The Juniper Cardigan is one of those patterns that’s been in my stash since I started sewing. It’s only taken me 9 months to get around to making one. I intentionally put the Juniper cardigan on my Make Nine list for 2021 which was a good move – if it’s written down in a solid plan, I’ll always achieve it! Now I wonder what I was doing to keep getting distracted from this gem of a pattern. As soon as I started making the Juniper, I had planned the next one.
The fabric I have used here is a modal french terry from Sew Anonymous; having never sewn with modal, this was a bit of a gamble which, I’m delighted to say, has paid off.
Modal is made from the pulp of beech trees; it is a semi-synthetic and breathable material. It does have some ecological benefits, too. It doesn’t require as many resources as other materials and is made with plant-based materials. It is also incredibly easy to care for and it’s super soft which makes it a comfortable fabric to wear. I’d love to get a few more shades of this particular fabric.
In terms of actually working with this fabric, it’s one of the easiest stretch fabrics I’ve ever fed through my machine. While super soft, it is also resilient and not easily caught or puckered – I think the silk like texture of the fabric is what lets it run so smoothly through the machine.
This is an irresistible pattern – I’ve often seen people making repeats and now that I have made it I can appreciate why this is the case. It is one of those captivating patterns that leaves you wanting more. In a way, it’s a simple design but with added details like the cuffs and those curved shoulder lines, it is just so pretty. It really lends itself to colour blocking, too, if that’s your thing!
There are two variations: the longer length boyfriend style cardigan which would look amazing styled with jeans (I don’t wear trousers) and the more vintage-styled cropped version which is perfect for me to wear on top of swing dresses. There is also the option for long or 3/4 sleeves – I generally opt for 3/4 sleeves as it allows for some pretty jewellery bracelet options on summery days.
The sizing instructions for this pattern are brilliant – Jennifer Lauren explains that there is more ease in this pattern, given that it is intended to be worn over another garment; but she also stipulates that if you are going for a more fitted look to wear over sundresses, that it is best to size down. That’s a general rule for me – I like to make use of the stretch of the fabric. I don’t like a jersey garment that does not make use of the stretch that’s built into the fabric. There are also extended finished garment measurements if you have a cardigan you already have and love and want to mimic the fit of. You won’t go wrong following the fitting instructions.
The instructions are clear and concise – I enjoy sewing up Jennifer Lauren patterns for this reason. There’s nothing too difficult about this pattern; the only tricky section is connecting the back sleeve to the saddle shoulder -the instructions cover this pretty well but there is a sew-along on Jennifer Lauren’s website that shows some photographed instructions . The pattern is recommended for intermediate level sewists but I’d say if you have a couple of stretch garments under your belt you could give this one a go.
I feel like I should mention sewing buttonholes in stretch garments. I have seen some people not bother putting buttonholes in as they say they’re not going to close the cardigan. Others use poppers which is a much easier option. Personally, I don’t think it looks half as good without buttons; and I opted for these beautiful iridescent Tabitha Sewer hearts. After some metallic rainbow top stitching I added around the neckband, I wasn’t opting for subtle.
I was fearful of sewing the buttonholes. I am on a starter Singer machine so my only option is a basic 4 step buttonhole which can be a little temperamental on a cotton, never mind stretch garments. The buttonhole band is interfaced so it gives a little stability; what’s more, the modal feeds through the machine well. However, I wasn’t prepared for mistakes so I used some stitch and tear stabiliser just to ensure the fabric didn’t get caught or puckered.
I’m absolutely enamoured with this pattern; I already have some black See You At Six French Terry from Plan It Make It pre-washing. I’m sure I will be cutting out another one tomorrow – and I have the perfect atelier brunette buttons to go with it.