Hey, friends! I missed you last week. My plans to take some outdoor pictures for my ‘Outside in January’ post were thwarted by family sickness, so that post never happened. Thanks to my ‘Instagram Husband’ photographer and some nice weather on Saturday, though, I’m back with another sewing post for you. Today’s creation is the new Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven. I was severely tempted to make a sweater for my toaster or pose with a toaster, but I resisted and went for something more basic. 😉
This creation is brought to you by my getting caught up in the wave of cozy versions of this sweater floating around the sewing internet. I often get caught up in these things, but rarely give in. This time, I not only got caught up, I bought the PDF version of this pattern, something I almost never do! I’m not a big fan of PDF’s from a user end. They are a great way for a new company to get their patterns out into the world for a lower start-up cost, but from a sewing perspective, I’d always rather have a paper pattern. Sometimes I will even pass on a pattern I like if it doesn’t come in a paper version. This time, though, I realized that I could buy the PDF of the single view that I wanted (the pattern comes with two views) for less than the price of the paper or full PDF pattern, and I could have it NOW.
I already had my fabric, some Polartec Power Stretch (at least I think it’s Power Stretch) that I bought this past summer at one of my favorite fabric stores in Michigan, Field’s Fabrics. It was just waiting for the right pattern. And this was it.
This is a great pattern and a fast sew. There aren’t too many pieces, and the instructions are great, which makes the construction feel really simple in a good way. I made this before making the Coppelia Cardi from Papercut Patterns, and I’m glad I did. The helpful advice about double stitching is something I’ve been using in all my recent knit projects.
I had all these plans to alter the pattern before getting started. I wanted to lengthen it and grade the hips out to a larger size, etc., etc., but in the end I made a straight size large for the first version. I had two colors of fleece, so I figured the first could be a wearable muslin, and I could change things up for the second if I wanted to. In the end, all I changed for number two was to add another inch in width to the bottom band so that, hopefully, the sweater/sweatshirt would hang down over my hips, rather than sort of sitting on top of them. I’m not sure that this made a huge difference, but the good news is that both versions are really great.
Here are some knit sewing construction details for anyone who is interested. I used a 90/14 stretch needle (Schmetz brand) and a walking foot with Gutermann polyester thread in the top and wooly/bulky nylon in my bobbin. Normally I just use wooly nylon for swimwear, but I wanted to see if I could get a better stretch stitch, and this turned out to be just the thing. I used a straight stitch with a length of three for my first pass and a three-step zigzag stitch next to that in the seam allowance for my second pass on each set of pattern pieces. For the zigzag, I used a width of 6 and a length of 1. My tension was at 4 and my presser foot tension was at 3. I did not use a serger.
To figure out my stitch length and width, I used the suggestions that came printed on my machine and tested them on fabric scraps. Then I stretched each test to see if any of my stitches popped. The straight stitches will pop if you put enough stress on them, but I think it is worth doing both because the straight stitches give you a clean join in your pieces while the zigzag provides extra strength and stretch.
I used a universal twin needle since I didn’t have a stretch twin needle at the time (I’ve since gotten one, and it’s great, but the universal did work as well). I didn’t press my seams since I was sewing Polartec and I didn’t want to melt it, but I used the twin needle even in spots like the vertical neck, cuff, and bottom band seams to hold my seam allowances to one side. I think I finally have the hang of the double needle now, and I’m so happy about it.
So, in conclusion, I really like this pattern. I don’t think these are the world’s most flattering tops on me personally, but I don’t really care. I love them and I wear them a ton. They are so cozy in fleece and just perfect for winter.
- I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: fleece from Malden Mills (Polartec brand fleece) is awesome for cold weather. I love natural fibers year-round, but Polartec fleece is cozy and technically fascinating. Reading their website really gives you an appreciation for all the innovation in these fabrics.
- I found this article really helpful: How a Sewing Machine Works, Explained in a GIF. I could never picture the inner workings of my machine before. Thanks to Maggie from Pintuck & Purl for this one.
- Thanks to this show, I learned that the internet is actually housed on top of Big Ben and if you are really, really lucky, the Elders of the Internet might let you borrow it for big speeches. 😉