Tag Archives: knit sloper

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.

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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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Quick Weekend Therapy Sewing

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It was probably inevitable that I would end up with a fabric stash problem. I’m a pack rat by nature, I like to have things around that just might come in handy someday. I don’t mind having some basics (and not-so-basics) kicking around for when the urge strikes. What I have more trouble coming to terms with is the scraps. I can’t seem to throw away anything bigger than a square foot, so a frustrating portion of the stash ends up being these pieces lingering from finished projects. They do come in handy—for contrast details, bias tape making, piping, pocket linings; and the kids will dive through them from time to time, especially when Tyo is in a monster-making mood, but in general the amount generated is more than the amount used, and they’re frustrating.

The best way I’ve found to deal with them (when I have the time) is to just keep making stuff from the fabric leftovers until it’s all gone. This often gets derailed by other priorities, of course, but one can try (and at least the machine is all threaded up in the right colour.)

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I had not quite a metre (very oddly shaped) of this stretch lace left from a far more exciting yet less practical project that has yet to be blogged, pending a proper photo-shoot. >_< Anyway, I having already cut some Rosy Ladyshorts (cute pattern, free, go make some) from it, I figured I would see if I could squeeze a simple long-sleeved tee out of it using my handy-dandy old knit sloper.

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Obviously, I could. Not much to say, just a few details—for a light neckline finish I serged a band of white jersey to the neck, folded to the inside, and topstitched down with a zig-zag; it’s soft, a little tidier than just adding clear elastic, but not too heavy, so I think it pretty much hit the mark for what I was going for.

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The sleeve hems I just serged and folded over and topstitched—nothing special.

I added a band for the hem, as I have for most of my recent knit-top makes, because it’s both easy and nice-looking, which is a rare combination. 😉

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I then needed a camisole of some kind to make the thing wearable. I made one from some cream cotton-lycra jersey; this is really a wardrobe staple I’ve been avoiding making for probably as long as I’ve been making clothes here.

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I hacked my knit sloper into a wide-necked curve, (maybe a little wider than ideal, but it echoes the scooped neckline of the lace overlay well) and made a little tank-top.

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I didn’t have any fold-over elastic in the right colour, however, so I made bands using strips of jersey. If I had been willing/able to to make them as bindings, with the edges folded in, it would’ve worked really well, but with bands turning into knit tubes for the straps… well, there’s an ugly spot at the join. Some hand-stitching could probably pretty it up, but it’s not an ideal method.

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On the whole, though, it works, and both will be useful (if not terribly seasonal) wardrobe staples.

The only tragedy is that I burnt out the motor of my White, which is my go-to machine for knits (other than the serger) about halfway round the hem of the camisole. That was a lot of hand-wheeling to get it finished. >_< Next question: is it worth it to fix such a machine? A new motor can be had online for about thirty bucks (although Sew Classic won't ship them to Canada, apparently. Boo.) and my father-in-law has the know-how to attach one if I can get the right size and mounting-brackets. (This is still more money than I spent on the whole machine, by the way.) It's an internal motor, but still belt-driven and looks just like the external ones, to my untutored eye, anyway. /sigh. It was also my favourite machine to do buttonholes with the buttonholer attachment on. Double sigh.

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Of course, there’s still a little bit of the lace left. Time for another pair of ladyshorts?

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My Wild, Crazy Friday Night

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Um. So I’m officially old and boring, k? I’m cool with that. I think. My Friday night was awesome. I bounced between cooking with Syo, playing Final Fantasy XIV with Osiris, and sewing. I’ve moved from procrastinating on the Pikachu onesie (photos forthcoming once I manage to pin Tyo down) to procrastinating on Syo’s onesie. So instead I grabbed this gorgeous knit (a lightweight sweater-knit which, amazingly, has only been marinating in stash for a few weeks) and my knit sloper.

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And all I can say is, why don’t I have two dozen tops like this?

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This.

Cozy. Comfy. Sleekly elegant. Perfect.

