Tag Archives: knits

Lekala 4386 Double Take

Double takes, that is, making two of the same garment at once, can be easier or harder. On this double make, one project was super easy the other painfully difficult!

To be fair, I think the biggest problem was me. I was soo anxious to dive into this wonderful, textured red knit from Fabric Mart that I started cutting the same day I pulled it out of the box. I think the knit was stretched in some odd way, and if I had waited to let the fibers relax back into shape, things would have gone smoothly.

Border Print Knit Dress

So, I needed a quick, comfortable dress for the theater, and also wanted a transitional tunic top. Here in Cleveland we joke about having three seasons: Winter, Mud, and Road Construction. And it’s true, the closer you are to the shore, particularly on the eastern side of Lake Erie, the icy cold lake waters keep winter lingering until the rest of Ohio has warmed up. Days often start chilly, get quite warm, then chilly close to sundown. I’m not the worlds biggest polyester fan, but poly works well for this kind of weather. I like tunics. I like this pattern. And I love love love the red knit.

For the dress I used some border print ity knit from my stash. The knit was really soft and limp, so I did exactly what I did the first time I made this dress – I lined it with activewear knit from my stash. The result is a thicker hand and the dress has a more substantial feel to it.

Everything went smoothly on the dress, in part, because ity knits are so drippy and stretchy in both directions. This allowed me to cut the pieces with the grainline running crosswise, and the floral border running along the hem of the dress.

Red Knit Tunic Length

As I’ve already said, the tunic length version didn’t go so smoothly. I had to rip and resew the shoulder seam several times. It still sits a bit funny on my shoulders.

I’m really glad I took the time to baste the seams on my sewing machine with a narrow zig zag stitch before serging them. I despise ripping out serged seams!

I may not be thrilled with the way this make fits, but I got several compliments when I wore it. So. I’m Happy!

April was a busy busy month for me. I got the necessary sewing done, but I didn’t do very well at documenting my process, just the finished items on Dolly.

Notice the wrinkles at the shoulder on the red tunic.


Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

Kwik Sew 3121 with Faux Ribbing

Kwik Sew 3121 is pretty much my go-to pattern when I want a dartless, boxy fit pullover. It makes a great starting point for interesting designs. This particular design features a full cowl neck of self faux ribbing adorned with a decorative buckle, and long, full sleeves ending in thick cuffs of self faux ribbing.

For this make, I used a soft poly sweater knit with just a touch of metallic gold from Fabric Mart.  I made the faux self-ribbing from the fabric by sewing pin tucks, following threads in the sweater knit.

The faux ribbing is one of those fun projects I will never do again!! It was difficult to get right and very time consuming. At first I tried following the suggestions I found online and in an old issue of Threads Magazine to use a twin needle and a pin tuck foot. No matter what I did to the tension, stitch length or any other setting, the tucks came out messy at best. Worst still the thread from spool # 2 kept breaking. I tried rethreading, I tried different spools of thread, nothing helped.

Eventually I gave up and started looking through my stash for an acceptable alternative ribbing. I toyed with the idea of abandoning the ribbing altogether. I had no suitable alternative ribbing, so I decided to give it one more try.

This time, I used a single needle and a zipper foot, following the pattern in the sweater knit. To keep the ribbing even and avoid twisting, I stitched every tuck in the opposite direction. The resulting tucks were wider and deeper than the results from the twin needle and pintuck foot. And it took a little practice to get each tuck neat. It took a very long time, going up one tuck and down the next, and a lot of thread, to actually gather the material into the tucks. The faux ribbing also used a lot of material. The cowl neck is made from a strip of flat fabric a full 60 inches long! But with all the pin tucks, it gathers into a piece of faux ribbing just big enough to finish the neck!

NOTE: In the photos the sleeve is pinned to the front of the sweater so it’s easy to see the deep self faux ribbing on the cuffs.


Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

Butterick 5954 Again!

