Sweater Knits Rule

 

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I wear a lot of separates. This fact became obvious to me when I rearranged my closet this week to make room for Spring clothes. There’s nothing wrong with a good separate, and we all need them,  but OMG.  My closet is crammed with mix and match items. It’s a bit overwhelming when it comes time to choose.  I might have to rethink my look a bit as we move into Spring…

Nevertheless, I am posting more separates today, both made from Yummy Sweater Knits. As you all know, I am such a fan. And this layered outfit includes two chunky knits, one from cotton, the other from a wool/poly blend. They are so, so comfortable to wear. Honestly, you just can’t go wrong with them.

The white top is a good basic, made from a chunky cotton knit feels so good against my skin.

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I used Vogue 8925 for this top.

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I cut bias strips of the same cotton knit to embellish the cuffs and neck. To get the gently frayed look, I left the edges unfinished and the raw edge becomes a bit of an embellishment that way.

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IMG_7106The black cardi-wrap is cut from eyelash knit, a chunky fabric with a unique furry texture. I’m not sure you can tell this from the photos, but the fabric is as dense as my cat’s fur.

IMG_7131The pattern for this wrap is Butterick 5789 with a few modifications. I used View E but left off the front bands.

To get the wrapped look, I overlapped the fronts, adding three vintage buttons to keep them together. Buttons make the world go round, don’t you think?

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Because this black knit is super stretchy, I stabilized the front with a bit of interfacing to support the button holes and buttons. Sweater knits are pretty forgiving, but even the heavier weaves don’t seem to be able to support the weight of a button without a bit of help. I used an overlock stitch for the stretchy seams. I finished the edges by turning the fabric under and stitching. It worked well because this knit is so dense, the stitches just disappeared into it :). The bad news with a knit like this is that a mistake is almost impossible to correct. You’ll lose your mind trying to remove those lovely, buried stitches!

Overall, I’d say this cardi-wrap will be a favorite for me. I’ll be able to throw it on over anything!  The downside is that it’s black, a color that doesn’t work well with orange cat fur, but what does?

Have you tried to sew buttons on sweater knits? Any tips to share? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Sew the look: Patchwork Cape

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Hi all – If you follow sewing blogs, you’ve probably heard that February is UFO month, unfinished objects, as in projects that have languished on your sewing table and need to be completed. True confessions. I have PLENTY of those. This cape is a perfect example, a stash busting project I started a year ago, but couldn’t seem to finish.

I was inspired to make this cape by the Burberry capes I saw on the fall runways.

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I loved the lovely color blocked blanket look, and decided by doing a bit of patch work I could get something similar.

The pattern I used is Vogue 9038, an easy cape you can sew in an evening.

I used the pattern pieces as a template as I began to piece together bits of wool I had in my stash. Although the pattern offers a rounded version and a squared off version, I chose the squared off version so that I could block solid pieces of wool together without having to deal with curves! I used five colors, about 1 yard of red, 1/2 yard of turquoise, 1 yard of black, 1/3 a yard of camel, 1/3 yard of brown. I made the smallest size of View A as I am only 5’4″.

I patch-worked two versions of the cape so that it would be double faced and reversible.

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Side two.

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I laid the pieces of fabric on my sewing table and just cut rectangles and squares, sewing them together with 5/8″ seams until I had the shape of the cape filled in. This took about two hours per side, as I stopped frequently to decide what color to use next. I didn’t use a template..I just cut and sewed. There wasn’t any method to my madness other than I knew I wanted to have one side predominately red, and the other predominantly black.

It was an easy fun project, perfect for a day of binge watching. The sewing is all straight sewing, no curves, collars etc. So mindless and fun! After sewing my two capes together to make one, I finished the edges with a overlock stitch, using heavy thread. On one side, I sewed two leather toggles (not sure if that’s really what you call those things) so that if it was a windy day, my cape would stay securely fastened. Sometimes though, I’ll just throw it over my shoulder and go.

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I don’t know why I waited so long to finish this. Sometimes it’s the simplest projects that  seem to stump me. I dithered about how to finish the edges, then I procrastinated on sewing on the leather toggles (with see-through thread). But I’m glad it’s finished now, because it’s so wearable. It’s so easy to throw on for a quick trip to the store, or for an evening out with friends.

What projects are you finishing this February? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Vogue 8346: A coat just in time for Spring

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It’s sunny and warm in Portland today. Yet, I’m posting about a heavy winter coat! Yes, timing is everything, and mine isn’t impeccable, but here goes. I started this coat before Christmas, and just finished it because I worked on it in sporadically. So, here I am, wearing a wool coat when it’s sixty degrees outside. Of course, the weather here is a fickle friend, so it might be ‘bundle up’ weather tomorrow (is it evil to wish it would get cold again?). In any event, after all this work, this coat will be worn, no matter how hot it makes me!IMG_7948 (1)

This wool was purchased last year, and I loved it so much (and spent so much on it, LOL) I dithered a bit (actually a lot) before getting the nerve to cut it. I got all angsty over the choice of pattern, how to line it, whether I really needed to underline..(blah, blah, blah). Basically I was procrastinating. I do this whenever I contemplate a big project. Honestly, I drive myself crazy. Anyway, the weave of this wool was so beautiful, I couldn’t resist buying it from the Mill End Store when wool was on sale. I felt a little guilty as I splurged so I scrimped a bit on yardage, and wouldn’t you know? Now I wish I’d bought more. Once I started sewing it, I knew just how special it was. The weight, the weave, even the smell of this wool is heavenly (yes, I am weird). A long coat from it would have been so nice. Do overs, please?

