Some Sewing, at Last!

I’ve gotten a bit more sewing in lately–a quick sweater for my little niece, another cardigan for me (in a sad fabric choice), some leggings, a dress that was supposed to be a tunic, and a couple other tunics!  (Yes, basically I locked myself in my sewing room over the weekend and didn’t come out till I was in a much better mood!)  I have been almost exclusively sewing with knits lately, and I find it suits my wardrobe pretty well–seeing as 99.9999% of the clothes I wear day-to-day are knit tops and jeans.  However!  With the advent of my knit sewing craze, I have also added a few pairs of leggings into the mix and I think I’m a convert!  Not sure I can get away with wearing them to work (or that I’m gutsy enough to try) unless maybe under a dress (egad, but then I’d be wearing a dress to work!  so much crazy talk)!  But I’m warming up to the idea.  (Of leggings AND dresses, oh my!).  Of course, Nightmare Before Christmas print leggings might be too far, so now I’m on the hunt for opaque nice quality knit in solid neutrals.  We’ll see.

I am also dialing in the fit on a few patterns–I’ve had the Lacey Slope Tank/Hoodie in my stash for a while and some of my favorite me-made tees had been from that pattern, but I’m not a fan of the hi-low hem, so I struck out and tried the Seamwork Mesa for a longer, elbow-sleeve tee.  I graded between the 2x in the shoulders/bust and 3x in the hips based on my measurements, and I love the way it nips in at the waist (I have a waist!?!  Who knew!?), but I’m not crazy at the fit across the back (a bit of back flab shows up under the tighter versions, which, while not the end of the world, still vexes me a bit).

Oh the things you learn sewing knits, though.  Fabric choice became the watchword of the day almost immediately–I’ve now made 3 versions, all in different fabrics, and all with totally different results:

  1. A super drapey lightweight teal cotton jersey that hangs about 3 inches lower than the pattern measurements would suggest it would (aka the teal knee-length dress), and which has issues with the neckline growing ever wider (though it is now stabilized with clear elastic, so hopefully that puts the kibosh on that).
  2. An abstract black & purple floral slightly too-tight rayon slub knit version that I shortened by 4 inches (and now hits close to where it ought)…unfortunately the horizontal stretch is a little lacking in the fabric, so that version is for under cardigans only (cute from the front, but not very flattering in the back!).
  3. A lavender rayon jersey dipped hem version that is approaching the mythical “just right”.  I kind of winged the hemline (the Mesa has a straight hem with side vents) and for this iteration, I drew a gentle curve from my low-hip area on down to center on front and back pattern pieces.  The shape is really nice, and the fit is good through the torso.  I do think it’s just about 2 inches too long still, as worn by itself, it totally looks like a nightgown (waa waa waaaaaaa).  But it’s comfy, the back is snug, but not too tight, and I like to fabric–very soft.

So fabric choice–same pattern, 3 fabrics, very different results.  Also, I should note that these fabrics are literally whatever was on sale on Fabric.com when I decided to sew a bunch of knit stuff, because I figured I’d need a few tries before I got it down.  So cheap fabric.  And I’ll be shocked if any of these survive the whole winter.  But at an average of $3/yard, not a bad way to learn.

I’m also noticing that either I’m a cutting layout wizard, or the suggested layout/yardage on Seamwork patterns is very generous–it claims I’ll need 2.75 yards for each tunic, and I’m consistently using about 1.5 yards (less for the versions I shortened).

Anyhow, I have a couple pictures to share!

The tiny cardigan I made (Jalie Cocoon pattern) for my niece out of scraps from my Oslo cardigan:

Aforementioned “Teal knee length dress” and the Nightmare Before Christmas leggings:

Speaking of cocoon cardigans and fabric choices, I made myself a version of the Jalie Cocoon in some cheap black ponte I’d picked up from Joann’s for experimentation…let’s just say that while the pattern says it’s good for “firm knits”, this ponte was too firm.  The hem band stands up unfortunately stiffly, and the sleeves are almost too tight…definitely feels constricted.  And the main portion of the garment has a lot of body and not a lot of drape.  I’m not convinced it’s a complete loss, but I’m not happy with it (though I feel like a nice 2-way knit with no vertical stretch, but nice drape–that’s the ticket for this…maybe french terry?  that’d be cozy!).  Soooo many possibilities.  All fabric choice.

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