This make was a spontaneous spur of the moment kind of thing. I had just put the pattern away in the pattern drawer, and was digging through my stash looking for a piece for a different project. I came across this amazing Lilly Pad Green chenille design crepe knit. I knew I had to make it up in a short sleeve version of this Butterick  pattern, so I went right back to the pattern drawer and pulled it back out.

At first I was afraid I would not have enough fabric to get all the pieces going in the same direction. I decided if one big piece had to be upside down, it would be the front overlap. And, if necessary, I could cut the sleeves on the cross grain. But luckily I was able to get all the pieces, including the sleeves, going in the right direction.

I used a coverstitch on the hem again, but this time I had a little trouble with the thread breaking. I don’t know why. I used a mini-cowl for the collar and added a couple of  green glass buttons for extra color. I used the short sleeves, but instead of hemming them up all the way around I tacked the hem up in just a few spots, and added a button, so the sleeves have a little bit of poof at the bottom.

I love the softness, texture and color of the fabric. And I love the long, full back on this pattern. The line drawing really doesn’t show just how full the back is.

Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

Kwik Sew 3915 Collar Only

I think a glass of Apothic Crush helped Kwik Sew 3915 find it’s way into my cart. It’s an ordinary Tee pattern with a ruched collar accented with buttons and loops, nothing difficult or unusual. I have plenty of basic Tee patterns. But, the photo on the pattern envelope is charming. And there it was in the package with my other pattern selections. So, why not make it?

I chose a fern green wool jersey from Fabric Mart, and some green glass buttons from my stash. I may change my mind and switch to covered buttons.

I’m glad I took the time to read the pattern envelope and instructions because I saw two very scary words – Negative Ease.  I do NOT want to look like an Old Lady Sausage!

The pattern went on to explain it is supposed to fit tight, and if it’s too loose, go down a size. Tight does not look good on my no-waist figure. So I used the front and back from one of the many other basic Tee patterns I have in my stash. I traced the neck and armholes from Kwik Sew onto my basic pattern.

The button loops were miserable to make, as button loops always are. My first attempt was a failure, the tube came out so small I simply could not turn it inside out. Just. Could. Not. Grrrrr…. I recut another piece a little wider, so my loops are thicker than they are supposed to be. They are practically swallowing my buttons!

Next, I managed to get the collar half-flipped when I sewed it together, creating a wonderful Mobius Collar. Ugh! Disassemble, reassemble.

After installing the collar I discovered my next mistake. The pattern says to use sew in interfacing to reinforce the shoulders and back neck. The interfacing is based in place, sewn into the seams, then the leftover bit trimmed away. I just reached for the fusible knit interfacing I always use, so there’s no trimming away the extra bit. It’s fused to the top. Oh well, it’s on the inside below the neckline and along the shoulder seams, not places that are likely to be seen when the top is worn.

I used a cover stitch hem and sleeve hem. I love to use variegated thread in the looper, it’s my thing. I used green variegated serger thread in the looper, with embroidery thread in the needles. I wound some of the embroidery thread onto a bobbin for the second needle. You can use serger, sewing or embroidery thread in a serger or coverstitch machine. Sometimes, you can use any of these threads in a bobbin on an ordinary machine, too. But you can NOT use serger thread as the top thread in a regular or embroidery machine. The top thread in a sewing or embroidery machine goes through the tension and needle many times. Serger thread will wear out and break. How do I know this? Because I mistook a spool of variegated serger thread for embroidery thread, and tried to use it for embroidery.

Pattern Description: Misses Ruched Neck Tops: Pullover tops are close fitting. A: Long sleeves and V-neckline with lapped collar that is gathered at front neckline with four decorative buttons and loops. B: Short sleeves and wide round faced neckline with neckband that is gathered on front. Pattern includes ¼” (6 mm) seam allowances.

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, even though I used only the collar

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, BUT I should have read all the way through before sewing! I used fusible interfacing at the neckline, and it isn’t covered by a facing or anything. The pattern calls for non-fusible interfacing, then trimming away the excess.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the collar, the button loops were a pain, as button loops always are.

