Sewing cardigans: McCalls 6708 and Simplicity 2154 Face Off

OK, so previously I promised you another pattern for sewing (yes, sewing) your own cardigan.  So what I’m going to do is not only show you this “other” cardigan pattern but try to compare it with Simplicity 2154.  What a bonus I hear you cry!

So first up, the second cardigan pattern, McCalls 6708.McCalls 6708Note the key words on this envelope: “Easy” and “Knits”.  I’m away!!

Let’s take a closer look at this shall we?  It comes in two lengths with two necklines & sleeve length variations.  But what’s interesting about it is that the pockets you see are real…not faux me dears, but genuine proper welt pockets.

IMG_5119Now I was a bit cautious this time, making view E but without the pockets.  You’ll see that is partly to do with the fabric that I was making it out of, but mainly due to laziness.  This is an overlocker make on the whole, & I didn’t want to be fiddling around tooooo much with details.  I didn’t really want the Chanel look cardigan on this occasion.

Cardigan by the seaThe fabric is some patterned acrylic I bought last summer at Manchester’s Abakhan in one of the bargain weigh-your-own bins.  Yes I know it’s grey, for some reason I seem to be making loads of grey clothing at the moment.  This is not a conscious effort, promise.

And yes, I spent Easter by the sea & we had sunshine…cold, yes, but blue skies and the sun shone on us.

Here’s another seaside pic just to show off.  The hat?  (A Weekend Hat) Yes I knitted it, but will have to point out its many failings another time – I will tell you it took a darn sight longer than a weekend…

Seaside cardigan

This cardigan pattern uses bands for cuffs, neck, hem & front edges.  In fact every discernible edge is finished with a band (complete opposite of Simplicity 2154).  So you can see that I did not opt for contrast bands as suggested by the pattern, I did consider it, but did not have anything suitable.  Sewing buttonholes on this kind of band was fine too, even though there was no interfacing  (or was there?  You know I can’t remember!  I think I would use interfacing next time….).  I had some cream buttons already that I used for giving it some pop.

The instructions for making this particular view were ok- easy to follow.  The bands all worked nicely, but I was less happy having to slip stitch the centre front bands inside their long edges.  I was tempted to machine stitch in the ditch, but it is a very obvious seam to show through & on this occasion I decided to go slow.

McCalls 6708

I have worn this cardigan heaps since I finished it – I REALLY like it – the floral fabric is one reason, (cos I love it) but the shape to me is a perfect cardigan – nicely figure hugging & a nice low enough neckline.  It looks great buttoned up as well as true cardigan style.

So what about the Face Off?  Simplicity 2154 vs McCalls 6708

McCalls 6708 to the left, Simplicity 2154 to the right, blogged about here.

Here they are side by side.  McCalls has a better more shapely fit from the width of the sleeve, the narrowness of the cuff & the slight waist shaping.  Remember the Simplicity cardigan has been shaped a bit already by me & shortened.  I also prefer the neckline of the McCalls pattern, it is lower.  And what’s more, upon reflection, I like that the cuff & hem bands on the McCalls as they pull the sleeves/ body of the cardigan in a bit too…

Cardigans

I’d say undone, the McCalls has more of the properties of a knitted cardigan – it is less boxy & more snuggly with its narrow sleeves…

What I love about the Simplicity version is its button band made with grosgrain ribbon – just neatly attached, folded over & top stitched.  There are fewer pattern pieces, with hems being turned & topstitched as opposed to extra bands attached & finished.  But it still looks less like a knitted cardigan than the McCalls, don’t you think? At one point I was thinking of being tricksty & combining the McCalls shape with the Simplicity button band technique, but feel now that all of the bands bring the style together for the McCalls & it feels to me that to omit the centre front bands would be a design disaster as I wouldn’t want to omit the hem or cuffs.

I have some “grass green” quality knit (with actual wool content!) from Ditto to make up my next cardigan, as I can tell you I am sold on the whole concept of no-knit cardigans…  I am leaning towards another McCalls….but with welt pockets this time……& cute buttons 🙂

What is your experience?  Anyone tried either of these patterns?  Are there any other “knitted” cardigan patterns out there that are a success?

56 thoughts on “Sewing cardigans: McCalls 6708 and Simplicity 2154 Face Off

  1. Sam

    I love the McCalls cardigan. That fabric is gorgeous. I was actually looking at that pattern recently and trying to decide whether it’s something I would like or not. It looks fab, so I might give it a go. It’s hard to find nice knit fabrics around here though.

