Wool Double Knit Sweater for My Dad

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! I hit the wool section at Mood Fabrics NYC determined to find the perfect cocoon to shelter myself from autumn’s advances and boy, it did not disappoint! The only thing is, when I found this luxurious wool double knit, I knew immediately I had to make a sweater for my dad. He’s always cold, but lives in a cool climate, 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. He was a lovely model, so much so that I’m tempted to delve deeper into the world of menswear sewing to make him something special!)

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

The fabric is perfect for my pop– it’s warm and soft, but without any of the itchiness 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 (Mood has lots of wool knits available online.) To help it keep its shape, I used a fusible tricot interfacing for the collar, plackets, facings, and yoke pieces, and I stabilized the shoulder seam with twill tape (topstitched 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.

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

I used Thread Theory’s Newcastle Cardigan pattern and cut a size small. 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!). 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 is a more common finish in RTW sweaters of this type.

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

How about you– are you a wool enthusiast, or does it take a special fabric to convince you to sew with it? Are you a fall junkie? What’s on your sewing table these days?

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Comments


  • Lauren
    October 28, 2013

    I only saw the title and the teaser picture, and I thought, “wow, her dad sure looks like Man Friend!” Hahaha!! What a good sport for modeling for ya… And you for your unselfish sewing! I love this pattern and your version looks great and soo cozy. You totally have to make your dude some of these for himself, you know the style suits him! :)

    • Ginger
      October 28, 2013

      Ahahahahaha! Who doesn’t want a partner that looks just like their dad? Nothing weird about that AT ALL.

      I think this looks pretty cute on MF, but he doesn’t like cardigans in general and this one specifically (picky!). He’s ridiculously specific in his taste… which mostly keeps me off the hook for sewing for him!

      • Houseofpinheiro
        October 28, 2013

        Lol… That’s so good sport of your man friend. I’m do keep to try this. Thanks for the review x

        • Ginger
          October 28, 2013

          It really was sweet of him– he’s always said that he doesn’t want to be on the blog, so I appreciated that he was willing to take some photos. I bet HRH would love this sweater– it seems snuggly and perfect for English winters!

  • Amanda S.
    October 28, 2013

    AWESOME picture of him with a pipe. So funny! The sweater is very nice and cozy looking. I LOVE wool doubleknit and wish Mood had more online to choose from. There was a black wool doubleknit a few months back, but it was all snapped up before I could order any.

    • Ginger
      October 28, 2013

      Heeheehee, it made me think of all the old men’s pattern illustrations– why are the guys always holding pipes or newspapers?!

      Let me know if you want me to eyeball any doubleknits for you! They had lots of charcoal gray in the store, but I can’t remember the other colors… :)

  • Sara
    October 28, 2013

    Well, I think you have just solved one of my Christmas present dilemmas! This is awesome! The pipe was a nice touch :)

    • Ginger
      October 28, 2013

      Oh, yay, happy sewing! I don’t always find dude sewing to be that inspiring, but this was actually really fun to put together!

  • Janine Whisler
    October 28, 2013

    Ha Ha, I thought to myself, how old is she, 5? My son would look great in that, pipe included! Yours looks so cozy and comfy, I will have to find me some wool double knit!
    I think Peter would look great wearing that with his mustard pants!

    • Ginger
      October 28, 2013

      Haha, yes, isn’t my dad in great shape? ;) I agree– this would go so nicely with Peter’s gingham and mustard ensemble!

      You should give this a try for your son! I highly recommend wool doubleknit, and the pattern comes together very quickly. :)

  • Trice
    October 28, 2013

    Very nice sweater, it looks super cozy.

    I am a wool addict. All types.

    • Ginger
      October 28, 2013

      Thanks, Trice! Wool is just so lovely to work with– I love that you can just steam, mold, and manhandle it into submission…

  • Lori
    October 29, 2013

    That is one gorgeous cardigan sweater, great job. I am thinking, wow, her dad is so young when I read the picture, then started chuckling when I read man friend. I do like the pipe for the photos, nice touch.

    • Ginger
      October 29, 2013

      Teeheehee, I pulled the old switcheroo! I’m thinking that this could make a really cute women’s sweater with a few modifications!

  • Sarah Gunn
    October 30, 2013

    Darling, Ginger! You Dad will be stylishly warm all winter long!

    • Ginger
      October 30, 2013

      I hope so! It’s too cold up north! :)

  • Amy
    October 31, 2013

    I am definitely thinking fall sewing right now, especially since I’m finally living somewhere that actually has a fall! And, I really like your version of this cardigan. I read through some of the comments above, and I saw that you said your beau isn’t a bit fan of cardigans. Neither is my husband. I asked him about this pattern specifically because I really wanted to try out Thread Theory and a lot of their patterns were already like ones I own, all except this one. I think I’ll have to wait until they come out with a few more though because he wasn’t really into this one. I hadn’t considered my dad though! Or my brother… Hmmm… Anyway, good tips about using this wool – thanks!

  • Carolyn
    October 31, 2013

    I think its so cool that you made your Dad a sweater! You did a great job on it.

  • Diana
    November 8, 2013

    Wow! That’s a great looking sweater! The model ain’t bad either!Lol.