Fabric Used: Fern Green Wool Jersey from FabricMart

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The words “negative ease” scared me! I am thick through the middle and “negative ease” can make me look like an old lady sausage, so I used my own looser fitting block for the bodice

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I’d recommend it to anyone who likes snug fitting pullovers. I would make it again, but have no plans to do so.




Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

McCalls 7240 Knit Dress Test Run as a Top

Line Drawings and Fabric Tag

A recent McCalls release included several knit dress patterns that caught my eye. The little contrast yoke with asymmetrical neckline  is just the right touch this simple dress needs.

I need sweaters and tops more than I need dresses. I had a piece of grey and black animal print Hatchi sweater knit from Fabric Mart, and some leftover black stretch velvet in my stash. I decided to use these fabrics to make this pattern into a sweater top.

The line drawings show a wide neckline. I usually don’t care for wide necklines, but I decided to try it as drafted anyway.

Somehow I managed to cut the contrast yoke piece to sit on the RIGHT side of the top instead of the LEFT. Luckily, I also got the front bodice backwards, so my sweater has the contrast yoke on the right. I think this mistake is mine, not the patterns, because I tend to mix up right and left.

My Sweater Top Version

Other than the right-left glitch, the pattern went together quickly and easily. I used my Babylock Evolve to coverstitch the neck, sleeve hems, and hem. Usually I sew major seams with the machine, test the garment, then finish with the serger. This time I threw caution to the wind and serged the seams, which sped up the sewing process.

The neckline came out Wide. Very Wide. It’s elegant, it’s feminine. It’s chilly for a sweater. It exposes my bra strap and a scar. It’s just not right for me.

I used scraps of the animal print knit along with steel grey and solid black knit jerseys to make a swirl scarf. All three fabrics I used were close to 72 inches wide, so the scarf came out a little longer than expected, but looks nice looped twice, covers my neck, and keeps me warm,

I like the look of the asymmetrical neckline and contrast yoke, I’ll a little sad that the scarf partially hides these fun features. I think I will make this again as a dress, maybe in a floral print, but I will make the neck much less wide.

Pattern Description: Loose-fitting, pullover dresses (close-fitting through bust) have left front yoke and narrow hem. A: Short sleeves. B, C: Long sleeves. D: Three-quarter length sleeves and contrast yoke.

All views feature a wide neck, Views C & D have an asymmetrical neckline

With Matching Scarf

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I made mine top length instead of dress length. And, I mixed up my right and left, so the contrast yoke is on the right side instead of the left

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear and easy to follow

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the contrast yoke and asymmetrical neck line. I dislike the wide neck line, it’s too wide for me.

Fabric Used: Hatchi sweater knit and stretch velvet

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made the pattern top length, because I need tops more than I need dresses.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes! I do want to make this in a dress version.


Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

McCalls 7262 Knit Wrap Coat

I loved the casual look of this waterfall lapel coat, both open showing the waterfall and closed, draping over the chest. It received favorable reviews, so I decided to try it.

I used a piece of alpaca wool for the body and deep brown wool boucle knit from Fabric Mart for the sleeves.

My coat is warm and cosy, and it feels like being wrapped up in a comfy, slightly itchy, blanket. I fixed the itchy at the back of my neck with a scrap of faux suede knit stitched to the inside of the collar. So I’m not sure why I’m not in love with it.

I think I might like this design better in a less bulky fabric. The alpaca is thick and soft, but perhaps a bit too thick to drape nicely. When it’s closed, it feels like an awful lot of fabric bunched up on my chest. Only one side of the coat fastens, the other side simply drapes down.

The pattern itself is simple and the instructions are clear.

This is an easy pattern for a unique, comfortable wrap with a touch of drama. A fabric with a soft, drapey hand is essential to this design. Also, the wrong side of the fabric shows, so the pattern need a fabric with a nice looking wrong side.


