Bear with my blogger learning curve! As I transition from the website blog to this one, I'm duplicating a couple of previous blogs...to put them up and running here for the record, and to get into the flow of how this all works. Thanks to all of you who have responded with encouragement and feedback.
I'm also photographing and posting NEW FABRICS on the website, putting together a newsletter and harvesting vast quantities of lavender. A big bathroom remodel is coming up soon, a fun and sometimes bewildering design project. This has been a great at-home summer!
The website blog will become archived, still available on the site, but it just got too big to keep using, driving the webmaster crazy...and I kept getting requests for the RSS feed feature.
SOOOO...this new blog is a blank canvas, more will be revealed.
Vogue 8839, version #2
I had such good luck tweaking my new sweater/jacket cardi pattern in a cotton double weave knit, I tried it again in another sweater knit fabric. More expensive. More challenging. My favorite kind of sewing...flying by the seat of my pants with no attachment to the outcome!
The fabric is one I found last spring and have been saving it and eyeing it for fall. It is an Italian double weave knit, totally different on both sides, really really gorgeous. I named it Panache...which is a word of French origin that carries the connotation of a flamboyant manner and reckless courage.
The name matches the fabric and the design process too!
See the Layers, right and wrong sidesTotally different on one side than the other, the two knit layers are joined at the dots and at some of the stripes....in some areas the layers float. The supplier labeled it wool, but I think the outer fabric is a cashmere/wool blend, and the inner fabric is a cotton/wool blend. I loved the look and feeling, very soft and cozy. Love the black/brown/cream dot and stripe combo, it will go with a lot of my cool weather basics.
Design Process PreparationsMy thought was to cut the fabric on the cross grain so the stripes run up and down and to use the selvedge at the hem edge.
Then, I wondered what would happen if it were filled/felted. (I've had good luck tossing knit cashmere in the washer dryer like this, just tightens things up a bit, but you never know...)
So, the first thing I did was to cut a piece about 9” wide and see what would happen if I tossed it in the washer and drier. One piece was just machine washed and air dried, the other was machine washed and put in the dryer. The dryer piece seemed to shrink and full a bit. I liked what happened. Could even full/shrink a bit more.
After washing it looked like this. Got a slightly tighter weave, responded well to steaming and pressing to get things to line up.
Next, I needed to guess the amount of yardage. Placed my pattern pieces on the fabric (still attached to the bolt), allowed for some shrinkage and cut a 2 1/2 yard length.
Tossed it in the washer, this time using a HOT wash and COLD rinse cycle, hoping to shock the wool, going for even more shrinkage. It did not change or even shrink that much, got a bit more dense and left a lot of lint debris in the washing machine.
So far, so good, tossed it into the drier. When I pulled it out, there was a lot more lint in the drier and in the lint catcher. Needed to vacuum the dryer, but the fabric looked ok. The cut edges were raggedy and it was a bit rumpled, so I gave it a good steaming/pressing, laid it out on the table and gave it a second good pressing. This was key to smoothing the fabric out, with some gentle tugging and sculpting to get it to lie flat and relatively straight.
Pressing the fabric gave me a sense of how the fabric would hang and stretch and recover. I could tell it would stretch a bit, but not out of control...OK with me if it grows a bit in length, but I wanted plenty of ease so I could wear it over other things.
Cutting & Construction
Lined up the fold along a straight line on the cutting table
Lined up the selvedge along a straight line on the cutting table..it is a bit wobbly
Fabric lined up and ready to place the pattern
(this took a lot of pfutzing and patting and arranging).
Did my best to get the stripes lined up on both layers, to have the fold and selvedges lined up. Then I got out the pattern pieces and played around with the layout.
Laying out the pattern: this photo just shows the general idea. My pattern pieces are just traced on white paper, from the prototype stage. When I place the pattern pieces for cutting I am SUPER careful to be accurate.
- Eliminated the pocket, just not right to put a welt pocket in this soft fabric...I’ll miss the pocket but not the hassle and the thickness. This turned out to be the right choice.
- Did not cut the center front band or the collar, decided to wait and see. This turned out to be the right choice too.
- Used 1” seam allowance at the side seams and added 1/4” at the center back (1/2” total), cutting the back on a fold. This extra bit of ease was a good thing, the fit is easy and fluid.
- Cut the front on the lengthwise grain so the stripes go horizontally...wanted this contrast.
The actual sewing was pretty easy. Pressing, and especially steaming/pressing is key. Also, allowing the fabric to cool down is an old tailoring trick, keeps the fabric in the shape you want it. I finished off all the seams by serving the two layers together. The serger is essential for finishing seams in a fabric like this one. I hand sewed in places to keep things stable and retain the softness of the fabric...and minimize stretching.
Stitch first, then serge
Making this reminded me of leggos and lincoln logs because I had to do one step at a time before deciding where to go next.
The finished sweater jacket is slouchy and cozy. It falls in an amorphous way I like very much. I’ll wear it with a sweater pin to hold it closed and in place when the weather is cold, but I appreciate that it can be worn indoors and out, and that I can layer it under my raincoat and winter jacket.
Sewed this in 90 degree heat, had to wait for night to fall to do the hand sewing!
Can be worn in different ways
This one will go to Paris with me!