Dream Minimalist Cardigan | Helen's Closet Blackwood

Cardigan Pattern: Helen's Closet, Fabric: LA Finch Fabrics (sold out, similar)  │Tank: Everlane*  │  Trousers: Gap*  Jeans (Below): Gap*│  Necklace: Will Randall Designs  │  Bracelet: J.Crew*  │  Ear CuffEtsy  │Sunglasses: Ray-Ban*  │  Shoes: Nisolo*

Note: Do you see that white haze in the photo on the left? That's the mark of a camera shutter's death 😝 So, we had to replace our camera and finish taking photos at a (much) later date. Whiiich is why I have on chinos in some photos and jeans in others haha

Note: I've updated my post format to include as much detail about both the pattern and the fabric possible. I hope it's helpful! (And not too boring, haha) Let me know below!

I know I've mentioned before the split personality my wardrobe has and I'm sure it shows if you look at my Finished Projects page or if you follow me on Instagram haha. But, one thing I've noticed is that I follow quite a bit of "minimalist" fashion on Instagram, so my feed is constantly filled with pretty neutrals, easy styling, and simple silhouettes. So, it was no surprise when I found myself drawn to this Tobacco knit or when I instantly knew just which pattern it needed to become.


The Pattern

I've been meaning to sew up this pattern since it was first released! I've actually had a black ribbed knit one cut out for quite a while, but I decided I didn't have a pressing need for a long black cardigan and got distracted by something else. But, I'm definitely glad I've finally given it a shot! It's just the staple pattern I had hoped it would be.

From the designer:
The Blackwood Cardigan is a cozy and versatile addition to your wardrobe. Designed with layering in mind, it has minimal excess fabric in the front and a close fit around the neck and shoulders. Its fitted shape and extra long sleeves make it perfect for wearing under jackets and vests, while also looking stylish over tank tops and dresses. View B ends at the hips, while View A extends down to the mid-thigh and includes patch pockets at hand level.  The Blackwood is intended to be worn open and is not designed to close at the front.
I would say this is a fair description (with a small fit caveat I'll get to in a minute). I really like the open front design of it. As most cardigans do, this one tends to settle completely open at my sides, but when brought forward, I think it has a nice shape along the front. I also like the [optional] bottom band and the size and placement of the pockets (to be fully useful for me, they would need to be larger, but I prefer pockets that are that deep to be hidden on the inside).

Everything went together really well and Helen's instructions were very clear. The only thing I did to help the process was to Soft Stretch tape, cut into narrow strips, to help hem and baste the pockets. I think I would say this is a safe intro to knits patterns for those of you who have been wanting to try your hands at them.


Fit + Tweaks

So, that caveat I mentioned above? Well, my cardigan fits exactly as described. You can see in the photos, it hits mid-thigh, the pockets are at a comfortable level, and the sleeve length is generous, even when I bend my arms. This is surprising because I'm 5'10". 4" inches taller than the pattern is drafted for. So, length may be something to watch out for if your limbs aren't as long as mine.

  • Cut size M, blending out to a L (technically, my hips fell in the XL but I opted to stick with the L due to the open style)
  • No changes made
For my next one...

I don't think I'll change anything actually! Maaaaybe the slightest swayback adjustment, but I think the pooling I have there is more due to the cotton catching on my jeans than an actual fit problem.


The Fabric (+ Notions)

You may not guess from the title, but I wavered back and forth on buying this fabric. The color seemed risky for my skin tone, so I actually completed my purchase without it. Then, later that afternoon, I sent a message saying I had buyer's remorse and could I please add two yards of it haha, and Josie, of course, was accommodating. When it arrived, I was relieved to see it was a nice neutral tone, as I had hoped, but my fiance had his doubts. So, to prove him wrong, I sewed it up almost immediately and put it promptly into rotation! Mind you, I tend to wear it with white underneath and it might help that the color isn't directly next to my face, but it offers a nice bit of variety that I'm really happy to have!

How did it wash/sew/wear?
I have to say, organic cotton can be a bit tricky. In the past, I've often found that it is often thinner than expected and doesn't wear well at all. But, I trusted that Josie would have found better quality and I was right! The fabric washed up almost exactly as it had arrived, only a little softer, more broken in, which I think to be a good thing, like a favorite tee. And, even though I made this back in April, it's still looks new. The color isn't fading and the fabric has maintained it shape, which is particularly great coming from a lightweight cotton. And, I can't say how much I love that it's organic! I would say the only very-slight drawback, which applies to all cotton jerseys I've used, is that without the slinkiness of other fibers, it does erm, catch on my bum just a bit. Just something to keep in mind for those of you with fuller bums like me.

Supply list:
  • 2 yards jersey
  • Gutermann all-purpose thread
  • Maxi Lock serger thread
  • YLI woolly nylon (in the loopers)
  • Heat n Bond Soft Stretch Lite hem tape (for the pockets)
  • Easy Knit tape (shoulder seams)
  • Stitch n Ditch tear away stabilizer


I am so (haha, I actually typed 'sew' first) glad I finally made up this pattern! I can easily see why everyone loves it so much. And it's so nice to have an earthier option in my wardrobe for my "minimalist" personality days.

So tell me, do you sew for multiple wardrobe personalities too?

Happy sewing! x

Labels: Wunderlabel* and Etsy

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