I had this cotton knit fabric cut out to make a summer Presto Popover top, when I had a sudden realisation that what I needed was a summer cardi – one I could layer at will and this colour, which doesn’t really suit me, would be perfect as it is so neutral.
The Presto Popover (previously blogged here and here) is a really clever design. You cut out two complete fronts each with an elongated neck piece. The fronts are joined together with a line of stitches down the middle, stopping where you want the neck opening to finish. The fronts are folded back on themselves to form a single front which is double thickness. The back of the neck is then seamed like a halter neck before being joined to the back piece. There are several advantages to this design, not least of which is that the front of the top is no longer transparent when made with thin fabric, and when turned into a cardigan, that extra layer gives a bit of weight to the fronts.
I think my inspiration for modifying the top came from a conversation I had with Megan from meggipeg a while back, when we were discussing how easy it would be to turn this pattern into a cardigan. And so it proved… All I did was to leave out the centre stitches on the fronts, joined the two layers at the neck using the burrito method as per the instructions (if you are unfamiliar with this method, you simply join one front to the back, roll the whole garment into the piece you are sewing, turn it over and join the other front, giving you two layers right sides together. Then you pull the garment out through the armholes and all the seams are neatly enclosed. Clear as mud? I thought so! Here are a couple of good tutorials on the matter – Grainline Archer and a video tutorial.
This is how the inside looks – seams nicely hidden. The vertical seam at the top is the back of the neck, which is part of the front and the horizontal seam is where the fronts join to the back.
Here is a closeup so that you can see how the neck is joined to the back.
I also turned the hems on the front pieces right side together and sewed them up to get a neat look,
and I coverstitched the back hem. Shocking photo as I had been wearing said cardi and it lost its nice crisp look, but you get the idea.
The thing about the Presto is that it is very fitted. Were I to make a winter cardigan from this pattern (and I probably will), I would rework it so that I had some chance of making the fronts meet. Otherwise they look like this – not that it bothers me. I am really happy with my open, swinging cardi for the warmer temperatures.
The only other changes I made were to lengthen all the pattern pieces, including the sleeves.
I did have a dark moment. I had completed the whole thing and was busy giving it a final press when I noticed a black thread had inveigled its way into the folded front. Aaaagh! I had to unpick part of the seam and entice it out. It only showed in certain lights, but I knew it was there and it would have bothered me enormously.
This cardi is going to be in constant rotation. It is the perfect weight, it is a great colour to tone with many of my outfits, and it is so, so, comfortable. If you have the Presto pattern (and if you don’t, I can recommend it) give this simplest of hacks a go, you will not be sorry!
Here are a couple of other ways I’ve worn it.
colour blocked dress (sorry about the wrinkles, it’s linen and I’d had a long lunch with friends)
It is also fabulous for casual dressing when I’m staying at home – pink trousers (vogue 8859) and unblogged white singlet.
Details: The pattern is the Presto Popover by Coco at the Heroine’s Closet. Fabric was bought from Potter’s several years ago when they were still in Leederville. The first dress shown is Tilly and the Buttons Coco, blogged here.