A Sweater for Not-Quite Sweater Weather

Jenny Lightweight Sweater 2

So, for my last post, I made a trapeze garment for summer. Apparently, I thought I needed one for Fall too haha. I knew when I picked this fabric, I didn’t want to default to a boyfriend cardigan (especially since I made a grey one of those earlier this year). What I did want was something cozy, layerable, up-to-date, and a design that would work with the drape I knew the fabric would have. And I’ve always been a sucker for cowl-necklines, so when I came across M7435 on the McCall’s website, I knew I had to give it a shot. And, I’d say the final result met all of my requirements, even if it is a little different than I expected. 


The description online and on the back of the pattern envelope listed sweater knits as a recommended fabric and even that handy stretch guide on the envelope simply said the fabric must stretch from here to here or more. But, the pattern pieces themselves stated “for moderate stretch fabrics only.” Is it just me or do like 90% of Big 4 knit patterns say that? We like variety in our knits, don’t we? I knew this meant that this lightweight sweater knit was going to stretch and drop more than the pattern was designed for, but I also knew I could work with it.  I decided against my usual “tall” adjustments, knowing that the fabric would likely add a few inches on its own. I’m sure you can see by the photos that it did do exactly that. And, I think it worked out. But, if you look at the back, the neckline is clearly being pulled down further than designed. Not a big deal for this view, where the hood fills in the void (yep! the cowl is actually a hood!), but if I had done a view without it, I would have had to be very careful with my binding or else the area could have looked rather odd. Just something to keep in mind when being a rebel and going against the pattern recommendations 😉


Jenny Lightweight Sweater 3Jenny Lightweight Sweater 4

The sweater otherwise came together much as expected and, really, quite quickly.  One question I see a lot regarding knits is “do I need a serger?”  The answer is definitely not! I do have one, but it’s entry-level and is extremely stubborn when it comes to lightweight knits, so I sewed this entirely on my general sewing machine. With just a slight pressure adjustment, it sewed it like it was any other fabric! I used a standard zigzag stitch and stitched one row right along the seamline, another just next to it (straight for the armscyes and neckline), and trimmed the excess.  It’s a little more time consuming, but it’s actually less bulky and a little more comfortable than a serged edge. So, definitely don’t let not having a serger hold you back! There are far too many lovely knits to play with! (Hint: if you’re ever concerned about how well your machine will handle a particular fabric, Cali offers swatches on all of their offerings, so you can order a swatch, check the color, give it a trial wash/dry and test it in your machine(s).)


Just a couple of notes about this fabric: First, it’s a little lighter than the swatch online indicates (at least on my screen). I tried to make my photos color accurate to give you an idea (but, neutrals can be rather difficult to balance). Second, if you don’t normally do so, I highly recommend throwing it in the dryer after prewashing it. If you think it’s soft when it arrives, just wait until it comes out of the dryer. Oh my goodness, so cozy! See requirement #1 haha.


And if lightweight sweater knits don’t suit your climate, you can check out all the others Cali has here.


Happy sewing! xo




Jenny Lightweight Sweater 5
Just casually holding my arm out, as one does (haha), to show to opacity of the fabric aaand the size of the armscye.

Jenny Lightweight Sweater 1

Jennifer M, from Jenny Maker

Hi! I’m Jennifer, or Jenny if you’d like, and I blog at Jenny Homemaker. I currently reside in Atlanta with my fiancé/sounding-board/photographer, Brandon, and fur baby/supervisor/photobomber, CoCo.

I started sewing in 2009 after a long-distance move, when it became clear I needed a new hobby. I was fearless, choosing a fully-lined, polyester satin, bubble-hem party dress as my first garment. As you might expect, it was a bit of a disaster and was never worn (we dubbed it the “shiny trash bag” dress), but I saw potential in the idea of sewing my own dresses and didn’t hesitate to jump back in.

What started as a way to pass the time has turned into one of the things I’m most passionate about! I’m well on my way to having a fully handmade wardrobe, sewing everything from lounge clothes to silk dresses! When I’m not sewing, I’m learning. When I’m not learning, I’m planning.

Since fabric is such a great part of sewing (sometimes the best part, right!?), I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Cali Fabrics team, sharing some amazing fabrics and helpful tips with you!

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