Since I’m here in sunny California, I have only recently had to add layers over my tops. I’m a sucker for sweaters, so I love being able to pull on a warm cardigan and go about my day. What I love about sewing (as opposed to say, knitting) is that I can whip up cardigans and sweaters made from soft sweater knits fairly quickly, especially with some of the basic techniques I’m going to share with you today!
Fortunately for us there are many patterns available for sweater knits, and the one that I selected is a Sew House Seven pattern, Simplicity 8529, which can be made in a variety of sweater knits. I had chosen this very lovely and soft pink heather ribbed knit and couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out in view B of my pattern! This light to midweight sweater knit has a soft drape, and its ribbing gives it plenty of stretch and recovery. It would’ve looked perfect as view A with the split hem, but I tend to gravitate towards simple hemlines.
Although you can use a sewing machine or serger for sewing knits, I typically only use my serger, but many of the techniques I use for my serger translate to a sewing machine as well. I also sew a lot and don’t like fussing with all of those notions that would make a project more high maintenance. There are definitely times when you must use those items, but sometimes it’s nice and refreshing to throw caution to the wind and make a lovely, cozy, and cute sweater in less than an hour! “Sew” liberating!
One thing I always do after cutting my pattern out of my fabric is to take those scraps and test out pressing and serging/sewing. When pressing, I used moderate steam and just the tip of my iron; this didn’t flatten or disturb the texture of my sweater fabric. Then I took a larger scrap and folded it in half. I always test my serger or sewing machine settings for each fabric, including making sure I have the correct needles in. Doing this ensures I have the correct settings so my fabric doesn’t become stretched out or gathered unintentionally, and it also reduces the risk of skipped stitches.
The construction of this sweater is very quick and simple, especially with this specific sweater knit which isn’t too loosely or densely woven, it’s just right. The neckline is self-facing using a neat little technique that can be done incredibly fast. When it came to adding the sleeves though, my serger really wanted to shift the top layer of fabric forward while the feed dogs pulled the lower layer back. I reduced my presser foot pressure, but that wasn’t enough.
One way to ensure your fabric stays put at the beginning of your seam is to add a small piece of wonder tape just at the seam allowance. Wonder tape is this amazing tape that is double sided, can be sewn through, and washes away. This trick just keeps your fabric in place at the beginning of the seam, and once it gets going, the rest of the seam should follow suit.
Another way to assist your fabric at the beginning of your serged seam is to gently pull the tail thread at the beginning of your seam to assist the fabric feeding through. Once it starts going through, go ahead and let go and use your whole hand to help guide the fabric through evenly. Using your whole hand also stabilizes the fabric so it doesn’t stretch or pull the seam wonky. Remember not to “move” your fabric through, your machine does that for you.
The back of this sweater looks much like the front, and I absolutely love the comfortable simplicity of this pattern. This ribbed sweater knit is so beautiful and luxuriously soft, but I must caution that with the sun behind me it was ever so slightly see-through (you would definitely see a black bra or tank underneath). This sweater knit would also make a great oversized scarf because of it’s beautiful drape (that would totally make a great gift!), and the color is perfectly described as “strawberries and cream”, because that’s exactly what it reminds me of too!
If you haven’t yet, check out Cali Fabrics collection of sweater knits and treat yourself to some lovely and cozy fabric this season!