Friday, December 2, 2011

I Sewed a Sweater!

Here's a finished garment that I totally didn't blog about, can you believe it? I picked up some great Nanette Lepore ribbed sweater knit at the Haberman Fabrics booth at ASE (hey, it's available online!). I'd never sewn this kind of knit before, but I just did a little research and it was surprisingly easy. It helped that this particular knit is very stable--it doesn't stretch a ton and it didn't fray too much as I was working with it.

The pattern was the challenging part. I knew exactly what I wanted: a sort of "sweater girl" look with cute short sleeves. So I did something I've never done before: I draped the pattern, in the garment fabric! I draped the front and back separately, marking the seam lines with chalk. Then I basted them together on the seamlines to fit it. Once I was happy with the fit, I serged the seams. I borrowed the sleeve pattern from a knit dress pattern I have on hand, and measured carefully to be sure that it would fit properly (knit sleeves have no ease, so it had to be a precise fit).

I learned from my research that it's very important to stabilize any horizontal seams, so I basted some Stay Tape into the shoulder seam before serging it.


The neck binding worked really well in the fabric, since it's a rib. I just cut a piece of fabric a little smaller than the sweater neck and twice the width I wanted the binding. I serged the short ends together, folded it in half wrong sides together, and basted the raw edges together. Then it just gets serged into the neckline. Easy! The last step is to top stitch to get the binding to lay flat. The pro way to do this is to use a twin needle, and stitch with the neckline seam in the middle of the two needles. I just used a zigzag, though, because I was too lazy to set up my twin needle.



I did the hem on the bottom and the sleeves by turning it up and zigzagging. I tested this method first, and it worked well since the stitches really disappear in this knit.



I'm happy I now have a paper pattern for this, because I feel like I could use one in every color of the rainbow. Probably in a softer fabric--the ribbed wool is a little itchy to wear so close-fitting. It will be interesting to see how different types of knits work for this.

So there you have it. Isn't it so cool that you can sew a sweater?

47 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to see somebody who can sew like you. Congratulations!

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  2. I'm sewing a sweater hoodie for my husband right now, and it was a revelation of the "hey, that's not so hard!" variety. Congrats on the sweater. It's super cute!

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  3. Love this! You have been very inspiring. I just ordered fabric to make my daughter your modern crinoline! I learn a lot here. One the itch factor - a full slip helps with that (you may be using one though). This is my favorite version for a full slip, vintage or not: http://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/64824 In the 4 way stretch lingerie fabric it feels like a second skin.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  4. (psst. It's not so hard to knit them, either. *grins*)

    Lovely top, though, and good work stabilising the shoulder seams. Most knitters would say do the back neck, too, as those three lines are where most of the garment's weight will hang.

    As for itchiness, I find that many wools become much less itchy after they've been washed once (by hand, of course). It's the sizing and what all left in them from manufacture that's itchier than the wool itself.

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  5. Wow. I've always wondered what kind of results one could get with knits like that. It looks great.

    Is there such a thing as a "sweater boy"?

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  6. I absolutely love sweaters, too scared to attempt what you have as am only beginner. Not tried any knits. But like you I love that look. Very cute.

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  7. I've always wanted to try to sew with knits but I'm chicken!! haha LOVE the sweater!!

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  8. Ooh! Aah! It looks very pretty. You said, that this doesn't stretch to much ... do you still think it wouldwork with a larger bust? Well normal bust and a tiny ribcage?

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  9. The challenge is not in the sewing - it's in the finding the sweater knits!

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  10. Nice job, love the color!

    Knits are fun and easy to sew with, but I agree with Toby, they can be hard to find. All the fabric stores in my area except Joannes have gone out of business. Boo.

    Happy creating!

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  11. Such a sweet little sweater! Great job!

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  12. Thanks, ladies/gent! Toby, if you're open to online shopping, there are lots of sweater knits on Emma One Sock and Gorgeous Fabrics. Really nice ones.

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  13. Looks gorgeous! I agree, it's kind of exciting to realise you can make these uber-practical items pretty straightforwardly (just been posting on this very subject). I'd love to see how you tackle a cardigan cos I'm still a little indimidated.

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  14. Looks great and I can see several [different colors] added to any wardrobe. This style could be dressed up or let on its own for a more relaxed day.
    Great, great, great ! ! !
    hugs
    Gerry
    of course, color influences my opinion.

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  15. Very cool! I have been wanting to try this.

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  16. Lovely sweater! I'd wear that style of top almost daily if I could. I think they're so flattering & versatile.

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  17. Super cute, as always! And that color... is it fuchsia? Magenta? Raspberry? Watermelon? (Mmmm.) Love it!!!