    With regard to the button bands, if you like the grosgrain ribbon of the Simplicity pattern, could you back the bands on the McCalls pattern with a ribbon once they’re in place? Not having seen the way it goes together I don’t know if it would work, but that’s something I’ve done on handknitted cardigans before to add stability.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hmm, thanks for the thinking Sam, I shall have to mull that over about using grosgrain in the McCall. Its centre front band is like a waistband, so slip stitched down inside…

      Reply
      1. Sam

        In that case could you machine the grosgrain to the band before you slip stitched it down? That way your machine sewing wouldn’t show on the front of the cardigan.

        Reply
  2. Philippa

    Thank you for the cardi reviews! They both fit well and look very professional. Any tips on where to buy sweater knit? There doesn’t seem to be much around, even on the Internet!

    Reply
  3. Amanda

    Ohhh! I love both cardigans 🙂 I think I prefer the lines of the McCalls though the grosgrain bands on the Simplicity sounds far more manageable. Both great stylish workhorses!

    Reply
  4. LoveTheWordFrock

    I love both of your cardigans. Thank you for this a knit cardigan is on my sewing fear list and you may just have given me the inspiration to tackle it. Abakhan’s is fab too although lethal like going to Ikea all inexpensive but you end up buying the entire stock.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Yep, you’re right, it’s scarier because its only at the till that you find out the cost as it gets weighed out…and thats always a worry, how much have i spent?? and it’s usually less than you think it’s going to be too I find. But still seem to buy heaps despite the fear!!

      Reply
  5. Christine

    Hi I love them both having a thing for cardigans I have been aiming to try one for a while. So inspiration might well be about to strike.

    Reply
  6. Amy

    The mccalls is very flattering. You look fantastic. I think the very cool fabric pattern helps add more visual interest than the simplicity version. You’re inspired me to try!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Great!! Yes I’ve been worried about cardi sewing, and was going to mod a Renfrew, but thankfully having a pattern de-stressed me and it was quite straightforward. Glad you’re going to have a go yourself!!

      Reply
  7. Stevie

    Beautiful Cardigan! I think I prefer the shaping of the McCall’s one. I think the fabric content can sometimes impact on how the cardi behaves. I’ve made a few from Viscose Jerseys and its not been anything like as nice as the ponte’s and more stable knits x

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi Stevie, yes, the fabric of both cardigans does behave slightly differently, so I can’t say hand on heart that this is a totally objective comparison, but reasonably fair. Lightweight jerseys would behave very differently I agree.

      Reply
  8. Kerry

    Very interesting, now I’ve started sewing with knits I could really do with a cardigan. My knitting speed cannot match my need for new cardigans! That green ditto fabric looks gorgeous too.

    Reply
  9. Dottie Doodle

    I’m trying not to buy any more patterns, but you’ve gone and inspired me again! I think the McCalls, but tempted by the Simplicity too (intrigued by that ribbon band) – maybe both… Thank you for a great review.

    Reply
  10. Karen

    Well, this IS interesting, Winnie…I have been looking for a cardigan to go w/ a summer dress (air conditioning is always an issue), but can’t find one that is either the correct color, or the right weight of yarn; unfortunately many of the ones I’ve found are flimsy & unstructured & look like heck. So, I will keep your sewn cardigan in mind & begin looking for the pattern on etsy! Thanks. Looks great on you, too!

    Reply
  11. Susan

    I prefer the McCalls buttoned up and the other one worn open. They both look fantastic ! Can’t wait to see the next version. I love green.

    Reply
      1. Susan

        I just purchased HP1048 Miss Moneypenny Coco last weekend then on Monday I got an email to say they were have a 20% of all patterns sale !! Still it looks like a lovely pattern and not dissimilar to your McCalls. X

        Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi caffy I can’t work out whether mail order is more tempting than in person fabric shopping….both times I seem to over shop- mail order requires me to feel justified in paying the postage and in person shopping usually happens when visiting other towns/ cities and offers such good prices I can’t resist….

      Reply
  12. thesecretlifeofseams

    I can never understand why cardigan patterns are so few and far between, so thanks for profiling these two, it’s great to see how they sew up. I think I prefer the fit on the McCalls but they’re both good. And they look so swish teamed with your scarf! So far I’ve only copied RTW cardis but I’ve found stabilising the CF with seam tape definitely helped the structure, so I favour that approach. I think Four square walls did an impressive Renfrew –> cardi hack that’s worth a gander.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi there, yes I remember four square walls Renfrew mod, it was inspiring and possibly a route I was going to take….and then…..! I will have to think how to incorporate ribbon in the centre bands as I think that is one slight weakness in its design…

      Reply
  13. Rachel

    I like the McCalls! In fact, I think I’m going to get that pattern. I just made my first knot cardigan using a borrow self-drafted pattern that came out really good. Now I’m hooked!

