Completed Projects · Pattern Review · Tops/Tunics

My Lisbon Cardigan(s) and Pattern Testing

***Disclaimer – this post contains affiliate links***

Whew, last week was a busy week.  Not only is my day job hectic at the moment but I was testing a new Itch to Stitch sewing pattern.  The new pattern has now been released, so I’m able to post my thoughts about it!

Lisbon Cardigan - Red Side

When Kennis, at Itch to Stitch, puts out a call for testers she actually shows what the pattern is rather than keeping it secret.  The second I saw the Lisbon Cardigan I put in my application to test!  I’m a cardigan kind of gal and knew if the pattern worked for me it would get a lot of use. My standard attire for work is a sleeveless top with some kind of cardigan or topper.  I can use a cardigan for every day of the week especially in summer when there is air conditioning to contend with.

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When I read that the Lisbon Cardigan had 2 sleeve versions and 2 bodice lengths I was even more excited. More possibilities to use the same pattern but get a different look so nobody notices…mwahaha. Based on my measurements I signed up to test the size 8 and for me the sizing was quite accurate.

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First up is my initial and still incomplete size 8 muslin.  I chose a jacquard knit with the required 50% stretch, thinking it would be fine since it was the weight of a double knit.  However for my measurements this just didn’t have enough drape to work without an adjustment for full bust.

Lisbon Cardigan - Red

I abandoned the muslin and moved on to a lighter red rayon jersey since the fit seemed fine other than the FBA issue.  I really wanted to test my size and show the fit with minimal adjustments.  In the lighter drapey jersey knits I was successful without the FBA even for my D cup measurements.

Lisbon Cardigan - Red Open

Above is my red version with cropped bodice and 3/4 sleeves.  My only adjustments were to shorten the body and sleeves by 1″ using the provided lengthen/shorten lines and the recommendations in the instructions based on my height.  I love when a pattern tells me the height it’s designed for and some guidance on when to shorten.

Lisbon Cardigan -Red 2

It was 7 days from getting the test pattern to having to submit photos and final comments.  I’m not used to deadlines on my sewing but luckily this cardigan was a pretty quick sew and the pattern was stellar from the get go.  I believe the only change to the pattern pieces themselves, from all the tester comments, was to shorten the 3/4 length sleeves by an inch.

Lisbon Cardigan - Brown 4

Luckily for me this pattern is everything I hoped it would be.  I now have 3, yes 3, completed versions of this pattern!  I expect to make more in the not to distant future and know this pattern is one I’ll use for years to come.

Lisbon Cardigan - Brown

This brown (my 2nd completed) version is in a more stable knit with less drape than my rayon jersey versions.  I did a small FBA (3/4″ per side for 1 1/2″ total adjustment) to get rid of the bunching around the underarms and chest as, like my muslin, this material had less drape than a jersey knit.


One of my favourite things about this pattern is that it includes a high-end seam finish as part of the instructions.  Here is an in progress photo showing my Hong Kong seams.


My 3rd version is this adorable coral with anchor print. It is a very light rayon spandex jersey and will be perfect for summer.  This is the full length bodice and 3/4 sleeves with an 1″ adjustment to shorten the sleeves.  I likely should have graded this longer version to a size 10 at the hips but since I don’t intend to wear it closed at the bottom I stuck with a straight size 8.

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One thing I noticed about this pattern is I had no issues with tight sleeves.  I have biggish arms and tend to have issues with sleeves being too small in RTW garments.  This was not an issue with the Lisbon so those with smaller arms may want to slim the sleeves.  I also found this cardigan lower than I’m accustomed to under the arm.  None of the other testers had an issue with this though and now that I’ve worn my cardigans a bit I’m getting used to it.  In the future, if I’m feeling ambitious about adjustments, I may try to make the arm scythe slightly smaller/higher on versions I intend to wear only with sleeveless tops.   Just yesterday I was reading this truly excellent post which I found very helpful for understanding sleeve adjustments.

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What did I think about being a tester? It was very cool to be part of the tester group, tossing around thoughts about clearer instructions or different methods. A big part of what made it so amazing was the designer was actually taking suggestions and making updates based on our thoughts. I even noticed some of the things asked about in pattern testing were posted on Itch to Stitch blog (I’ve been following Kennis for a while, she is always posting neat tips and techniques) to share the reasoning behind a method she uses. I thoroughly  enjoyed the opportunity to have input on what I like to see in a pattern. It was a hectic week but totally worth it, especially for this pattern, and I will certainly apply to test again in the future.

Enough of my rambling, here is my review summary:

Garment Cost – Red Jersey Knit $10.74 CAD (costs include taxes)
  • Red rayon jersey knit $9.24 – Fabricland
  • Interfacing $0.50
  • Thread $1.00
Garment Cost – Brown Denim Knit $16.68 CAD (costs include taxes)
  • Reversible melange denim knit $12.87 – Fabricland
  • Stretch satin print for seam finish $2.31 – Fabricland
  • Interfacing $0.50
  • Thread 1.00
Garment Cost – Coral Nautical Knit $17.04 CAD (costs include taxes, shipping, exchange & duties)
  • Coral anchor print jersey knit $10.92 – Girl Charlee KnitFix
  • Black jersey knit $4.62 – Fabricland
  • Interfacing $0.50
  • Thread 1.00
Pattern cost $0.00 CAD – I received the pattern free for testing
Size chosen and modifications made:
  • Based on my measurements I chose a size 8.
  • In my red version I shortened the sleeve and bodice by 1″.
  • In my brown version  I did a 1.5″ FBA and shortened the sleeves only by 1″.
  • For my coral nautical version the only adjustment was shortening the sleeves by 1″.
What I liked:
  • Pattern had lengthen shorten line(s) for bodice, bands and sleeves.
  • Several opportunities for variations in look with sleeve/bodice lengths, color blocking or lace pieces and different weights of fabric.
  • Instructions for high-end Hong Kong seam finish included.
  • Wardrobe basic that I will use a lot.
  • Section discussing how different types of knits, within the recommended fabrics, would impact fit and look of the final garment.
What I disliked:
  • The cup size designed for was not stated in the pattern instructions.
  • Arm scythe felt a bit low for my personal preference.
My rating for this pattern is 9.5/10

The only thing I found missing was a comment regarding the cup size the pattern was designed for.   There were other markings/instructions to assist with fit and the height designed for was stated. The drafting and instructions were excellent, materials accurate and the recommended fabrics worked well.  The advanced beginner skill rating seemed valid given the detailed instructions and pointers for working with knits.  I’m a big fan of extra details like the included steps for a high-end seam finish.

Next time
  • Possibly raise arm scythe.
  • Make a version with a lace front bodice.

I was so impressed with this pattern and the other designs over at Itch to Stitch that I decided to sign up as an affiliate.  Thus my first ever disclaimer on my itty bitty blog:

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on an Itch to Stitch link within my post and end up buying a pattern I will receive some moola to fund my sewing projects! My reviews and thought are my own.  As my significant other diplomatically puts it “I have opinions” and will always say exactly what I think.

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2 thoughts on “My Lisbon Cardigan(s) and Pattern Testing

  1. Those are so pretty. I love the covered seams! I will have to try to make one because I also enjoy a good cardigan.

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