Hello again, lovely reader!
I've been trawling the interwebs looking for an existing pattern for this garment, and have learned that this lovely cardigan style is actually better known as a waterfall cardigan. What a lovely and elegant name! I've also seen them called wrap cardigans, but that's kind of boring, so let's go with waterfall, shall we?
Unfortunately, most of the patterns I found had the exact problem I was looking to avoid: frumpiness. They look great on the willowy proportions of the line drawings, but as soon as you transfer it into real life and on a real (and slightly plus-size) person, it goes from slinky to shabby and makes a woman look like she's thrown a child's tent around herself.
So, first off, here are the patterns that I considered and discarded - and why.
Out of the running
This was a great example of one that looks fabulous on the sketch and frumpy in reality. Sure, the ladies on the page look great for their age... but they look their age, maybe slightly older. They certainly don't look slinky or fabulous, which is the look I'm going for.
First of all, ugh, I just hate how they name their patterns with numbers. Sure, have a number for ongoing reference, but pair it with a cutesy fun name, please!
Anyway, this had all the same problems as the Nina above, and actually looks remarkably similar, but with a little more volume in the waterfall, therefore it was slightly more flattering.
The drape on the sketch was perfect - alas, not on the model, whose proportions were disturbingly similar to the line drawing! The fabric fell, rather than cascaded, so that pattern was out.
There were a few that would be worth considering if you didn't feel like modifying a pattern to get an exact match for the Browsing for Books cardi.
Unlike Nina, Harper has quite a bit of volume in those ruffles, giving it more shape to flatter fuller figures. It doesn't have the curved side or fitted back details, but is still quite a lovely piece. The edges are completely raw, which I actually prefer over exposed finishing, and it's labelled as "Easy" so would be relatively quick to make. I've actually drafted a hooded dressing gown that's remarkably similar to this, and it's one of my favourite things that I've sewn (despite its daggy nature).
Now this cardigan looks almost right, other than the fact that it's a little on the short side. I love the bound buttonholes for the tie to pass through - why didn't I think of that? The drape is lovely, it's got the right amount of volume and looks super cozy.
While it doesn't currently look a lot like the Browsing for Books that we're trying to emulate, this pattern has the twin benefits of having princess seams and being free!
Princess seams will make modifying the pattern really easy, as all we'll really need to do is curve the front-side piece at the bottom and extend the centre-front pieces into the J shape. And of course, the fact that it's free means that you can do this too, without having to buy a pattern!
Have you found any patterns that should be included here? Have you made any of the above? I'd love to see how they turned out!
See you next time, dear reader, and we'll start the modifications to create our very own version of the Browsing for Books cardigan.