A Very Modified Cardigan

Debbie Bliss Collage

This is the Cable and Lace Cardigan from the Debbie Bliss Mia pattern book, knitted in Marine wool. The eagle-eyed amongst you may spot one key modification. Can you see? Stare hard. Yes, I knitted it as a jumper!

I was concerned about the springy wool making a button band strain across my chest. After all, in the pattern book, it was straining across the chest of a willowy model. What hope did I have? So I changed strategy. It isn’t difficult to amend a cardigan to become a jumper, especially when the front and back are knitted to exactly the same dimensions, bar the neckline shaping.

I initially felt a bit sniffy about the short sleeves, but they make this the perfect jumper for wearing into the office or layering with my grey cashmere granddad cardigan. I love the slight boxiness of the sleeve heads, which give it a touch of the 1940s. Once you start Googling 1940s knitting patterns, you realise there are some real cuties out there. Have you ever knitted one?

I worked hard to raise my game on this make. I used a long tail cast on to give the hem a neat, non-bobbly edge:

knitted hem

And I turned to several Youtube videos (here and here) in order to seam my make. On previous creations, my seams have been clumsy verging on ugly. Which is a shame, when a person invests months into knitting a piece of clothing. It turns out that proper seaming is easy, once you know how.

Below left, a garter stitch seam in progress. Bottom right is the finished seam. 

Seaming Collage

It’s worth noting that I added 5cm to the length of this jumper, so if you don’t like the ultra-cropped look, I’d suggest doing the same. This wool definitely needed blocking, but the good news is that the colour doesn’t run at all.

blocked pieces

I struggled to find quite the right outfit to wear with this jumper. I love the Land Girls vibe, but I don’t often dress like a land girl. When I recently went out on a walk with Old Maps Man (super highly recommended), I teamed it with one of my several beloved Simplicity 2451 skirts. Because you can really see both skirt and jumper in the below photo!

walking in london

This jumper took me seven months to knit. I loved the process, but was braced for yet another knitted item that I never wore. Actually, I feel very proud of the improvement in my knitting this cable and lace represents.

For a cardigan, this makes a great jumper!

debbie bliss jumper

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20 Responses to A Very Modified Cardigan

  1. ooobop! says:

    Exquisite work Ms Ball. Totally love the 40s vibe about this and I love the colour on you. It’s a long time since I’ve had knitting needles on the go but this is very inspiring. Can’t see anything quite this clever happening any time soon though! x

  2. Linda Wilson says:

    A very pretty knit, love the colour.

  3. Fabrickated says:

    This looks lovely Karen.

  4. Freda Griffiths says:

    Really like this one Karen. Clever to have made it a jumper and extended the length. It really suits you and was worth the time taken in the make. Well done.

  5. JaneyB says:

    This looks lovely and your seam finish is immaculate. This is something I’ve never mastered which is what puts me off knitting garments. I must watch those videos. Ella is looking particularly soulful in that photograph!

  6. Melody says:

    I am absolutely in love!

    I’m always really jealous of knitting skills because I am frankly useless at it, so I have a lot of admiration!

  7. Jane says:

    For a cardigan it DOES make a great jumper! And it’s so beautifully made too. If you ever get bored of it please sling it my way, I’ll pay good money for it! x

  8. Nicola says:

    Love this it looks great. I know what you mean you spend so long knitting something only to not like it that much when you finish.

  9. TamsinW-P says:

    I think I would have given up if it took me that long to make something! Great perseverence and a lovely jumper! Thanks for the link to the Old Map Man. When I lived in London, the Independent had a weekly series of walks around different areas of London which I used to follow sometimes – I love finding out interesting bits about places.

  10. S says:

    Funny, I’m currently into 1940s-era short-sleeved sweaters and am knitting one in blue at the moment (as part of a red and white “sewing with a plan” plan). Great minds think alike! I can be lazy at times about cast-ons, for no good reason (often just forgetfulness), though a variety work for different types of knitted edges depending on the ribbing and the wear they’ll get. I like a tubular cast on best, especially for jumpers, but the long-tail works very well. The pattern in this top reminds me quite a bit of a Kim Hargreaves pattern I’ve made for summer before (in navy blue!): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/arielle

  11. Oh! That is very cute! I love cropped sweaters, and this one with the lace and the cute sleeves is perfect!

  12. Ros says:

    It looks great! It’s so satisfying to knit a jumper that you will actually wear.

    You can easily do FBAs on knitted items, for future reference. A garment with the same front and back measurement is, obviously, always going to strain over the bust, and while that works fine in this pattern, you won’t always get away with it. I think you’d enjoy Ysolda Teague’s Little Red in the City which contains detailed and clear instructions on modifying patterns to fit your body better.

  13. It’s tricky finding knits that flatter, but I think you’ve got it spot on with this one. The defined waist especially is really flattering on you.

  14. Helen says:

    I stopped knitting as I had so many items that I never wore, it seemed pointless. I am trying again with a poncho! I like the idea of making a jumper out if a cardigan pattern as I have the same problem with straining over the chest. Having knitted for years I have never considered how I cast on or seam, so I will have a look into that as you are right you should do the best you can having spent ages knitting it.

  15. megan says:

    Jumper looks great. I can’t knit any longer, very sad, my wrists, elbows and shoulders have given out! I used to hate sewing things together and did lots of knitting in the round, however… try ladder stitch it gives the most beautiful seams and it’s nice and easy.

  16. susew says:

    Looks lovely. Short rows are the knitters equivalent of the sewer’s FBA, not that I’ve had experience with either technique. I knit most of my sweaters in the round to the armhole and do three needle bind off on the shoulders to avoidi some of the seaming.

  17. I love it and straight away it gave off vintage vibes to me too. I use the long tail cast on and it is so neat.Jo

  18. sandra says:


  19. rbjaneite says:

    Super cute!

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