    Reply
  14. Ginger

    Ooh, these are both very nice! I love the print that you used for the McCall’s– it’s so pretty! It’s nice to know that there’s such a good cardigan pattern out there in the interwebs!

    Reply
  15. Megan

    Sewing cardigans is SUCH A FABULOUS IDEA. Seriously. I need to get on this- one can never have too many cardigans! Thanks for the rundown on the two patterns.

    Reply
  16. Steph A

    I love the cardigans! I think like most of the others, I prefer the McCalls shaping. What a great idea, to sew a cardigan. Now you’ve got me thinking, I could simplify my future interview suit to a fitted ponte cardigan and skirt! Your’s look really good.

    Reply
  17. Roobeedoo

    Oh Winnie, thank you thank you thank you! I stood in Zara with a cardigan in each hand, one Made in China, one Made in Turkey, and I was torn I really was… but then I remembered you were going to review a second pattern, so I put them both down – hooray! And I didn’t buy either – double hooray! And now I am going to buy a pattern instead – woo hoo! 😀
    Love that floral one – the shape, the print, the colour, but I agree the ribbon would be a really good addition.

    Reply
  18. Pat

    Those side by side pics are a brilliant way to see the differences in the patterns. As soon as my local store has sales on the patterns I will be buying both. Now to find some fabric as nice as yours is.

    Reply
  19. kaitui_kiwi

    The day before yesterday I found the cutest acrylic knit in grey with little black stars on it and I knew it would have to be a cardi for this winter.

    I went hunting online for a pattern and added the McCall’s to my wish list but couldn’t find any reviews of it online so thank you for this and the comparison with Simplicity.

    I think I will get the McCalls, even though there are more fiddly pieces I think it might be worth it for that “knitted” look, I might add the grosgrain ribbon to the back of the band like “real knitters” do for stability.

    Since I cannot knit, this is how I do knitting: find cute knitted fabric, sew it into a cardigan shape 😉

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I’m so glad this was so well timed then, just as youve got your perfect fabric (I like the idea of stars …….cute!!)- hope it goes as well for you & bet you get loads of wear from it:-)

      Reply
  20. MrsC (Maryanne)

    OOOh lovely! I have a sheer embroidered knit I want to make into a little cardi and this is a nice style. I like he grosgrain facing idea too.
    Would you like some more merino, poppet? It would make up loverly. Perhaps we can do a swap? 🙂

    Reply
  21. Kimberly

    I really like the fit of the new one on you better than the first cardigan. The thing that really got me though is how much better it looks on you than on the envelope. Based on their pic I would never have considered this pattern but it looks great on you! Nice work 🙂

    Reply
  22. LinB

    I have some of these sorts of patterns from the 1980s that you’ve inspired me to drag out and consider sewing up again. I’m thinking I’ll go with a separating zipper instead of buttons, tho. Or not. It’s a case of “six of one, a half-dozen of the other.’

    Reply
  23. brooke

    McCalls all the way. I like the hourglass shape. If I can digress in to the boring world of Gap cardigans…..the McCalls is what the Gap cardi should be. Simple but more elegant and I like the grosgrain. I have only made one sewn cardigan and it was from a free pattern called the Billi or Billy I think which is based on a tee shirt that fits you right. I like that grey fabric. I only thrift my fabric and it comes in color waves. It was purple all winter and now it’s orange. I can’t figure it out.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hehehe! I like the idea of the way your colours find you …it’s leaving it to the universe!
      Yes, I agree, the McCalls is definitely a winner, particular as I wear it more & more …

      Reply
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  25. missjoiedevivre

    Sewing cardigans is a brilliant idea! Except I don’t have a lot of knits in stash and I really REALLY can’t be buying more fabric for about ten thousand years. I guess I’ll have to knit them instead (as i do have yarn in stash!) But when I do get around to sewing cardis I’ll be back to look at this!

    Reply
  26. Carla

    I have been tempted on this pattern for weeks!!! Now with this review and your experience I am going to dive right in on the McCalls!!! Thank you for such review and inspiration.

    Reply
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