I’m late to the party with a Seamwork Olso review. The pattern was one of the first featured in Seamwork magazine, which launched in December 2014. (It doesn’t feel that long ago!)
The thing is, with a classic cardigan sweater sewing pattern like Olso, it’s never to late to stitch one up! Classics are classics for a reason — especially when they’re as easy to wear as the Olso.
The following Seamwork Olso review dips into why I added this long cardigan sewing pattern to my wardrobe, what I wish I would have done differently as I sewed it, and how to have great success sewing your own Olso cardigan. Cozy up, sewing friends!
Seamwork Olso review: Behind the seams
Why this pattern
I have a long, relaxed J. Crew merino wool cardigan sweater that I love to wear it open with skinny jeans, a T-shirt, and a long pendant necklace. It’s one of my favorite casual looks.
I wanted another long cardigan in the mix, and the Olso cardigan sewing pattern fit the bill.
I made a medium-sized Olso in 2015 while on maternity leave for my youngest, and it has two major flaws:
1.) I feel like I’m swimming in the medium — and not in a cool, oversized sweater sort of way. It’s especially to wide for me across the back.
2.) The fabric is not great quality. It’s a synthetic blend.
Clearly it was time to revisit Olso (the long cardigan sewing pattern, not the Norwegian capital).
Navy is my favorite neutral, and I saw a gap in my wardrobe for a navy cold-weather cardi. My only other navy cardigan is a lightweight cotton knit that’s great for warmer weather.
This Olso, however, isn’t actually navy. It’s a dull blue with a black pattern. The black is almost a stripe.
The farther, though, you step from the fabric, the more your eye reads it as navy and not blue with black lines. The pattern looks like the parallel lines of a twill weave.
The subtle pattern makes this fabric my kind of neutral — versatile and interesting.
This is glorious virgin wool and cotton blend from Mood (no longer for sale, unfortunately). It’s toasty (thanks to the wool), but not tremendously itchy (thanks to the cotton). I’m comfortable wearing it over a T-shirt.
What I love about the Olso cardigan sewing patten
I have long arms, and I love Olso’s extra-long sleeves. The sleeves keep in warmth and add to the lean look of this long cardigan sewing pattern.
You can make the Olso cardigan sweater sewing pattern with the cuffs two ways: cuffs turned up or cuffs uncuffed (pointing down with the seam inside the sleeve).
To me, the uncuffed option highlights the long cuffs and adds to the sleekness of the sleeve. I think the cuffed option slows the visual speed of the sleeve.
Aside from my down winter coat, this Olso is my warmest garment! I see myself snuggling into this long cardigan sewing pattern a lot over the course of the year. Sweater season in Wisconsin is easily October through March, and Olso could double as a “coatigan” during transitional months such as April and September.
I love a shawl collar because it’s easy to pop up or turn down, depending on the temperature.
What could be better about my Oslo
My obsession with pockets continues!
I thought about adding in-seam pockets for a hot minute, but I didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to make and sew them.
Now I wish I had pockets. The sweater is cozy, and its coziness would be at another level if I had pockets in which to shove my cold hands. If I make another Olso (a strong possibility), I may call on Seamwork’s recent article on designing your own in-seam pockets.
The wool/cotton blend of my Seamwork Olso is bulky. It was tricky getting multiple layers of the wool under my presser foot.
Basting (see tip below) the thick fabric helped with edge alignment, but it could be even better. I could have sewn slower and readjusted as I went.
Tips for sewing your own Olso long cardigan sewing pattern
Consider extra yardage
Because the fabric I used for my Olso was fairly expensive (about $25 per yard), I bought only what the pattern called for.
I followed the cutting layout for my size (small) and fabric width (45 inches), and I had to cut the cuffs a leeetle bit short (like a touch more than 1/2 inch). To make up for it, I reduced their seam allowance, and everything worked out OK.
The short story is: The required fabric yardage for this pattern IS NOT generous.
Baste the cuffs and collars before attaching them to the cardigan. This will help control edge alignment as you stitch three layers of fabric.
Don’t give up on the cuffs
The first time I made Olso, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the cuff directions. Here are the directions I wish I would have had:
1.) Sew the long edge of the cuff, right sides together.
2.) Press the seam open.
3.) Turn the cuff right side out, but not all the way! You don’t want to flip it all the way right side out.
4.) Match the raw edges, and align the pressed open seams.
Seamwork could improve the directions by showing HOW to turn the cuff to the right side. It wasn’t obvious to me my first pass through.
Tack the cuffs
If you opt for folded-up cuffs, consider tacking them up so they don’t roll down. My first Olso iteration has folded-up cuffs, and they don’t stay rolled up. Annoying. (Part of that, though, is fabric choice.)
Coax the hem
Pin the hem and press it gently before stitching. This gives the hem a memory before you make it permanent. And use pins generously, because it’s a long run of fabric to sew.
Take time with the collar
OK, real talk time about the collar: Seamwork needs to add notches to this pattern. The collar seam is crazy long, and there are only two sets of notches — one near the neck/center back and one near the bottom hem. Another set of notches would ensure better alignment of the cardigan front and collar pattern pieces.
When sewing the collar to the sweater, you ease the pattern pieces here and there. Pin at the notches and at the bottom of the sweater near the hem. Subdivide the fabric between the pins to ensure even easing.
Use lots of pins when subdividing, and don’t rush! I rushed with my first Olso, and the collar doesn’t line up with the hem.
Mind the bulk
Because of the fabric’s bulk, I pressed most seams open instead of to the side. The exception was the armscye seam, which I pressed toward sleeve.
Thick sweater knits may need seams that lie open, so press accordingly.
Over to you: What’s missing from this Seamwork Olso review? If you’ve made an Olso, did you also think the lack of notches for the collar and front was strange? What is your favorite long cardigan sewing pattern? What are you other favorite cardigan sewing patterns — especially for sweaters that are more relaxed? I’m on the lookout for more cardis!
P.S. Do you like warm things? (Duh, yeah.) Then you should check out these snuggly posts:
Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2: The stylish sweatshirt
Mermaid blanket sewing pattern review: Boyz II Mermen
Anorak sewing pattern guide: 3 popular jackets, side by side