttons do make a statement

1. I have to be honest, I don't remember any of this cardigan's construction. I have no notes about it...which is unusual since I normally jot something down as I'm sewing...even if it is TNT. 

2. I think I used Butterick 5760 as my starting point and lengthened it. 

3. I know it's a wool knit from the collection that I believe is originally from Metro Textiles. 

4. I think I bought it with Ann of Gorgeous Things, years ago.
(Yes, that was me name dropping! *LOL*)

5. The buttons are from Lauren Trimmings purchased last week.

6. The covered large snaps are from Pacific Trimmings also purchased last week.

Of course it's gotten warm here again ~ so warm that we had to hurry up and take these pictures because I was sweltering in the cardigan. I probably won't be wearing the cardigan this week or anytime soon. However, the cold is coming so it will be perfect over jeans and a turtleneck for work during the winter months.

This should have been a quick finish to a UFO. Though it took me all dayum day to sew on five buttons and five pairs of snaps. I don't know what it was about this process that irked me but it took way longer than it should have.

I have a short sewing list of 4 pieces that I'm working on. The list is taken from my longer fall/winter sewing list of 25 items. These are the things that I want to sew right now...some are new patterns and two are repeats.

For my Thanksgiving break this year I'm planning on sewing for my daughter. We've already picked out the patterns, now we have to add fabric to them. So those plans and the items on my list are what I'm planning on sewing in November.  Unless of course, I change my mind! always more later!


  1. hmmm the magnetic closures are an interesting idea. Seems like you could sandwich a flat magnet between two larger pieces of fabric, then sew that to each edge of your garment. Would just take some experimenting to find magnets that would work through the fabric layers without being too weak or strong.

  2. These unusual buttons certainly have made an otherwise plain cardigan quite special. Looks great!

  3. I love how you are inspired by clothing you see and transfer it to your own. The buttons are stand-outs! I especially love this when it is closed and they become the focal point. This will be so nice to wear when it DOES turn colder!

  4. Gorgeous cardigan, Carolyn!! And beautiful buttons, too. (You were a wise woman not to make buttonholes in sweater knit for those babies!) They balance so nicely with the sweater length and style. :)

  5. I was thinking along the lines of that first post. Those look like perhaps they were created for that garment-very thin leather (or pleather, probably easier to locate), edge-stitched, with magnets inside would probably do the trick. However-when you just wanna get the thing FINISHED you don't want to have to get creative and make something ELSE from scratch. I love the buttons you chose, they really stand out and dress it up!

    1. I haven't given up on the idea and I think I'm going to try Michael's to see if I can find some magnetic bars. Then I will try encasing them in pleather to see if I can make the fixtures work. I was just ready to be done with this cardigan and the buttons/snaps combo worked so I went with it.

    2. Magnet bars are okay, but those little super round ones are good through a lot of thicknesses of stuff. I can 'magnet' an enormous brooch to a leather jacket with one on the brooch and one inside the jacket. Bonus: no holes. Problem: sewing the little fabric 'packet' shut on the METAL sewing machine.
      Love those buttons.

    3. Little DISC magnets. Round ones would be impossible

    4. I was still thinking on this the other day when I was repairing an ancient Fossil hand bag I have. You could use a leather needle and just stitch the holes around the edge with the machine unthreaded, then hand stitch with upholstery thread through the holes, leave an opening, insert the magnet, and then finish hand stitching it. You can tie off your threads and hide the tails fairly easily. It's a bit fiddly, but possibly easier than working with magnets ON the machine.

  6. Your cardigan looks so good. I'm sure we'll have plenty of winter for you to wear it.

    Buttons are the jewelry of clothing and it's time well spent.

    I, too, like the Lafayette 148 esthetic. Unfortunately, they changed the fit of their pants to chase a younger demographic. They were my go-to professional work pants until then.

  7. A woman reserves the right to change her mind! :) But I know how much you enjoy sewing for your daughter. It'll happen as it's supposed to...

    I love Lafayettee 148. I used to get the catalogs. Hmmm...Very classic but chic pieces.

    The cardigan is perfect for your Chico's Chic work wardrobe. AND you cleared a UFO.

  8. Carolyn, this is such a cool cardigan! I love how when button, it gives the cardigan an even different vibe and look. Very nice indeed!

  9. I really like your button solution with the cardigan. (And I love those shoes!)

  10. I like this cardigan. The buttons are perfect for this. Here in Virginia we are back to warm temperatures again. Makes for confused dressing day to day. Got to have those layers, cool mornings, hot afternoons.

  11. It drives one crazy to have something in your mind's eye, whether it be a fabric in a certain pattern or weight--a closure--a trimming, and yet never able to find anything exactly (or even remotely) like it. You still did a nice job on the cardigan closure--even if it wasn't quite what you imagined.

  12. Those buttons are spectacular! And the cardigan looks to be very warm indeed.
    It is a very interesting phenomenon that something that should take a little bit of time, ends up consuming a whole day (like sewing on buttons, sometimes sewing up a hem).

  13. It's a great look, one I will be copying if it ever gets cool enough here. The buttons you found are really interesting and they work brilliantly with your cardigan. I have to say now I too want to find some of those unattainable magnetic fastenings!


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