Front Closed

Pattern Description: 
Loose-fitting sweater coats and poncho have shaped hemline, wrong side shows and narrow hem. A: Layered sleeves. B: Stitched hem on sleeves. A, B: Draped cowl front extends into back collar, and front button band and conceal snap closing. C: Cut on crosswise grain, asymmetrical, mock-band and snap closing. I made View A.

Pattern Sizing:
Regular Misses.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did, except my fabric is more bulky. Too bulky, I think

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, the instructions were clear and easy to follow. This is an easy pattern

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I was drawn to the slouchy, casual yet slightly dramatic look. The end result is warm and cozy. Only one side fastens when the coat is closed, not really a full blown dislike, but something I plan to add another button so both sides will button closed.

Front Open

Fabric Used:
Alpaca wool knit, wool boucle knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None, but I plan to add a second fastener so both front pieces will fasten closed

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might sew it again, IF I find the right fabric. I have a piece of wine wool double knit that might look nice made up in this pattern. I would recommend this pattern, just make sure your fabric is not too bulky, drapes nicely, and is not itchy.

Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

Classic Breton Tee Free Pattern

Brenton Top


Dropped shoulder

This fun shirt is a classic Breton Top.  The pattern features a simple, slightly scooped, sort of boaty neck and dropped shoulders. The pattern is free from Simply Sewing Magazine and I think it is from a Great British Sewing Bee. I downloaded it from http://www.simplysewingmag.com/downloads/simply-sewing-issue-17-templates/

I chose a gray and wine striped cotton knit from Fabric Mart. Because it’s 100% cotton I washed the fabric in hot water and dried it on hot in the dryer before cutting out. I plan to wash the finished Tee in cool water and dry it on low.

I made the largest size and it fits comfortably. I raised and rounded the neckline a bit. I don’t mind scooped necks, but I’m really not fond of boat necks, so my shirt has a jewel style neck.

I lengthened it to almost tunic length, and made the sleeves long. I didn’t use the front and back facing pieces, instead I used a narrow bias strip to finish the neckline. This method works much better for me on most light and medium knits than facings do.

The download came with several craft patterns, including a coastal doorstop, bunting and fish decorations, dog pincushion, girl’s sun dress and hat, denim crossbody bag, stitched flag, and whale toy. If you’re printing on your home printer, you may want to print only the pages with the Tee pattern. I had the whole file printed at Fed-Ex Kinkos, where I have my Lekala patterns printed, and so I printed everything.

The pattern includes a front, a back, a sleeve, a front facing and a back facing. Instructions are not included in the download, I don’t know if they are available anywhere on line. The Simply Sewing site says they are available in a printed issue of the magazine. I’ve never seen the instructions, so I can’t comment on them.

Here’s what I did 1. Sewed the shoulder seams. 2. Sewed the sleeves to the armhole. 3. Sewed the side/sleeve seams. 4. Stay stitched the neckline. 5. Sewed a narrow bias band to the neckline on the outside of the Tee. 6. Flipped the neckline to the inside and topstitched it in place using my coverstitch machine (a Babylock Evolve) 7. Sewed the hem and sleeve hems with my coverstitch machine 8. Trimmed away any excess on the inside of the hem, sleeve hems, and neckline, and any stray long threads

Pattern Description: The classic Breton Top featuring a slightly scooped, boat neck and dropped shoulders

Pattern Sizing: Regular Misses. I used the largest size

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Except for my changes, yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? No instructions were provided on the pdf file. The website indicates they are available in a back issue of the magazine, so I never saw the instructions

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s FREE! I like the dropped shoulder. I didn’t use the facings, instead, I used a narrow bias strip. I think bias strips or neckbands work much better than facings on light and medium weight knits.

Fabric Used: Cotton Jersey

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I don’t care for boat-ey necklines, so my neckline is more jewel. I also lengthened the sleeves to the wrist and the bodice to almost tunic length

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I recommend this pattern to anyone who feels comfortable assembling a Tee without instructions. The dropped shoulder feature is fun. I do plan to sew this Tee again!


Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

McCalls 6612 – Cute, Quick & Easy Knit Dress

I was caught off guard on vacation this summer. I made and packed one casual, comfortable ITY knit dress. I knew I’d be wearing the dress more than once. But it never occurred to me that we might end up going out with the same people two nights in a row. But we did. And I wore the same dress two nights in a row, with the same friends!

So when I went to watch the Great American Eclipse. I wanted to bring at least TWO casual summer dresses. I picked a spandex kaleidoscope print from Ebay for my second dress.

I chose McCalls 6612 for the pattern. This is a  great basic dress, super simple and stylish. I made View B, it’s, just a front, a back, and a sleeve so it sewed up quickly. I finished the hem and sleeves with a three thread rolled hem. It’s easy to do on my Imagine serger and looked great on my other summer dress. When I tried the finished dress on, I realized that the kaleidoscope print was perhaps not the most flattering print for me.

I decided the dress needed a little bit of something, like a belt. I tried on a couple of narrow leather belts, in navy blue and muted green. I liked the visual from the narrow band of solid color, but the belts felt stiff and wrong against the soft knit. A quick dip into my scrap stash revealed a length of royal blue rayon. I cut a strip twice as wide as I wanted the finished belt to be, plus 1-1/2″ for the seam allowance. In other words (Width of Finished Belt x 2) + 1-1/2″.

The rayon by itself was too soft, so I interfaced the whole piece (except for seam allowances) with a medium weight fusible interfacing. Then, I folded it in half long-wise, and sewed from the center along the long side to one short end, turned the corner, and sewed the end. Then I did the same thing on the other side, ,leaving a 3″ open gap in the seam along the long side at the center. Finally, I turned the whole thing right side out, sewed the gap closed, and pressed the belt.

I cheated on the belt loops, and simply used a safety pin on one side to hold the belt in place.

After a few weeks, the rolled hems began to curl upwards. I’m not sure I like this. I have scraps, so if I decide to fix it, I can make facings for the hem and sleeves

The curling hem

Pattern Description: Misses pullover dress with sleeve, neck and length variations and a ruching option. Dress can have long, medium, short or no sleeves. Neckline can be smooth, slightly cowl, or with a deep cowl collar. Ruching on the sides seams of View A make it the shortest version. View D is full length.

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the instructions were clear. The pattern is simple with few pieces.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the options! This is a great basic T-type dress pattern.

Fabric Used: Spandex knit

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a three thread rolled hem on the sleeves and hem. I’m not sure this was the best choice for my fabric, because, after several weeks, the fabric is starting to curl up a bit. Not sure I like this! But, that is my mistake using that particular finish with this particular fabric.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and Yes.


Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

McCalls 7538 Knit Bandage Dress

This is a flattering, easy to make and comfortable to wear dress. With careful color choices, the bandage wrap style can make the waist look slimmer, creating an hourglass shape.

My inspiration for this dress were these two designs by Proenza Schouler. These Proenza dresses have a dramatic one bare shoulder look that I could not pull off. I knew mine would have both shoulders covered and two longish sleeves. The Proenza dresses have a peek-a-boo effect built into the wraps, my dress will provide full coverage. McCalls 7538 matched the wrap portion closely. When comparing my finished dress to the inspirational images, it looks like the wraps on the Proenza dresses are more vertical, and the ones in this pattern are a little more horizontal, but it’s not a barely noticeable difference. I copied the Proenza lettuce finish on the hem and sleeves. I think the Proenza dresses are made from a softer, less firm knit.

I chose an easy to sew rayon ponte in a middle blue. I wanted the bandages to be darker, so my waist would (in theory) look a little thinner. And I wanted an extra accent stripe. Once I settled on the middle blue and a dark blue, choosing the final strip was a lot harder. I planned to layer the thinner strips over the wide base bandage stripe, so the more layers, the thicker the bandage. Two layers of ponte, middle blue and dark blue, was already thick. Another ponte would have been too thick, so I started picking in my scraps and leftovers. I found two potential options, and settled on the striped ity knit.