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  18. Wow! This looks fantastic! Would you please recommend some patterns for sweaters? I just moved to the East coast (New Haven, *wave*) after 10 years in the southwest and I am in a dire need for sweaters. I'd love to sew me a couple over X-mas. Thank you!

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  19. This post was inspiring. I'm scared of knits. Yesterday I was struggling with a simple cotton knit, attempting to make a long sleeved T-shirt style nightgown. It was so frustrating, and I even had a pattern to follow.

    I love your sweater.

    C.B.

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  20. I was afraid of knits (the t-shirt kind, I haven't tried the sweater kind) til I picked up Built by Wendy's Home Stretch. It's really a great book for explaining everything in very straightforward language.

    Plus, there's patterns in the back. I've made myself a number of shirts from it and they look good.

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  21. Love it! Want it even more :-)

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  22. Ah, sewing sweater knits! My mom recently gave me her collection of Stretch 'n Sew patterns from the '70s, all for knits. About the same time, a former coworker gave me her fabric stash, which included several sweater knits ... ironically, from the same now-closed store my mom and I used to frequenty in the '70s. You could buy precut lengths of sweater knits for a few bucks.

    Stretch 'n Sew had you measure the neck opening with a tape measure (held on edge), and then I think you took 2/3 of that measurement, added an inch, and cut the neck ribbing to that length. That way the neck ribbing didn't gap. I'll have to check the numbers. I've used the T-shirt, raglan top, and shorts patterns to make some very comfy PJs, too!

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  23. This is absolutely beautiful! I now have jumper sewing cravings...

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  24. I would have just knitted it.

    ...which of course would take longer.

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  25. I love your sweater - it looks great on you. Now that you've told me how easy it is to work with, I'll have to try one for myself! Thanks, again, Gertie!

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  26. I live somewhere where it doesn't get cool enough for a sweater, but I do love sewing stretch tee's.

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  27. This looks fantastic.I just ordered fabric to make my daughter your modern crinoline!

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  28. Oh wow, it's so cute! I've been on the hunt for a perfect short sleeved, tight fitting crew neck knit like this for aaaages but there's nothing in the shops and I can't knit (not for lack of trying, but it hurts my hands and I'm rubbish at it and I find it a bit... well... boring - ssshh!). So sewing a sweater could just be the answer! You make it sound easy to tackle, well, as easy as serging a t-shirt in any case. I might just try it!

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  29. Thank you for the post!!!
    It is very usefull to me, because I love sewing sweters and jerseys, and since my favourite store close down in my city, i did not know where to buy the material. I checked their website, and they have amazing knitted fabrics. always learnig from you, Gertie!

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  30. I got to fondle this fabric when I was at Haberman's last month. It's a great color for you

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  31. Wow! So much faster than knitting :) I've never thought of sewing a sweater, I'll have to give it a whirl.

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  32. Would love to sew a sweater like yours...What if you don't have a serger? Would it be much more difficult?

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  33. It's very cute hon....but you need me to show you to KNIT a sweater! ;) HUGS------

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  34. I love the color. I've never thought about sewing a sweater, but clearly I should. Thanks for sharing.

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  35. Oh wow this looks gorgeous!! I love your style and thanks for the tips, they are really useful XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.com/

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  36. This is so cool - I have a couple of sweater knits in my stash - and I've got an incredible serger. I also have the Wendy's Home Stretch book. Now I need to make the time to do something like this. Thanks for sharing - love the coat, too!

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  37. I love this post, thank you. I shop for alot of my fabrics at SweaterKnitFabric.com they're powered by Fabric.com

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  38. Yvette/ScissorhappyJanuary 1, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    What a cute sweater! Love the color.....
    I was a pattern maker for over 20 years specializing in cut and sew knits. A couple of sewing hints....
    Cut a piece of clear elastic the same size as the finished measurement you want your shoulder seam to be, and sew it on the seam line.
    Some people also use the same knit as the fabric you are sewing. Cut it on the straight grain 3/8" wide by the finished measurement you want your seam to finish at. You will need to most likely try it out and cut it a bit longer than pattern. If you cut it too short it will pull shoulder tip up.
    Both these methods are used to hold the shoulder seam from stretching out over time!

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  39. Random question: who is the artist that did the pics of the ladies in the backround on some of these pics?

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  40. Hey i just ordered a sewing machine and i am a beginner. But i would really like to sew a sweater because its almost winter. Do you think it would be hard or at least a bit simple for me?

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  41. Hey i just ordered a sewing machine and i am a beginner. But i would really like to sew a sweater because its almost winter. Do you think it would be hard or at least a bit simple for me?

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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