The pattern I used for this coat is Vogue 8346, a classic style, with a bit of a flare.

Because my height almost qualifies me for petite status (only 5′ 4″ on a good day), I avoid styles with a lot of volume. Still, I loved the style of this coat but worried I’d look as though I was drowning in fabric.

So, I made a test coat from corduroy. This was a good move, as I realized after sewing only a few seams that the amount of flare on the design was too much for me. So I ripped it apart, recut the bodice pieces, tapering the flare a bit more, then tried again. That did the trick. Here’s my modified flare:

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I learned a valuable lesson from this process. The corduroy test version of my coat was great, but when I started working with the wool, I realized the drape of the two fabrics was very different. The thick wool made that little bit of flare seem quite exaggerated compared to the corduroy. So, I had to modify a bit more. All in all though, making the test coat was worth doing, as I learned a lot about the fit of the coat. The shoulders were in the right place and not too narrow, (no adjustment needed, yay), the waist was too long for me (raised it a half inch), and the sleeves were too full for me. Nothing too traumatic, but good to know.

The details: I underlined each piece to give the coat’s structure the support it needed to look crisp. This is not hard, but is time consuming, but well worth the effort. (For tips on underlining, take a look at House of Pinhero’s Peacoat Sew Along. In fact, just have fun looking around at all of her posts!) I used a polka dot silk for the lining, which feels like a dream. I highly recommend finding something luscious for the lining…you deserve it after working so hard on a coat, am I right?

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I added very thin shoulder pads to support the sleeve cap and an extra row of buttons because I love the ‘military’ look they add.

And, that’s about it!

IMG_7892The truth is, sewing a coat isn’t that hard, so who knows why I dithered around so much about this one? The challenge was the fit, I guess. Also, a coat with lining and underlining is a serious commitment of time and energy. But why not just jump in? Next time, I will. Sewing a coat is time well spent. I know I’ll wear this one again and again.

Do you dither around before starting a coat like I do? And what have you experienced when making a toile, (test garment) out of a fabric with a different drape? Thumbs up or down?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Thursday Top: Vogue 8815

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Well, here we are in February, the month that straddles the seasons.  The fabric stores are flaunting new lightweight cottons and linens. Yet, I’m still working through my stash of sweater knits.

At this point, it’s probably ridiculous to state the obvious – I am a fan of sweater knits. As I’ve confessed before, it’s not just because they’re cozy and comfortable. It’s because I can’t knit. Really. My brain gets ahead of my fingers and, well, chaos ensues. Sweater knits are the easy way out.

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And they are so comfortable! However, as you can see in the photo above, I’m discovering yet another cat hair on me. Knits do seem to attract fur of any sort, but doesn’t everything? Still, this particular sweater knit is wonderful, a thick cotton/lycra blend that’s textured and double faced. The result is a lush, thick fabric with a moderate amount of give that is so great to wear.

IMG_7739 I took a close up of the fabric so that you could see the texture. The pattern I used for this Thursday top is one of my TNT (tried and true) patterns, Vogue 8815.

I made it before Here. The pattern is designed for wovens, but when I found this knit, I could see it only one way – – as this top. Generally, when I decide to use a knit instead of a woven, I take the pattern down a full size. But I’ve discovered that each knit is so different, it’s hard to predict how they will behave.

This time, I tried a new method to allow for the stretch in the knit. I adjusted the seam allowances from 5/8″ to 6/8″. Because the stretch on this knit was so moderate, I didn’t want to cut out a smaller size, only to discover the knit wasn’t stretchy enough to warrant that large of an adjustment.

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In the end, I was glad I made the adjustment this way. The knit didn’t stretch enough across the shoulders to warrant any adjustment at all. Because I basted in the seams, it was easy to just let the back seam out where I needed to. Yahoo! So glad I didn’t screw up this great fabric 🙂

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Because the knit had moderate stretch, I used my Bernina’s overlock stitch rather than serging the seams. Here are my pattern modifications:

  • Because I used a knit, I didn’t insert a zipper. The neck slips over my head easily.
  • I added a solid band of knit at the neck (very stretchy so that it wouldn’t bind) in contrasting black.
  • I also added a solid black band of knit at the waist. To do this, I shortened the front and back bodice by two inches. Then I cut 2, two inch wide bands of solid knit fabric the same width as the bodice pieces.  I sewed the solid knit pieces to the shortened bodice pieces before sewing on the back and front peplum pieces.

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Done! One winter project down, and a few more to go. I’m getting antsy for Spring, though. I’ve been longing to work with linen again. I think my first spring project will be a shirt dress of some sort. Have you started sewing for Spring, or are you still working through winter projects?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!