This is an easy to make dress that went together quickly without fuss. But, the skirt was SHORT!! Usually I find myself cutting off inches at the hem before hemming. This time the skirt was cut just long enough, turning up anything more than an inch or so for hem would be too short. So, I borrowed from the inspiration design and used a lettuce finish on the hem and sleeves. I’ve never tried this kind of finish on a fabric as thick and firm as the ponte, but it worked.

The end result is a comfortable, flattering easy to wear dress. The rayon ponte is comfortable and wrinkle resistant, so it’s a good garment for traveling.

It’s also something that could be worn to the office under a jacket or cardigan. Take off the cardigan, and you’re ready to go out for dinner and drinks, or to the theater.

Pattern Description: Knit dress with Bandage Wrap design

Pattern Sizing: Misses

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I used different color blocking

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were clear, notches matched up, etc

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the wrap section at the middle. I did not like the length, this skirt is SHORT. I was a little surprised at just how short it was. I like my skirts to reach the knee at least, even with a lettuce hem that takes up no extra length the skirt is barely long enough. I’m also not thrilled with the way the shoulders/sleeves fit. The only reason I can move my arms is because the fabric stretches!!! When I first tried this dress on I was afraid that would be a big problem. I wore the dress anyway. It bothered me for a minute or two, by the time the evening was over I had forgotten it was a problem.

Fabric Used: Rayon/Lycra ponte knit, with contrast polyester ponte knit and a little bit of poly ity from my scrap bin

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a different color blocking design and added extra strips on the “bandages”

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. With careful color choices, this is a slimming style that’s comfortable to wear.

Inspiration dress one

inspiration dress two

Leave a comment

Filed under sewing

Hot Patterns HP1170 Blouse Back Tee, Fast & Fabulous

I love stripes, I love florals, I love mixing them in this easy, casual tee. I borrowed the idea of a contrasting front yoke from a RTW tee.

I wanted a Spring/Fall shirt, so I made the sleeves long-ish. I didn’t really measure the length because I wasn’t picky about the exact length. Anything from below the elbow to the wrist would work. Which is sort of ironic, because Hot Patterns includes an amazingly complete chart of finished garment dimensions for just about any measurement you can think of! I LOVE this feature about Hot Patterns, because the chart makes alterations super easy.

I also raise the neck in both front and back. I always raise the back neck line, I like mine higher than most RTW and sewing patterns. I raised the front neck line, because I’ve made this tee before, and I knew I wanted something a little higher for the transitional seasons.

This is a nice design, easy to wear in spring, summer or fall. I think my next version might use lace or sheer fabric as the contrast.

<b>Pattern Description: </b>
Semi-fitted, pull-on T-shirt with a relaxed silhouette featuring a contrast back, back yoke, “U” neckline and sleeves finished with self or contrast trim

<b>Pattern Sizing:</b>
Sizes 6 – 26 in one envelope

<b>Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?</b>
Yes, except for my design changes

<b>Were the instructions easy to follow?</b>
Yes. Hot Patterns instructions are always clear and their garments are easy to sew

<b>What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?</b>
The full gathered back and the WONDERFUL complete list of finished measurements

<b>Fabric Used:</b>
Polyester blend kints. The stripe is a poly/cotton ity blend from Fabric Mart. The floral is poly/spandex digital print from Ebay. Both were already in my stash when I chose them for this top.

<b>Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:</b>
I added a contrasting front yoke, made long-ish sleeves with a narrow hem, and raised the neckline. I like having a higher back neck than most RTW and patterns provide, and I wanted a less deep front neck

<b>Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?</b>
Yes and Yes! Hot Patterns are GREAT!

Leave a comment

Filed under sewing