Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pattern Review: McCall's 6844 Peplum Cardigan

You know what they say about best laid plans...  I have so many projects in my queue, and yet not much sewing has happened.  I would like to say that my lack of output was due to a busy holiday schedule, but it really has more to due with the fact that I somehow managed to pinch a nerve in my elbow.  Yeah, skating falls can be... awkward.  And with pain shooting through my arm I wasn't exactly excited by the prospect of tracing patterns or cutting out a lot of fabric.  It seems like my body is increasingly being held together by Futuro products, but a support for tennis elbow seems to be helping the situation.  Enough, in fact, that I actually got a bit of (selfish) sewing done.  Despite my planning on sewing more complicated projects this month, as well as having a lot of projects I need to get done for others, it feels like the universe has been kicking me in the ribs the past few weeks, and I didn't want to tempt fate to give me a disaster of a project any more than necessary.  So easy knit projects it is!

McCall's 6844
I have been obsessing over the McCall's peplum cardigan pattern ever since it was released, and the frequency of successful versions on Pattern Review only encouraged my enthusiasm.  I figured I would make a wearable muslin out of a sweater knit that looked a lot more impressive online than it did in person.  I was going to make a second version out of a nice double knit that I got from the Michael Levine Loft (which ended up being my third version), when I got to thinking that this pattern would look fantastic and festive in some sort of sparkly knit fabric.  Which, as luck would have it, I had the foresight to buy as part of my Black Friday haul from Joann Fabrics.  So I ended up making three of these cardigans in one night of sewing.  Yeah, I suppose you could say I liked this pattern.

Version 1: The loose-weave sweater knit.

The back - the hem dips down to create the peplum.

The front isn't supposed to overlap... but it does.
By quite a bit.  Which I am ok with, because it looks really good belted.
Version 2: Black sparkle knit.
It is actually really sparkly in person...
the photos don't do this version justice.
Close-up of the fabric - it has fuzzy sparkly lurex-type
threads that look really pretty when they catch the light.
Version 3: Double knit from The Loft.
Probably my favorite version of the three and definitely the warmest.
Sleeves are a bit tight, but not restrictively so.
Close-up of the zig-zag print fabric.

Here is my official pattern review:

Pattern Description:  Cardigan with collar and peplum or regular hem.  I made view C - the asymmetrical peplum version.

Pattern Sizing: (XS-S-M) and (L-XL-XXL).  I made a size medium.  I felt like there was a decent but not excessive amount of ease in this pattern (though the envelope claims that the front of this should not meet, yet my versions had a fair amount of overlap in the front).

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Super easy.  I used my serger for construction, so I only followed the general order of construction, and not necessarily all of the individual steps.  It is super easy to put together - I was able to prep the pattern, cut the fabric, and sew three versions of this cardigan in about four hours total.  The longest part of the whole process was hemming the never-ending peplum.  Seriously, hemming took me about as long as constructing the rest of the garment.

Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it?  Yes, very much!  I am really pleased with the way it turned out.

What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern?  I really love all of the versions, but especially view C (asymmetrical peplum).  Views A and B (no peplum) may be in the queue for future projects.  It was quick and easy to make, and only uses about 2 yards of fabric, even with the flouncy peplum.  The fit was pretty good out of the envelope, and the pattern could look good in lots of different fabrics on lots of different body types, especially with the different pattern variations.  No dislikes.

Fabric used:  I made three of these, using several different types of fabrics.  Version 1 used a loose weave sweater knit with medium stretch that I got from fabric.com, version 2 used a black glitter sweater knit that I bought at Joann Fabrics that was fairly stretchy, and version 3 used a double knit (ponte knit?) that I got at the Michael Levine Loft.  I think the fit is great with the stretchier knits.  With the double knit the sleeves are a bit tight.  The double knit version I have to wear over a cami for it to fit, which is alright because that version is almost too warm to wear over anything else.  The other version are fitted, but could be worn over a close-fitting long sleeve shirt if I really needed the extra warmth.

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  My first version (the loose sweater knit) I made a medium straight from the envelope.  After that I took in the side seams about an inch at the waist seam, but left everything else as is from the pattern.  I suppose I could have gotten a better fit if I had also adjusted the armscye and done an FBA, but since this is a knit cardigan and not a tailored jacket I didn't think the pattern really needed it.  I would consider doing an FBA in the future, especially if I were going to make one of the other views where I would be wanting an even hem as I noticed that the waist seam was riding up a bit in the front of my versions.  I plan on belting them, so I suppose I don't care too much, but something to consider if I make more versions in the future.

Would you sew this again?  Would you recommend this to others?  Yes, I will probably make this pattern again, though I might try one of the other views.  I think three peplum cardigans are enough for now, no?  And it is highly recommended - looks great and easy to sew - what's not to like?  I will caution that the sleeve might be a bit tight depending on the stretchiness of your fabric, and you may want to consider an FBA if you are a member of the busty ladies club.

Conclusion:  Love this pattern!  I have a few patterns that I have used multiple time, but this is the first pattern that I have made three times in one day!  I might want to make a few adjustments to my pattern for the next time I sew, but this is definitely headed to my list of TNT patterns.


  1. I love your three versions of this pattern, your new jackets look unbelievable on you. I got a black on black polka dot Ponte at Joann with the idea of making this jacket for myself but silly me, forgot to get the pattern. So I'm waiting for the next sale.

  2. Looks great in all three! I really, really love the dip down peplum in the back. It is so flattering and pretty! Hemming would keep me from making this myself though ;-) not my favorite task.
    Sorry about the elbow :( Hope it heals soon!

    1. I did lazy hemming - serge, flip, stich. It just takes forever because it is so long, but not really all that difficult because the serger threads make the bottom edge pretty stable to work with, even on the loose weave knit.

  3. omg these are fabulous! I totally want to make this pattern!! nice job

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  5. This is not my style at all, so I barely noticed it when it came out, but I love it on you, so flattering. Love it.

    Hope your elbow feels better soon. Take care.

  6. Three versions, and all of them very nice. You've convinced me to buy this pattern. :)

  7. These are all great, can't believe you made 3 in one evening!!

  8. These are so great! I actually like the first one the best, with the Missoni-esque fabric. That high-low peplum is so flattering on you. I feel you on the easy knits--I finally had to do some just to have the satisfaction of finally getting a project done!