Monthly Archives: April 2017

A shrunken little cardigan

One of my favourite things in the (wardrobe) world is a teensy little cardigan. I have one favourite and several less favourites that I wear almost daily over my less-seasonally-appropriate dresses. They’ve even ousted the vintage shrugs for my favourite little topper, if only because I find the lower neckline more versatile. (And they keep your core a little warmer.)

And they’re all store-bought. I’ve been collecting odds and ends of sweater knits for several years, at this point, meaning to make my own, but I hadn’t quite taken the plunge, for whatever reason. 

Well, now I have. 

I used my handy-dandy knit sloper pattern. While I think this was a wise choice, it is intended for fairly fitted, stretchy things and while I do like my little cardigans little, I think a wee bit more “fitting over other clothes” ease might be in order. This is a fairly firm “quilted” knit, but I was assuming the ribbing would be a little wimpy, when in fact it is an extremely beefy ribknit. 

I cut my pattern at the “waist” line (which is a little high). I planned the V neck to end where my rather deep scoop normally does, but due to the snugness I don’t think I’ll bother adding snaps all the way up. 

The fabric is a quilted knit from a couple of winters ago, the same as I used for this white sweater. (In a bit of a wearability report, The fabric pilled almost instantly but didn’t get noticeably worse after that, and it has been the best snuggly thing to wear under my winter coat for two winters now, until the bottom portion of the two-way zippercame off a few weeks ago leaving me crushed and bereaved.)

I reinforced the bottom of the bottom band with clear elastic, which as it turns out was a bit of overkill. Noted. I also used knit interfacing on the portions of the front bands meant to be part of the closure, but that wasn’t terribly effective at least on the bottom band. 

I actually think I like it best open.  You can see the marking where I meant to add another snap, but my snap hardware supply is a little more depleted than I realized, and I had enough caps but not all the other bits. 

I promptly misplaced this after I finished it, and then got sick, so it hasn’t been worn in the field yet, and I don’t think the grey will be quite as versatile as black but, on the other hand, you know how much grey I’ve been sewing lately. 😉 

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Can’t leave the linen (look)

2017-04-02 18.17.25The day I finished the linen(ish) jersey Vogue 1312, a minor miracle happened: my husband and the kids all went to dinner at my brother-in-law’s, and left me home alone.*

MORE SEWING TIME!

Since I was still feeling the love for the linen-flavoured knits (and was about to surrender my new dress to hanging in the shop for a month), I pulled out a bargain centre end piece, maybe 1.5m, of a mystery knit that looks very similar to my lightly-linen knit—though I think it’s mainly, and perhaps entirely, rayon. Also quite raggedy around the selvedges.

2017-04-02 18.18.16Wanting a more typical riff on the handkerchief hem, I grabbed my knit sloper and modified to make it more of a dress length and flaring to a handkerchief hem, kinda like this:

Swing dress schematicThough I think my width was wider (basically the full width of the fabric, less whatever I lost trimming down the tattered selvedge.) I did this with Oona-esque abandon, drafting it right out on the fabric. It’s not particularly even and I’m not particularly fussed. I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s dress-length, as I wasn’t really expecting more than a tunic. Not complaining.

2017-04-02 18.17.58Once that was cut, I didn’t have enough fabric left for full-length sleeves, so, 3/4 sleeves. Ah, well.

2017-04-02 18.17.41

That was some way-too-instant gratification. Also I feel like I could way overdo the handkerchief hems. Just sayin’.

*Let me insert a bit of clarification, here. I love people. I love MY people. But at my core, I’m an introvert. And these days, except for the few minutes in my car to and from work, I’m almost never, ever alone. So when I do get a few hours to myself, it’s like plunging into ice water, like suddenly being able to breathe, like waking up after a long, refreshing sleep. It’s very hard for my extrovert husband to understand, though I know he tries. 

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Linen shift for the 21st Century

Because I’m a sucker, I signed up for two versions of Vogue 1312 for this work project. For the second one, I impulsively pounced on this marled jersey with a hint (15%, actually) of linen. The rest polyester. I’m more forgiving of polyester in knits than most other situations but it does annoy me when they add a “good” fibre (usually linen or wool) in such a small quantity that they’re basically just going for the name on the label. To be fair, you can feel the linen in this—it makes it slightly scratchy. Also there’s no spandex. Knits without spandex almost always make me nervous. 

I was a bit leery of using a pattern for a woven in a jersey, too, but considering how snug the grey version was (and how high the armscye) I went for it. I did make one initial alteration—I lengthened the long sleeve pattern piece by about 10″, so that I could add clear elastic to the seam and scrunch them up. I am very content with how this turned out. 

I knew given the thinness of the jersey that I wanted to self-line the bodice. To give the neck a clean finish I sewed up the shoulders and then sewed the necklines together in a circle, stabilizing with 1/4″ clear elastic. I love 1/4″ clear elastic. I flipped the pieces so the wrong sides are together and the stitching and elastic was hidden between the two layers, then I basted the edges so the two layers would stay together and constructed the rest like a regular unlined T-shirt. There was a bit more ease in the sleeve cap than I like in a knit, but not much, and I did get them in without much difficulty, so I can’t really complain. Once I had the bodice put together I did take in the side seams and upper parts of the sleeve about 1.5cm on each seam, to snug it up a bit in my no-spandex poor recovery fabric. 

I did a lot more basting on the jersey version, to get the skirt on nicely as well as control the double-layered bodice, and it worked well for the most part.

 My corners on the skirt aren’t good, but I wasn’t sufficiently fussed to unpick. On the soft jersey skirt I like them better poked to the inside out of sight anyway. The only thing I’m second guessing at this point is not lining the upper portion of the skirt. I didn’t want the weight, but it’s kinda sheer, so I will need to wear a slip with the dress. Not the end of the world, but one of the things I was hoping to avoid with the self-lined bodice. 

I stabilized the waistline with clear elastic. I was initially worried this pulled it in too much and would create a bloused effect, but once the full weight of the skirt was in place it seems to be ok. 

I debated on the hem quite a bit, as I liked the softness of the raw edge, but this fabric has a strong tendency to curl, which I knew would drive me nuts in short order. A rolled hem was equally flippy, so I eventually settled on a steam-a-seam-enhanced turned and twin-needled hem. It doesn’t add much bulk or stiffness and hopefully won’t flip up too much. Youch  that was a lot of steam-a-seam though!

Sadly, there are no pockets in the jersey version. Right choice? I’m not sure. 

We’ve been watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix and this is reminding me, in a completely-not-historically-accurate way, of mediaeval shifts and linen undergowns. And it seems to demand silly ballet poses, as well. I was completely at a loss as to the right shoes, hence the sock feet. 

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