All the Sparkle, None of the Stress

So, there I was, shopping the Cali Fabrics website, when I came across this pretty gem: “Black and Sparkling Silver Striped Sweater Knit”. My inner dialogue, as the person who would be wearing the sweater, went something like this: “Ohmygoshilovesparkles! Festive! Holidays! Yasssssss! Sweater knit, yummy, cozy, classy, let’s do it!” And then the rest of my inner dialogue, as the person who would be sewing the sweater, went, “Uuugggghhh. Metallics. Going to dull my needles and scissors, glittery mess everywhere, sweater knit unraveling all over the place, no way, what a hassle.”

Mail call. Guess which inner voice won.

And guess which inner voice was totally wrong about the hassle! The fabric was entirely well behaved and is welcome back in my sewing room any time. It didn’t fray or unravel, didn’t shed glitter, and was a very easy sew. You have to love a fabric that is easy to sew as a jersey, with the leveled-up look of sweater knit and that irresistible sparkle!

For the pattern, I was curious to see how my newest pattern for girls, the East Coast Cardi, Shrug and Bolero pattern, would look sized up for women! So I used the basic design of the shrug view, starting with a self-drafted long sleeved top I know fits well, then shortened the body and designed built-in ties into the front.

There are some things I’d do differently with the pattern but for a quick test I’m pretty happy with it and will definitely wear it! It’s perfect for Girl’s Night Out and I like it equally with a dress as I do with jeans. The sparkle is just enough to be party-worthy, yet not so much that I feel like a figure skater. My daughter likes it too, and we have really different styles. (Despite having picked out gray, black and maroon for the photoshoot without consulting with each other!)

The body is lined and the sleeves are unlined. I matched the stripes (you know, more or less) on the outward-facing side and on the liner, I perfectly offset the stripes at the side seam because I cut them wrong as an element of surprise. I love how this gives a little peek of checkerboard look at the front opening.

This sweater knit is a poly/lycra blend with a bit of mylar that adds that amazing sparkle to the silver. It has about 50% 4-way stretch, a little less on the cross-grain than with the grain. Out of an abundance of caution, I sewed this as I would a metallic textile, but I don’t think it was strictly necessary – mylar is a plastic (which sounds weird, but polyester is a plastic too). Even metalized, it really behaved more like a regular dense poly knit than a metallic. Nevertheless I used an older rotary blade that was near the end of its life anyway in case it became dulled by cutting the fabric, and I sewed the seams with a very narrow zigzag and then serged the edges with the knife down to avoid dulling my serger knife. As with any stretchy knit, I stabilized shoulder seams, used a ballpoint needle and polyester thread. I used a press cloth when pressing and low heat.

Gotta love holiday sparkle, no stress! You can find this pretty featured fabric here: Black and Sparkling Silver Striped Sweater Knit or peruse other sweater knits here:

Jen H, from Tie Dye Diva

Jen creates PDF format sewing patterns for women, children and babies at

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