If you are interested in sewing and prefer independent designers (aka indies) you might have noticed that their number is growing up significantly. One of these newbies is Greek designer Athina Kakou.
Coincidentally, I wrote about Athina about one year ago on my Czech blog in the post about organizing and planning, because before she released her first pattern, she has created very interesting planner for those who want to organize their projects, fabric and pattern stash or sewing challenges. During 2018 Athina introduced her own line of sewing patterns to the market. She apparently puts a huge effort into them not only prior to their release but also when they are out. On her blog and Instagram and also YouTube channel she enthusiastically presents “hacks” of her patterns which means she’s giving more ideas how to creatively use the basic patterns to achieve more variants and looks. For example her Sheona top has five versions in its basic form and additionaly Athina put up 16! more hacks. You might want to know that all of her patterns are named by various sewing bloggers and vloggers. Isn’t it cute?
I was honoured to be one of the testers of Athina’s new cardigan Nikki (named by the blond half of Stitch Sisters duo).
Cardigan is intended to be sewn from knits and comes in two lengths.
I had a chance to see the cardigan prior to testing in several interesting executions by other bloggers and by Athina herself.
At first sight, I did like the cardigan but honestly, for some reason I was not overly impressed. However being a long-time sewer I was really curious to see how Athina, being quite a newbie amongst designers, manages the construction of the pattern and instructions and everything, so I was really happy to be able to test the pattern.
As testers, we were given one month period of time. Which is quite a comfortable time span considering it’s quite an easy pattern that you can whip up on an overlocker in couple of hours. Considering you are not a chronical procrastinator….
Which I am.
Sewing itself really took me no more than two hours. But the longest part of the process was picking up fabric so in the end I had really hard time to finish the project on time.
I was determined not to buy any fabric but use something from my huge stash.
Which appeared to be a problem because I’m quite thrifty when buying fabrics and this wrap style cardi required a little bit more fabric then I usually buy for cardigans and knit jackets. So, in the end, the only suitable fabric I was able to find in my stash was boring black ponte.
I’ve decided to embellish it with embroidery at least. Which consequently caused another delay. Because there are so many designs to choose from! I have my own portfolio of designs and I also buy interesting designs from other designers. I’ve narrowed the selection to large floral embroidery design or some free-standing lace. Florals were then eliminated because they would interfere with various florals skirts I have planned to wear with the cardi.
This motif by Urban Threads made it to the finals.
Now back to the pattern. As for the processing, I can only speak in superlatives. Athina provides the pattern both in A0 and A4 sizes which is great. You can let the pattern print in the copy shop and save a lot of (precious) time by not having to tape the A4 sheets together. Or you can save money and print the pattern by your own which is especially handy when you decide to shop for pattern and sew in late night hours. (Been there, done that.)
Pattern naturally includes sewing instructions and also very demonstrative illustrations so if you don’t like to sew by the written instructions, you are pretty fine with pictures only. Moreover Athina provides free video sewalong on her You Tube channel, with the help of which even an absolute begginer can bring the project to successful finish.
As for the sizing you can go by use the measurement chart or finished project sizing which I’m not used to so I went by the chart. Besides the back being a little bit too loose for me, which is a problem I sometimes have with other patterns too, I was happy with the sizing. Everything else on the cardigan fitted great, the length of the sleeves, bands, everything, no adjustment needed.
At the end of the day, the worst part of the project was the embroidery. One design has 34,000 stitches so it was quite a time consuming labour. The quality of this design is great though, I didn’t have ANY single thread break while embroidering both designs. But I was kinda disappointed with the final look of the project. I can’t say why, it does look the way I planned but I have envisioned it much better.
Now let me get back to my initial statement that I haven’t been overly impressed by the cardigan. The reason was its wrap style. I love cardigans and I wear them a lot but mostly as a throw on piece of wardrobe, never wear them closed or buttoned up. Which is a problem with wrap style cardi because the front parts are bigger than normally and might look weird when hanging down. Which surprisingly isn’t this case! So I can honestly say I like the pattern more than I awaited, which is great.
I’m still too shy to present pictures of myself online so hopefully you forgive photos of the cardigan on the mannequin. Also, I must admit that I was too tired to sew the belt as I’ve finished the project in the late night and wanted to post the pictures of it on requested date so I’ve used satin ribbon to tie it instead. And I’m liking it! Ribbons and stripes are “in” right now so for more elegant wear it looks quite appropriate. Otherwise, good leather belt looks good as well.
I’m certainly going to use this pattern again and I can highly recommend it to everyone.
And as I know the background of creating patterns a little bit, I must express my admiration to Athina. Within quite a short time span she was able to issue 7 patterns and it is obvious that she puts big effort into them. And being a not native English speaker myself, I do admire her perfect English in instructions and videos and also many sewouts of project that give customers great idea how the patterns can be used and they look in real life.
I sincerely wish her luck in this job and am looking forward to many new patterns from her .