Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

HelenBlackwood Cardigan, Blackwood Sewalong, Fitting & Pattern Adjustments8 Comments

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong – Choosing the Right Size

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong

Welcome to the second post in the Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong! I am really excited to get started. If you haven’t yet, you can grab your copy of the Blackwood Cardigan here. 

How to choose the right size:

The Blackwood is designed to fit close to the body without being tight. It fits great over shirts without too much bulk in the shoulders and arms, tank tops, and sleeveless dresses. The cardigan is designed to have an open front, so it will show off your lovely outfit underneath!

Here is what one of my testers, Fleurine, had to say about it:

Blackwood Cardigan PDF Sewing Pattern

The sizing is lettered (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL). Because this pattern is designed for stretchy knit fabrics, we can have each size cover a larger range of measurements. This also means that some of you will be just on the edge of a size range. In this case, you may be wondering, “should I go up or down a size?’. Well, you can ask yourself some quick questions to find out!

What do I plan to wear the Blackwood with?

As mentioned above, the Blackwood Cardigan works really well over tighter fitted sleeved shirts or sleeveless garments. If you are on the upper end of a size chart and would like to wear your Blackwood over loose t-shirts or boxier woven tees, I would suggest going one size up.  If you like to wear tank tops, sleeveless dresses, or fitted long sleeve shirts, I would stick to the size category you fall into or size down if you are between sizes.

What fabric do I intend to use?

It is recommended to use a fabric with at least 40% stretch widthwise and 20% lengthwise. Many of the samples I made have upwards of 60% stretch widthwise. Fabrics like bamboo knits, french terry, rayon jersey blends, modal knits, and wool jerseys work well. Ponte knits can also work but will result in a more structured cardigan. If you are right on the upper end of a size and wish to use a ponté or a fabric with barely 40% stretch, I would suggest going up a size.

Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong


If I go up or down a size, will I have to make any adjustments?

It depends. The one place where going up or down a size could result in a poor fit is in the shoulders. You may need to do a narrow or wide shoulder adjustment if you go up or down a size. We will be covering this in the adjustments portion of the sewalong, so you can experiment with that if you think you may need it.  Knits are quite forgiving, so going up or down 1 size does not always result in needing any adjustments, it simply means a tighter or looser fit overall.

What if I need to grade between sizes?

You can absolutely grade between sizes. I will be covering how to do this in the adjustments portion of the sewalong posts. It is quite common to grade out at the hips for a larger hip measurement or take in the arms to get a tighter fit.

Why aren’t more finished garment measurements provided?

Because the Blackwood Cardigan is designed to sit open, there is a gap in the front.  Finished garment measurements would be misleading as this gap would make the measurements seem quite small. Knit fabrics also stretch over the body and tend to be more forgiving for fit but it is harder to gauge the fit based on finished garment measurements. The Blackwood is designed to sit close to the body without feeling tight, so the size chart is the best indication of which size will work for you.

If you have specific questions about sizing I am happy to help you! Email me anytime at or ask your questions in the comments below!


About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

8 Comments on “Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong – Choosing the Right Size”

  1. Hello Helen! My problem fitting area is full (NOT gonna say fat) arms. Would you recommend altering for this ( I’ll probably start with the Medium size), ans can you explain how? A few garments I’ve made this year are too tight in the arms, but my frame is quite small, so it wouldn’t be appropriate to size up altogethet.
    Hope that makes sense…

    1. Hi Tracey! I would suggest trying a full bicep adjustment. It should give you the extra room you need in the upper arm, and if you also need room in the lower arm you can do a gradual grade out like I showed in this post. I will be covering full bicep adjustments next week, but if you are eager to get going you can google it, there are lots of great tutorials out there!

  2. Pingback: Blackwood Cardigan Sewalong – How to grade between sizes – Helen's Closet

  3. I bought the waffle sweater knit from Blackbird. My friend tried my blackwood on which is a 12 B cup. Fit but it was a stretchier fabric. She needed a D cup and her measurements were for a size 14. I am nervous the 20% stretch of the waffle knit won’t be enough. I am making it for her as a gift before she leaves to go on a cruise next week. What do you think?

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