Lulu Cardigan Sewalong, Part 2: Fabrics and Notions
The Lulu Cardigan pattern works best with medium to heavyweight knits with about 40% to 60% stretch. The fit is drafted to be very snug when zipped or buttoned up. If you find a fabric you love that is a little less stretchy, it may still work. But consider sizing up, especially if you are between two sizes.
TYPES OF KNITS TO USE FOR THIS PATTERN
(Scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of community-recommended online fabric shops)
Double knits or Interlock knits will work really well for the Lulu. Double knits are made with a double knit weave construction, often making them reversible, as they have the same finish on both sides. This also makes them a little thicker than most other knits, which makes them very figure flattering. They have the perfect combo of stretch and stability that will support the princess seam lines and provide a very comfy fit. They’re also fairly easy to work with (great for beginners!) and they are very widely available. There are several types of knit that fall into the double knit category: Ponte, Liverpool and Scuba, to name a few. The main difference between each is the fiber content, which gives each a slightly different hand feel and drape, but the same high recovery, flattering stretch that makes them perfect for this pattern!
French Terry is a type of knit that has a soft, looped, textured side and a smooth side. French terry is one of my absolute favorite knits—it’s so soft and comfortable and easy to wear over and over again! It is less structured than a double knit, but will work well for the Lulu.
Sweater Knits are simply knit fabrics made for sweater making. These come in a wide variety of styles and fiber contents. So the stretch and structure will vary greatly. But they can still be great option if you find a gorgeous boucle or thrifted sweater to refashion into your Lulu!
Athletic and Performance knits are typically lighter weight polyester fabrics with moisture wicking properties. These knits may be a little more finicky with the topstitched seam lines, but I could totally see a running jacket made with the Lulu pattern in a great athletic knit (this is actually on my to-sew list)!
Stretch Lace, Faux Suede, and Velvet are my wild card fabrics for this pattern! These fabrics tend to be lightweight and can be challenging to sew, BUT if you find one you love with decent stretch and recovery, you can create a cardigan with some serious drama! I made one of my cardigan samples out of a white stretch lace (Inspired by that Anthropologie cardigan I saw a few months back) and it has become my favorite thing to wear. And one of the testers sewed this fabulous little velvet number! I’d recommend going for it if you are comfortable sewing with these types of fabrics, or if you’re like me and just throw caution to the wind!
There is only a tiny bit of interfacing along the placket for Version B. (You may also want to use it where the zipper is installed to keep the fabric from stretching out.) Look for tricot or knit fusible interfacing, such as Pellon Ek 130 Easy-Knit or Fusiknit Tricot Fusible Interfacing.
RIBBING FOR THE CUFFS, NECK BAND, AND HEM BAND (VERSION A)
Version A of the Lulu Cardigan pattern calls for knit ribbing to finish the neck band, sleeve cuffs, and hem. You’re looking for something listed as “1x1” or “2x2” “ribbing” that has a very high stretch percentage (up to 100%). It is often a little thicker and more stable. The fiber content is usually mostly cotton (or other natural fiber) with a small percentage of spandex, lycra, or elastane for extra stretch recovery. Using this fabric will give your cardigan that authentic bomber-style finish!
If you don’t want to use knit ribbing, or you can’t find one to match your main fabric, you can also use your main fabric for these pieces. **If you do this, you will want to size the neck band up about two sizes if your main fabric doesn’t have 60% stretch or more.**
ZIPPERS AND SNAPS
The Lulu pattern has two closure options: zip up (Version A) and snap front (Version B). For the zipper, you’re looking for a separating jacket zipper that is the length specified for your size. If you can’t find your specified length, get one that is longer because you can trim it to the right size. For this pattern, since we are working with knits, I really like the size #3 lightweight jacket zippers sold on Wawak.com. They come in brass, nylon, and molded plastic in a variety of colors and lengths. But this size is hard to find anywhere else (I searched high and low!), so a larger-toothed zipper will work as well if that is all you can find.
For the snaps on Version B, I chose 7/16” (1.1 cm) pearl snaps. These are pretty common and easy to find. You can really use just about any lightweight snap for this project. The finished snap placket width is 5/8” (~1.5 cm), so find something that will fit within that space and you should be good to go. You’ll also want to make sure your snaps aren’t too difficult to unsnap! Since this is a knit cardigan, a stubborn snap will lead to LOTS of tugging on a knit. This can also be avoided by making sure you have the proper tools to install the size of snap you have, as crushing or denting the snap can make them harder to snap and unsnap. Make sure to practice snap installation on scrap fabric to get the hang of it.
You can also use buttons! Installing buttonholes in a knit can be a total pain, but with the right knit and a little patience, it can certainly be done. Do a couple of test buttonhole on scrap fabric before committing.
WHERE TO BUY KNIT FABRICS + NOTIONS
I polled the sewing community for their favorite online shopping resources and I tried to get a mix of U.S. based and global shopping resources. Many places ship abroad, some with really affordable shipping (or free shipping!). If you have any other online fave fabric shops for buying knits to add to this list, shoot me a message and I will add them (also let me know if I need to add international shipping or eco-friendly tag if I left it off)!
(Shops marked with a * offer international shipping, shops marked with “(EF)” have eco-friendly fabric sourcing and business practices)
D&H Fabrics (EF)
Sierra Sewing Supply * (EF)
Matchpoint Fabrics * (EF)
Raspberry Creek (custom fabric printing also available!)
Seattle Fabrics (technical fabrics)
Jumping June Textiles (I LOVE their European jacquard knits and ribbing!) *
Fancy Tiger Crafts * (EF)
Simplifi Fabrics * (EF)
Greenstyle Creations (awesome high quality athletic fabric selection!)