Notes on Betty Draper’s cardi

Last week, I posted that I had finished my Betty Draper’s cardi; a cardigan based on a 1953 newspaper pattern. In the original pattern the cardigan was made in 7 different pieces, which were then sewn together – the way my grandmother has always made garments like these, resembling the way you would sew it with non-knitted fabric. As I am a fan of seamless knits (I actually kind of hate seaming, I have never been good at doing it neatly!), I wanted to convert this pattern to seamlessness. In this post I will share what I did. To follow my method, you will need a copy of the original pattern as well, which can be found on the page of the archived newspaper.

I have actually used some seaming in my method, but only for the button bands. You could include the button bands at each end from the start when working the body piece – just remember to work the buttonholes along the way.

Use a row counter to keep track of where you are in the pattern.
Where I instruct to place sts on waste yarn or stitch holder, I actually just kept the sts on my circular needles while working another part of the cardigan. This only works if you are using circs long enough – mine were about 100cm in length (40″).

Stitch pattern
For instructions on how to do “k-left”, see original pattern.

The original stitch pattern:
Row 1: *k-left, k4, p3* repeat.
Rows 2-7: k over k, p over p.
Row 8: k1, *p3, k-left, k4* repeat.
Row 9-15: k over k, p over p.
Rows 1 and 8 are “shift pattern” rows.

The upside down stitch pattern:
Rows 1-7: *k5, p3* repeat.
Row 8: *k-left, p3, k4* repeat.
Rows 9-15: k over k, p over p.
Rows 16: *k4, k-left, p3* repeat.
Rows 8 and 16 are “shift pattern” rows.

Body
CO 209 sts, and place side seam markers after 54 and 156 sts.

Work in the original stitch pattern, switching needles etc. as described in the original pattern, until you reach the increases. When doing the increases, increase on both side of the side seam markers, following the check sheet for the body increases. You should end with 237 sts on the needles at this point. Continue working in the stitch pattern, increasing at the outside of each side seam marker as stated in the check sheet. Continue until you reach row 122 in the stitch pattern (piece measures about 14″ / 36 cm).

Divide for sleeves:
Row 123: work until the first marker and place sts on waste yarn or a stitch holder if you prefer. Bind off 6 sts, and continue to the next stitch marker. Turn work.  (place remaining sts on waste yarn / stitch holder if you prefer)
Bind off 6 sts.
Row 124: Work until 2 sts left before the previously bound off sts, k2tog.
Row 125: Work until 2 sts left, k2tog.
Repeat rows 124-125 3 times.
Continue even in pattern until you are about to start row 187 (work measures 7.5″ / 19 cm from bound off armhole sts).

Next row: Work until 10 sts remain, turn. Repeat this row 5 times. Place sts on waste yarn or stitch holder if you prefer.

Right front
Work the  sts put aside when dividing for armholes. You are starting on row 123, starting from the armhole side.
Row 123: Bind off 6 sts, continue to end.
Row 124: work until 2 sts remain, k2tog.
Row 125: k2tog, work to end.
Repeat rows 124-125 8 times, repeat row 124 once more, ending on row 135.

Work even until you are about to start row 175 (piece measures 6″ / 15cm from bound off armhole sts). Shape the neckline:
Row 175: Bind off 8 sts, work to end.
Row 176: Work until 2 sts remain, k2tog.
Row 177: k2tog, work to end.
Repeat rows 176-177 4 times, ending with row 185.
Next row: Work shoulders: Work until 10 sts remain, turn. Work one row. Repeat until 10 or less sts remain.

Left front
Repeat process as for right front, doing the decreases and bind offs on the opposite side of the piece (which should happen automatically if you start from the armhole side and follow the directions above. Make sure to follow the stitch pattern at the same time – if the stitch pattern shift happens on a wrong side row, just do it on the next right side row instead).

Shoulder bind off – three needle bind off
Place sts from front panels and back on needles. Using a third needle and working on the wrong side of the work, knit together and bind off the shoulder seam sts so the front and back pieces are joined. When reaching the sts at the middle of the back, just bind off  the sts normally until you reach the point where there are enough sts left to match up the other front panel with back panel sts.

Sleeves – seamless, set-in
Along the armhole and starting in the middle of the bound off sts at the bottom, pick up 101 sts, and join in the round.

Row 1: work 68 sts in upside down stitch pattern, wrap and turn.
Row 2: work 33 sts, wrap and turn.

Row 3: work until you reach the wrapped st, work the wrap together with the st that is wrapped, wrap and turn.
Repeat row 3 until you have worked all sts this way. You should end on row 66.

Continue working in the round, decreasing and shifting the pattern stitch on the rows indicated in the check sheet.

On row 201, switch to smaller needles and work 1×1 ribbing for 27 rounds. Bind off using the tubular bind off.

Repeat for second sleeve.

Button bands
Right button band:
With smaller needles, CO 14 sts. Work 30 rows of 1×1 ribbing.

Buttonhole row: k1, p1, k1, p1, make a Tulips buttonhole over the next 4 sts (using the first st as a side st), work to end.
Work 17 rows in ribbing, repeat buttonhole row.
Continue like this until you have 10 button holes, work 10 more rows in ribbing.

Keeping the sts on the needle, pick up sts along the neckline of the cardigan. Leave sts on needle and put aside. At this point, I worked the left button band first, so I could just use the same needles on which I already kept my finished right button band.

Left button band:
Work another button band for the left side, working one purl st on top of a knit stitch on the rows where the right button band has a buttonhole. These small bumps are to indicate where to sew on the buttons later.

Join with the neckline sts, and work in ribbing over neckline and buttonbands until the ribbing measures about 1″ / 2,5cm. Bind off using the tubular bind off.

Finishing
Pin on the button bands so they are divided evenly along the front sides of the cardigan, and sew them on. You can sew on the buttons on the left button band as you go along – that way you make sure that the buttons are fastened securely. Weave in ends, put on the cardi and feel like a 1950’s lady!

I have gathered these notes some time after I finished the cardigan, so if you find any mistakes or have any questions, or, if you want to test knit using my notes, don’t hesitate to mail me or leave me a message!