An (ugly?) Christmas sweater

I drew my aunt in the family Christmas lottery this year. This is my mother’s sister, who is in charge of everything, and who is at a point in her life where, if she wants it, she probably has it already.

She’s also a sewist, so a homemade gift seemed like a doubly good idea, and a sweater seemed even better.

My aunt has a distinct style and tends to wear a lot of black with bright jewel tones. I figured a black or grey sweater with a touch or two of bright colour might be just the thing.

After a considerable amount of stash digging I settled on a piece of the same fabric as my valentines’ outfit from last year. The marled grey cotton may not be the softest thing ever but it does look great.

Some more pattern digging turned up the out of print Butterick 5528—views A and B both seemed like they would suit my aunt and be doable with my limited amount of fabric. I made no alterations, but I did determine that I wanted to make the longer view B.

The biggest hurdle was cutting out. This fabric is a subtle stripe, and I was hopeful I’d be able to at least roughly match it. I cut out the front panels first—then promptly realized that the big piece is the BACK, and had several panicked moments considering whether or not I even had enough fabric to cut the back, even if I didn’t match it. In the end I wriggled it around and the locations of the stripes do match, but the direction is opposite so the sequence is off. I can live with that. I did have enough random bits to make sure my pockets and cuffs lined up nicely. The hardest thing about cutting this fabric is that the stripe only shows on the right side, so you can’t easily just put your first cut piece face down and line up the stripes around it for the second. Fortunately it’s a simple pattern.

I used some teal tricot to make a binding for the edge of the very narrow facing. It gets topstitched down, which is nice and fast, and didn’t turn out too terrible. And apparently I failed to get a decent picture of it. I really need better light in the basement. I used fusible knit interfacing in the undercollar (works much better!) cuffs, and facing, which was more or less perfect.

The front isn’t meant to overlap—the pattern features a button on each side with some kind of closure between. Probably the instructions elucidate. I just grabbed a purple hair elastic and stitched it down the middle into a figure-8, which seems to work well and can be easily replaced if it goes missing. I couldn’t find any large enough teal buttons in stash but I thought the purple was a good substitute. The pockets are a little small, but most importantly they’re there, and almost perfectly matched!

My aunt seems very excited about it. I’m hopeful it will be neutral enough to pair with a bright hat or scarf (or shirt), without being too boring.

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4 Comments

Filed under Sewing

4 responses to “An (ugly?) Christmas sweater

  1. Your aunt looks gorgeous in it – and I LOVE the blue seam finishing.

  2. Dawn F.

    I think that it has a perfect amount of interesting features – the shawl collar and the open front with the two buttons make this sweater – I would like to make one for myself!

  3. It’s like a wearable shawl with arms! I love it and I’m sure your aunt does too. What a beautiful gift 🙂

  4. Vancouver Barbara

    It’s a great sweater/jacket. Don’t downplay how really nice it is!!! Yup, me too. Now I want one as well. Happy New Year. Oh yeah, I saw that cheeky cat in the middle of the bed. Very cute.

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