I’ve been wanting to make a cardigan like this since the day Treasure posted this photo in 2020. I have seriously had it saved that long, and have just been agonizing over what fabric and pattern to use. So ridiculous. And before I continue, Treasure is the most amazing person and bag maker with the best style. She’s been growing her business, Nikki Made, over last few years, and has added workshops, courses, products, and a bunch of other good stuff that you should definitely check out. (I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos featuring one of the bags I bought from her, too. 😍)
In the photo, it looks like Treasure’s is made of double gauze, so I finally made a decision to buy the same fabric and bought 3 yards of this Cotton Double Gauze in the color Cinnamon from Style Maker. I ended up buying another 1/3 yard for the pockets later.
I was deciding between the Esme Cardigan (sizes 32-54″ hip) and the Unfolding Jacket (discontinued), but I like the amount of ease in the Esme, plus I didn’t want the neckline/collar to be too big and distracting. If I made the Unfolding Jacket, I could have sized down and omitted the collar, or just made the collar width smaller. I was feeling so much decision fatigue, so I kept it simple and went with the Esme.
I’ve made the Esme Cardigan multiple times now, and I really love it. When I first bought the pattern, I felt really limited by the requirement to only use a really stable knit. Especially since it can be kind of difficult to find that type of fabric. I made my first Esme out of a medium weight sweater knit that was really cozy, but it ended up pilling a lot and ended up feeling sloppy after I washed it a few times.
I made the pattern again with a sherpa fleece, and I wear it so much during the winter! I’m not even sure why the pattern calls for any percentage of stretch because there is no stretching involved when making the cardigan. The pattern does point out that if you are doing the pockets designed for the pattern, to not choose a fabric that is too drapey, or it can make the pockets look less tidy.
What ultimately made me want to try this pattern in a woven fabric was the Esme that @make_something made with a cotton jacquard. It just looked so nice, and I’ve been wanting to make one ever since. Since my fabric is a lot less structured, I had originally just left the pockets out and it looked great, but I wanted to add patch pockets (instead of the pockets designed for the pattern) to get the look of Treasure’s cardigan.
I made the size 10-12, which is the size I fall into with my measurements. I just made it as long as I possibly could with the fabric that I had, which meant shortening the pattern by ~9″. I also added 1.5″ to the sleeves and made the sleeve hem 90 degrees so that I could fold it up to hem easily. The original sleeve pattern piece is angled because a cuff usually gets added. So, if you leave the cuffs off, you may want to do the same and straighten out the seam of the sleeves for a couple of inches.
I would have loved to make it longer and have it more like a duster. I also think that if I could have made it longer, adding some side slits would have been really cute.
I just love the versatility of this pattern now that I understand what I should and shouldn’t do when making it. Being a beginner sewist is hard enough when there are so many different patterns and fabrics to learn, so I hope this helps you if you’re trying to decide the best fabric for the Esme Cardigan.
I’ve already worn this multiple times and it’s so comfortable! It pairs well with so many colors and clothes that I already have in my closet, and that makes me really happy. And since my Archer Shirt from my last post matched so perfectly, here are a couple of photos of another outfit possibility.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy cardigan sewing! xoxo