The Citrine cardigan is the latest pattern release from Made by Rae. At first glance, I thought Citrine looked almost identical to Marlo. But there are a number of important differences between Citrine and Marlo, and having made both patterns, Citrine comes out ahead for me.
Design and fit
Citrine is a cropped, knit cardigan with a boxy fit. It is available in sizes up to a 66 inch bust (167 cm) and 70 inch hip (178 cm).
Citrine comes in two different views with an optional bust dart for C/D cups. View A has a fitted sleeve with a straight-yet-boxy fit through the bodice. View B is more voluminous, with a gathered balloon sleeve and additional gathering at the waist. View B also includes a button placket. The bodice can be made in either style with or with our a bust dart to accommodate larger chests. Of course, you can also mix and match design elements from either view, or you could lengthen either to change the silhouette.
A major design difference between Citrine and Marlo is the shoulder. Citrine has a raglan sleeve, whereas Marlo has a set-in sleeve with a dropped shoulder. I think the raglan sleeve on Citrine gives the garment a “tidier” look, which is slightly more versatile. Marlo’s oversized, drop-shoulder gives a relaxed, casual vibe and visually adds extra volume around the shoulders and bust.
The sleeve ease is also very different if we compare Citrine view A to Marlo. The Citrine sleeve is much more fitted, again contributing to a “tidier” look that can be dressed up or down. In contrast, Marlo’s slouchy design resides firmly in the “relaxed weekend wear” category for me.
Citrine also is also more cropped than Marlo, which I like. The higher crop balances out the volume in the bodice and doesn’t overwhelm me with fabric in the same way that my Marlo sometimes does. I can’t complain about Marlo’s coziness, but sometimes I feel like I am swimming in fabric when I wear it. Citrine does a nice job of striking a balance between oversized ease and more defined shoulder and sleeve (on view A), and I like this attention to proportion.
I chose to make the Citrine in view A. My bust measures about 39″, which puts me in size E with 8 inches of positive ease in the chest. I decided to size down to a size D for a more fitted sleeve and slightly less ease (6 inches).
If you plan on sizing down more than one size in Citrine, measure your bicep first to make sure you’ll have enough room. The size D sleeve doesn’t leave much room for layering, but since I am mostly planning to wear this cardigan with tank tops and sleeveless dresses, it still works well for me. I’d go with the size charts and make size E if I wanted to layer.
I’m still undecided about whether to add buttons to this cardigan. I’ve taped them on in the photos here, but I go back and forth about whether I like a plain front or a buttoned front. I guess I’ll just have to make another Citrine so I can have it both ways.
Even though I am in between a C and a D cup in sewing patterns, I decided to make an un-darted Citrine. I have plenty of room in the chest despite sizing down, and I don’t feel like I need the dart in this pattern. But if you have a larger bust, then it’s great to have the option.
I am 5’10” so I always have to lengthen the sleeves on my garments. I added 1″ to the sleeve and 1/2″ to the cuff of my Citrine.
I also trimmed 5/8″ from either side of the neckband (removing 1 and 1/4 inches total) to get the proper tension around the neckline when attaching it to the bodice. Adjusting the length of a neckband is a normal part of working with knits and depends on the fabric. I chose a heavyweight, 100% cotton knit with poor recovery, so I needed a little extra tension on the neckband for things to lay properly.
Citrine is a quick and easy sew if you are comfortable with knits. For the advanced sewists out there, the last page of the instructions has a one-page cheat sheet with all of the assembly steps, so you can zoom through construction. For beginner and intermediate sewists, the main instructions are very clear with plenty of detailed tips and illustrations for each step. This pattern is marked as intermediate, I think mostly because of the neckband installation, which requires some care to create tension in the right places. If you are a confident beginner who has made a few knits before, I think this pattern would also be a good one to level up your skills.
Compared to Citrine, the Marlo neckband instructions give you two options for how to attach it: an easy way that leaves your serged edge visible on the inside, and more advanced way to clean finish the inside of the neckband (similar to how many waistbands are constructed, see this post). Citrine only illustrates the easy way with an exposed inner serged seam.
It’s a minor difference, but I like the clean finish of the Marlo better. Of course, you can use whatever seam finishes you like with the Citrine, and next time I’ll clean finish the neckband.
After making the Citrine, I’m very tempted to cut my Marlo apart and take it down one or two sizes. Big, bulky sweaters are very “in” at the moment, but I just don’t gravitate toward this style. My Citrine hits the sweet spot of comfortably roomy but still cutting a sharp silhouette.
Like most of my favorite patterns, Citrine is a versatile design that comes with plenty of options for how to wear it. View A balances the boxy fit through the bodice with a slimmer sleeve; View B goes all in on volume. The designer, Rae, has said that this design was made with skirts and dresses in mind, and I think the silhouette really shines when paired with those. Of course, I love it with pants, too. It’s a great piece to add to your Spring sewing list, and I’ve got another planned in size E (for layering) and with some added length for a different proportion.
4 thoughts on “Citrine Cardigan from Made by Rae”
Thanks for sharing – I learn alot from you detailed comments.
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Great post, I am discovering this pattern, love it ! Great comparison with the Marlow too (I see why you prefer the Citrine)
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What a great post … So thoughtful, systematic and helpful. Love you side by side explanations of how the design features and pattern instructions play out! Thank you
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Great review. So useful to have the differences between Citrine and Marlow explained in such clear detail. Thank you!
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