Style Arc Nina Cardigan

Finally, I’ve made something for myself that I’m happy with! As is usual with me, I’ve been spending more time recently  reading about sewing than I have, actually sewing but in my defence it hasn’t been all my fault. I’ve had lots going on with work, including attending conferences, speaking at conferences and doing all the prep that entails. That means I’ve spent a pretty decent chunk of time not-at-home recently and so all I’ve had access to are my RSS feeds!

It’s not all bad though as it means I’ve been finding plenty of inspiration. In particular, I saw a number of people talk about the Style Arc Nina Cardigan – most notably Did You Make That and Idle Fancy. Mary’s version inspired me particularly – being able to see items on someone with a curvier figure (particularly as I’ve put a lot of weight on in the last 9 months and no… It’s not baby weight!) made me think that it might be a pattern that could work for me. Plus she used stripes – I own so much striped fabric it’s actually a little scary and I saw the potential for this number from Fabworks:

This launched me into the world of buying a Style Arc pattern… And now I’m at the end of the process I’ve got mixed feelings about it.

First off, I love that there’s such a variety of patterns and it all seems quite stylish and on-trend. However, I struggle with there being so many patterns and with them all seeming so stylish and on-trend. I, you see am not a stylish person and whenever I wear something that’s even slightly fashionable, it’s always the result of an accident or random choice. I also get overwhelmed with trying to work out what to pick, what will look good – both as a garment and once it’s on my body. All of this is probably why I’ve never bought anything from Style Arc before. Ironically I’m probably quite a way behind the waterfall cardigan trend, but it doesn’t seem to have completely gone away yet so time for me to finally join in.

Buying a Style Arc pattern is strange. They’re based in Australia so getting a paper pattern isn’t easy, although they now have a selection available in their Amazon store. This leaves you with PDFs you can purchase from Etsy. Which you buy in a single size. Unlike most other patterns where the sizes are nested inside each other for easy grading etc, you have to pick your size and go with it. Easy peasy if your measurements exactly match one of the sizes but mine didn’t. Thankfully in a garment like this, it’s only really fit in the shoulders that matters as it’s quite a loose item. This resulted in my purchasing the pattern in a size 14.

It was easy enough to assemble (I’m getting pretty good at this these days) but when it came to actually sewing the damn thing I was left with a lot of head-scratching at times.

It’s well reported that the instructions on Style Arc patterns are sparse – not generally too problematic in this instance as you’re just sewing a series of rectangles together. However, the pattern tells you that you need clear elastic for the shoulders and back but neglects to say how much to apply or where.

Nowhere in the pattern or on the pieces does it tell you pretty basic things like:

  • Seam allowances – the FAQs says it’ll be indicated with notches on the pattern – my notches were actual notches. There was a dotted line inside the outline of the pattern piece, but it was only 1/4″ – confusing as I’ve used a 3/8″ SA for knits before but never 1/4″
  • Grainlines – not marked out. In places on some pieces it would say “ST Grain”, but there were no arrows or lines to help illustrate this. In the end, I just used the stripes to align everything but this may not work every time depending on your fabric.

Once I got past that though and got stuck in, things went ok.

It’s a nice quick sew – I sewed up all my seams at 1/4″ on my sewing machine and then finished them with the overlocker.

I did deliberate a little over how to finish the seam that goes all around the front, sides and bottom of the cardigan. The pattern calls for you to just serge the edge but I wasn’t happy with how untidy it might look. I had a go with a sample and it didn’t look good. In the end, I decided to hem it properly – I folded over 1 stripe and sewed it down with a small zigzag. It’s come out quite neat, although next time I might fold over slightly more.


I do like the construction of this – it’s essential just a series of rectangles, plus sleeves. You attach a hip piece below the bodice and then have one long band that goes all the way from one front edge, around your neck, to the other front edge. You can see where the three pieces intersect below:

On to the pictures!

It hugs the back quite nicely:

My stripe matching is also pretty good – but where I planned it, like where the back seams meet, but also where it’s completely accidental – like where the long front piece joins the hip piece. No good pics, so you’ll just have to take my word for it 🙂

Here’s some stripe matching pic:

Unfortunately, after a couple of wears it has begun to pill slightly, particularly under my arms – not a total surprise as the fabric is very lightweight and soft. Just disappointing. I seem to have this superpower that enables me to pill any of my knitted makes in an alarmingly short amount of time 😦

Would I make it again? Yes! In fact, I plan to – in another stripy fabric 🙂 I have about 5m of this black/dark grey stripe:

I suspect it’ll be a total pain to photograph when finished as the fabric was annoying enough when trying to take the above picture for my swatch board.

Are you sewing anything particularly on or off-trend recently? I’ve got a few more unblogged makes to catch up on and I’m also planning some more hopeless-behind-the-curve projects – like some skinny jeans! In the meantime I post pretty regularly on Instagram, so if you can’t be bothered for me to blog about something, you can see it all there 🙂


2 thoughts on “Style Arc Nina Cardigan

  1. I’ve been eyeing up this pattern since Mary posted hers too, so it’s great to see another version in the wild. I love the contrast you’ve achieved between the vertical stripes on the front section and the horizontal stripes at the side. What sort of fabric do you think it would work best in?

    1. Good question – because fabric choice is another thing that the pattern is vague about!

      I think a lightweight knit like I used works really well – for a floaty summer cover-up it’s really nice. I probably wouldn’t go any heavier than a medium weight knit – otherwise you’d probably lose the night waterfall-ing effect. I think Did You Make That’s version is in a medium-merino fabric and that still hangs nicely.

      Can’t wait to see what you end up making! I’ll be whipping up a second before too long.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s