Monday, May 6, 2019

The Mahina Circle Cardigan with Beautiful Shoulders

The one thing I have struggled with most with clothing in general, be it store-bought or made by myself, is getting the fit correct in the shoulders. I inherited wide shoulders and a broad upper back from my father. Let me tell you, these physical features do not make finding well-fitting clothing easy! If a shirt fits properly in the shoulders, it's generally too big everywhere else.

Now, in the past few years, I've made the majority of my own clothes, so I've been able to alter patterns to accomodate my shoulders nicely. That said, I do have to remember to actually alter the patterns accordingly. Sometimes I forget to do so and pay the consequences. Thus, I was extremely happy when I recently came across a pattern where the sizing is based on one's shoulder measurement!

Yes! The sizing is based on the measurement! The pattern in question is the Mahina Cardigan by Scroop Patterns, which I tested a couple weeks ago. This cardigan is literally a circle with sleeves attached, wonderfully flowy and cozy.

To make sure the sleeves are placed perfectly in the circle, the sleeve placement is based on shoulder width. To make sure the sleeves fit perfectly, the sleeve size is based on the bicep measurement. Thanks to this combination, I can get a perfect fit - without having to do a broad back and wide shoulder adjustment!

Look at those perfectly placed armscye seams - right on my shoulders! (and please ignore my slightly uneven shoulder darts) I really like the sizing system for this garment. To be fair though, I initially decided to test this pattern based on the design itself, the shoulder-based sizing system was just a nice side feature.

A couple years ago, the Dreamstress blogged about a circular cardigan she made herself, and I've been hoping she would release a pattern for this cardigan ever since. After 2 or 3 years of waiting, the call for pattern testers finally appeared on the Dreamstress blog about a month ago! Of course, I immediately applied, and was very happy a week later to get an email informing me I'd been selected to test the pattern.

Now the first step to making this cardigan was accurately measuring my shoulders and biceps so I could select the correct shoulder width and sleeve size for a wonderfully fitting garment. Measuring my own bicep was relatively easy. Measuring across the back of my own shoulders was darned near impossible. I tried to measure myself multiple times, and kept coming up with different numbers. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I could not accurately measure my own shoulders, so I went in search of a family member to do it for me. I showed my little brother the very handy measuring diagram in the Mahina Cardigan instructions, and requested he measure across the back of my shoulders. He did so. I had an accurate measurement allowing me to pick the correct size and cut out my cardigan.

The Mahina Cardigan pattern has four different views to pick from - a small circular cardigan, a medium circular cardigan, an oval cardigan, and a large circular cardigan. I decided go big or go home, so I made the large circular cardigan. This option looked rather glamorous, and quite cozy.

The large circle allows for the "collar" portion of the cardigan to be used as a hood.

And it's full enough to wrap a small baby goat up in! (This is Arabella, our youngest baby goat, born at the beginning of April - very sweet and cuddly, but a little shy)

I made my cardigan out of a moss green cotton interlock knit from my stash. (It's almost the exact same color as the fabric I used for my Otari Hoodie when I tested that Scroop Pattern last year) I absolutely love the color of the fabric, but I'm not sure if this type of fabric was the best choice for this type of garment. The fabric likes to stick to itself, and me, rather than swinging freely, which I find a little annoying.

I may not have made the best choice of fabric for this cardigan, but I do love how I finished the edges!

The pattern instructions offer four different methods for finishing the edges, and I chose the woven bias tape option. I decided to make my own bias tape from a fat quarter of black and rainbow floral cotton batik I found in my stash - and I love the pop of crazy colors and pattern along the edges of my cardigan!

No matter how I wear my cardigan, hood up or collar down, the bias tape is visible, adding a bit of interest to an otherwise neutral colored garment.

Even with the "sticky fabric" I've worn my cardigan plenty since completing it! The past week has been surprisingly chilly for late April/early May in the middle of the U.S. and my big circle cardigan has been just the thing for wrapping up in!

Plus, the shoulders fit perfectly, without adjustment, thanks to the genius sizing system - what more could I ask for?? 

I made the tester version of this pattern, so the final pattern is slightly different than the version I used.

Also, I received this pattern in exchange for testing it and giving feedback on it, but I was not required to blog about it or otherwise share about it on social media. This blog post was purely my own choice to write and all thoughts and opinions shared are my own.


  1. This looks both comfy and stylish. I like to go to hippy festivals and can see myself wearing one of these there! :)

    1. Thank you! I think it would be perfect for a hippy festival!

  2. OH, the Dreamstress is brilliant!!! I share your shoulder struggles all the way girl! I also admired her cardigan from years ago, and now with the sizing method you mention, I am in love with it.
    Your binding adds a lovely bit of detail. Great choice.

    1. Yes! Every one of her patterns is just a touch different than everything else and amazing! Wide shoulders are a pain! Thank you, I really love my binding!

  3. Love it! What fabric do you think would be a better choice?

    1. Thanks Gram! Judging by other cardigans I’ve seen made from this pattern, It seems Sweater knits (especially heavier sweater knits), boiled wool, and even ponte de roma work well. I think French terry might work well too - I want to get my hands on some French terry and try it!

  4. Wonderful! Makes me think of a shepherd's cloak...a goatherd's cloak!

    1. Yes! A goatherd’s cloak! Definitely something I needed in my closet!