After the dirndl project that I undertook earlier this fall, I wanted to make sure that I had some quick, easy projects in my next project batch. As we were going into cooler temperatures, I started to think that a few knit sewing projects were in order.
One of the new things I want to incorporate more into my wardrobe is leggings (even though I’m not wearing them in these pictures) which, whether or not you think they count as pants, definitely count as secret pajamas. However, I also don’t want my hind end exposed, which means I need longer t-shirts. I’ve tried the Briar Tee from Megan Nielson Patterns, which I like, but it’s not quite as long as I want and I think something is off for me in the shoulder area. I really like the concept, however, and so I thought I would give Vogue 9055 a try.
I found the coziest sweatshirt-like knit fabric at Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA that seemed perfect. It’s 80% cotton and 20% polyester. This pattern and fabric combination ticked most of my boxes: cozy, secret pajamas, like a warm hug, long and butt-covering. The only thing it was missing was real color. While gray is a cozy color, it also kind of depresses me. Sorry, gray lovers. I live in a land of gray winters (as you can see from these pictures) and I need color. So I bought bling to spice it up. 🙂
While in my mind this project was going to take me, like, two seconds (which never actually happens, but it’s still possible to delude myself), it didn’t. I made the shirt, minus hems, and then I looked at it… The hips were too wide, and actually it looked a bit big on top, too. The neckband wasn’t tight enough, so it was flopping forward. What the heck?! Also, why have I not mastered knit neckbands after all this time?!
So I took a step back and started working on one issue at a time. I took the extra off the hips that I had added previously, and that made a big difference. I decided not to hem the sleeves or body of the shirt because I like the unhemmed shirt length and the look of it unhemmed. I could probably trim an inch off the sleeves…but I just don’t want to. As for the neckband, I cut it off and stay stitched again, but it wasn’t great without some sort of band. So I asked someone who knew more than me (always a good choice!). She told me I needed to make the band shorter, and she did all my calculations for me, making the neckband 15% smaller than the opening of my neck hole (thanks, Stacy!!!). When I recut the piece and sewed it on, it was SO MUCH BETTER. I still need practice to get knit neckbands perfect, but this was a serious improvement.
I know lots of people are down on the amount of ease in Big 4 patterns. I’m the opposite. I usually love the amount of ease they include, since I’m not a fan of super-fitted clothing, but I think in this fabric, I could have gone down one size from my measurements. On the plus side, it’s the ultimate in comfort.
As for the sparkly decorations I bought for my shirt, there really isn’t a lot of space to put them on. So I don’t know. What would you do? Keep the sweatshirt plain or add details or decorations of some kind? For now, it’s plain, because I just wanted to wear it, and it really is as cozy as it looks. I’m open to ideas for jazzing it up, however. Leave your ideas in the comments!
The only thing that is out of the ordinary in this project is that I tried a new product: the new Eloflex thread from Coats & Clark. I haven’t used it enough to have a firm opinion on it, but it seems good so far. It’s not elastic thread, but it does have a bit of stretch in it. You can’t really tell if you hold a small amount between your fingers, but if you hold about a foot of it and pull, you’ll feel more stretch than in standard polyester thread. Normally I would use all-purpose Gutermann polyester thread for my knits, maybe with woolly nylon in the bobbin. For this shirt I used Eloflex in the top and in the bobbin. Now we’ll see how it holds up to wear and tear. I’m definitely excited to experiment with it.
- Check out these cool seam rippers from Bias Bespoke on Etsy. This one is a travel seam ripper with a flip-down lid, and this one has a seam ripper on one side and tweezers on the other. Smart design!
- My awesome parents now scout out fabric stores for me (my mom is also a quilter, but they look for me now, too). They discovered Fabrications in Richland, MI. If you are looking for wool knits, Fabrications has a number of them, including some marked “machine washable”. I spent a lot of time on their website picking out swatches so I could give some a try, courtesy of my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad! I’m excited!
- Sometimes I struggle with anxiety (especially the last few winters), so this winter I’m trying out The Happy Light to see if light therapy helps. As one doctor said, even if it’s psychosomatic, if it helps, it’s worth it. So far I really like it. We’ll see how the whole winter shapes up, but even if it doesn’t help with anxiety, it makes a great little work light.
- Here’s what happens when you use Google Translate to take a song out of its original language and then translate it back. 🙂