It’s always an exciting day when Tilly and the Buttons launch a new pattern and I was so happy to be offered a copy of the Pearl Cardigan to try out before the launch date. (This pattern was gifted to me with no obligation to share but of course, I loved the finished result so much that I had to!).
Pearl is described as an ‘on trend’ V neck wrap cardigan. The cardigan is cropped at the waist and fastens at the side with adjustable ties for the perfect fit. There are three options for sleeve style with the pattern; choose from long straight sleeves, short sleeves or (my personal favourite) the balloon sleeve. Pearl is available in two size bands 6-24 and or 16-34 (UK sizing). It’s sewn from knit fabric and the skill level is described as ‘confident beginner’ so it’s a great one to try if you’re new to sewing but want to try something a little more daring.
On receiving my pattern, I knew straight away which version I wanted to go for. Yep, you’ve guessed it, the balloon sleeve style. This style is very similar to one of my other favourite Tilly patterns, the Billie Sweatshirt and Dress. I’ve recently made a version of this sweater with a ‘normal’ shoulder and a balloon cuff and I absolutely love it so I was keen to try this style again.
I knew that I wanted to use quite a drapey knit fabric for my version of Pearl because I love how the balloon sleeve style looks with some drape to the fabric. You get a pretty gathered effect that falls nicely over the cuff and feels comfortable and not too poufy to wear – perfect!
I shopped around a little online and eventually settled on this beautiful pale pink soft viscose knit from Sew Me Sunshine. I love the pink but this fabric also comes in a lovely mustard shade which I’m tempted by too!!
Having taken note of the pattern images and the finished garment measurements, I decided that I’d like to lengthen my cardigan a little. I would primarily be wearing this version with jeans and none of my jeans are very high waisted so I didn’t want any gappage (is gappage a word??) in the middle area. Nor did I want anything to be riding up too much when I moved around so I altered my pattern slightly to lengthen it by 1 inch. I also decided to lengthen the sleeves by 1 inch too, I didn’t necessarily NEED to do this but I prefer a longer sleeve with the balloon style because it looks lovely all gathered over the cuff with the extra length (in my humble opinion anyway).
If you’re interested to see how I lengthened the pattern I’ve created a short YouTube video explaining my method here – I hope it helps!
So once my alterations were all done, I got to cutting out my fabric. I always find cutting out knit fabric a bit of a chore because it’s always so drapey and stretchy. I’ve found that it helps to hang the excess fabric over a chair at the end of the table to avoid pulling the fabric while cutting.
So onto the sewing process. The pattern calls for seam tape or iron on interfacing, I didn’t have any tape so I cut strips of interfacing to apply to the V neck to stop it stretching out of shape during the sewing process and this worked fine.
I absolutely loved sewing up this pattern and it came together super quickly! The cardigan neckline is finished with a lovely wide neckband which looks really flattering and I loved how the ties were fitted to the bottom.
There’s a neatly finished hole in one side of the hem band so that the tie can be easily threaded through to wrap and tie at the waist.
The balloon sleeves are created by gathering a very wide sleeve bottom into the balloon sleeve cuff. I think this step is probably the most fiddly part of the whole process but with care and a lot of pins/clips the gathered cuff fits in nicely.
I’m really pleased with how my first Pearl cardigan turned out in this fabric I think it’s perfect for wearing with jeans or even shorts in the summer. It would look lovely layered over a pretty cami top or a long sleeved t shirt for extra warmth when it’s chillier.
I think this pattern would be a great one for beginner sewists wanting to develop skills in working with knit fabrics, the instructions are great and there are lots of helpful tips and photographs to help you along the way.
I also think this style of cardigan would look great layered over a dress. I’d really like to make a couple in neutral colours, unlengthened to be cropped at the waist. What a great wardrobe staple they would be!
What do you think of the latest Tilly pattern? Have you made it yet? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Until next time – happy sewing!