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Yes, I’m wearing my fleecepants. Aren’t you? Why not?

Not much to say about construction, except that I finished the seams with my new/old/borrowed serger (that’s a whole ‘nother story I’ll hopefully get around to. Or not; it may not be interesting to anyone at all but me.) But I haven’t figured out what kind of needle it takes so I couldn’t try a four-thread serge so I didn’t want to use it for seam construction, so I did my usual thing of sewing the seam on the sewing machine (narrow zigzag, very basic) and then overlocking. Actually, overlocking first works better, by the way. If you can get everything aligned properly. Again, I found the length a bit short, so I added a wide band on the hem, which is coincidentally the easiest way to finish the bottom of a knit tee if you haven’t got a coverstitch. Which I haven’t. Someday, my pretties. I wonder if my taste in tee-length hasn’t changed in the last couple of years. Though I would’ve sworn I’ve always liked them long.

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I used steam-a-seam to get nice, crisp sleeve hems, and then wimped out and did a zigzag finish. I didn’t feel like fussing with a twin needle.

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I used fold-over elastic around the neck, the way I wanted to with my fleece shirt (because I bought some since then) It’s maybe a little heavy for this fabric. I increased the tension going around the sharper curves so it wouldn’t stick out, but it also gathered up the neckline a bit more than I would’ve liked. It doesn’t actually look gathered when worn, which I was a bit worried about, so it’ll work, but I think a narrower elastic or the fold-over fabric binding I used on the fleece shirt might’ve been better.

My only reservation about this fabric (some kind of a poly-rayon blend) is that it hasn’t got any spandex, so I’m not sure how much it’ll bag out with wear. That could interfere with these sleek, elegant lines I’m loving so much. I can always take it in if I need to, right?

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I hope your Friday night was as exciting as mine!

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The fruits of procrastination

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I can’t finish Tyo’s Pikachu onesie quite yet. I ran out of yellow thread and, more problematically, I forgot to get yellow zippers and that grippy material for the bottoms of the feet. I could’ve gone out and gotten some, but that would’ve required leaving the house. I don’t have much time off this year and most of what I did have off was spent running from one family engagement to the next. Which is as it should be, but still. Busy. So I’m treating my scant leisure time with fierce protectiveness.

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It’s also been fucking cold. Long, steady, solidly cold, with lots of wind. I needed a tiny bit of black fleece for Pikachu, but it being black fleece (and on sale!) I got two metres. So today, whilst stymied on the Pikachu front, I made a fleece shirt.

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I used my knit sloper, which I haven’t done in about a million years. It felt good.

I used the same technique to up-size my sloper for (not-so-stretchy) fleece as I did with my Grandma’s sweater, with much the same results: the size is good but the shoulders are just about too wide. The sloper has pretty narrow shoulders, though, which is why I went for it. Nice thing about using my knit sloper—it’s cut out of Bristol board, so I just grabbed a sliver of soap from the bathroom (since all my chalk is AWOL. Seriously, everything is AWOL. I mean, I’m not the most organized person, but this is ridiculous.) and traced around it. So much neater than pinning everything!

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When I got to trying-on, I had to scoop out a bit under the arm, but otherwise the fit was pretty good. I thought the body was a bit short so I finished it with a wide band; the sleeves I just hemmed under with a three-step zig-zag.

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The high point of my construction was binding the neckline. I used black cotton-Lycra, the stuff I use for underwear and leggings. I just cut my strip wide, zig-zagged it in place on the right side, folded over so the edge was bound, and top stitched the whole works, then trimmed off whatever I didn’t need from the back.

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It’s not really the right fabric for a top—a little stuff and awkward, not enough drape. Nor is it a wonder of professional-looking finishing. But it’s warm and serviceable and warm and practical and warm and generally just WARM.

Yeah, I fear this blog suffers stylistically in the winter. My brain shuts down and all thoughts of fashion are replaced by cries of “Is it WAAAAARRRMM?!?”

At least it goes well with my fleece pants…

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