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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review of Jalie's Hélène cardigan on the job

Every once in a while a pattern comes along that is just so useful and clever you know right away it is going to be a winner. Jalie's Hélène  cardigan is a pattern like that.

Last Tuesday I went to my local sewing guild meeting and quickly realized that half the women there had already made this pattern. I was on my own to-do list so the next day I cut one out.

Of course the recommended fabric was for something soft and flowy but I didn't have that, so I just went ahead and cut it out of some cotton ponte just to try it out.

This is an exceedingly interesting pattern, a cool inseam pocket, a sort of peplum at the back and a high neck shawl collar with a simple turned and topstitched edge that I cover hemmed. Since I am tall I added 1" to the body and 2" to the hem.

The sleeves were narrow below the elbow, fine for me because I have thin arms but if you don't, or want to wear it over another top, I suggest you just widen the sleeve below this point, essentially eliminating the distinct taper.

I was super pleased with this cardigan but when I showed it to my husband he said, "very nice but it looks like a lab coat" - due to the fabric of course. I tried to talk him out of this opinion. He retreated of course as husbands do with a "well what do I know?" but of course he had made a point.

A few days later my daughter who is a nurse, a care coordinator in oncology at the children's hospital, and my niece who is currently living in my basement while she studies nursing, looked at it after Easter dinner and they both said to me,

"Great lab coat."

And of course my daughter wanted it to wear to work. The fact the style and the fabric were somewhat tailored, but that as a knit it was comfortable and stretchy, were perfect for her work with the kids and parents.

So here my cardigan is in its new life as a lab coat on Katrina at work today. 

I am pretty proud of it. And of her:

Maybe not the fabric and use the designers intended but a great result. Katrina now wants three more and said she could have taken orders for 10 more from her colleagues. 

So I will be making more of these for my daughter but not before I make a few for me.

Wonderful pattern, just wonderful.


Terry in Alberta. said...

Well it looks wonderful on your daughter. I have a black knit that I might try for this.
Thanks for posting the info,

Angela said...

Looks great!

BeccaA said...

This is a great lab coat in white, and I bet it is more comfortable than a standard issue lab coat. I have to add this pattern to my to do list now.

SewRuthie said...

I am going to go and buy that for myself right now!

Summer Flies said...

Oh I so like this. It looks lovely on. I can see the lab coat reference but boy I love it that colour too.

AJW said...

It's a winner of a coat and looks terrific on your daughter.

sewingkm said...

Fantastic coat - lab coat due to white color but would be great in any other color. Thanks for the review and funny story.

PsychicSewerKathleen said...

I do love this sweater (and I believe I have this pattern as well - I'l have to go and check because I know I've ordered several Jalies lately and I'm 100% positive I have this one too) - it IS perfect for a lab coat!! More than perfect - where lab coats tend to be stiff cotton (or more likely some horrible cotton/poly blend) this one would be soft and warm to wear. I think you might have the start of a little business going here! (if you were so inclined but I have my doubts you are :)

carolinascallin said...

Great job on this! I've never tried a Jalie pattern, but this one might induce me to try :) Makes a very nice looking lab coat, too!

Kay said...

Your make has a professional jacket vibe, but when I looked at the pattern details I didn't see that at all. What a difference a change of fabric makes! I understand why your daughter likes this lab coat so much. It has the look of a lab coat, but with comfort and style.

This pattern would be useful in both iterations, as a comfortable but professional jacket, and as a comfy and casual sweater.

Thanks for sharing!

Janee said...

Great idea for a great pattern! I can see this in black, as a jacket for my doctor-daughter - who's always looking for pockets and a comfortable, professional jacket, but doesn't always have to wear her physician's coat.
Thanks for the post and the review!