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Made by a Fabricista: Two Cardigans and Five "Aha" Moments.


Happy to be here again! Every couple of months, when it is time to plan for my next post, I think of challenging myself. Being on this blog allows me to try new things while feeling the pressure to get good results or learn from my failures! This time, I chose a project that needed some stripe-matching skills. Before jumping into that project, I made a sample with a flowery knit. Let me share my "aha!" moments with you. 

Aha moment #1: I am learning to appreciate patterns! I used to feel that the process (having to study the project, trace the pattern on paper, cut the paper and fabric) delayed my favorite moment: sitting on the machine and sewing! So, I preferred to freestyle, improvise, or copy existing garments. I still love that, but now I know that if I enjoy the process and like the result with a pattern, I will be able to reproduce it, which is reassuring! This time, I chose the Hélène Shawl Collar Cardigan. It has a smart way of creating pockets, and it is a straightforward piece to sew. 

Aha moment #2: I have finally found my favorite type of fabric! I own a couple of store-bought shirts made of a buttery soft, stretchy, and thin knit fabric, but I didn't know that fabric's name. It turns out it is called double brushed knit! So for my "practice" cardigan, I have chosen a flowery double brushed knit. It is light and stretchy, and with its navy background, the colors pop up just to my liking. I used a Serger for all the construction stitches and a double-needle on the domestic machine for hems and finishes. I wasn't planning on making pattern modifications; that's something I need to learn about. But next time, I will try to shorten the top piece and get the pockets a little higher. 

Aha moment #3: I use parchment paper to trace my patterns whenever size allows it. Parchment is more resistant than tissue paper, and if it gets wrinkled, I can quickly press it. This time, I have found one more advantage: I have used the lines on the parchment paper as references to cut the stripe fabric at the exact place and make sure I was cutting along the straight grain. 


Aha moment #4: there are a thousand ways to match stripes! I loved this striped Ponte Knit, with bright horizontal lines. After researching multiple blogs and videos, I ended up combining different techniques. First, I scratched my head for an hour to ensure I would have enough material for the whole project. Stripes require exact placement of the pattern pieces, so I ended up using ½ yard more of this fabric than the flowery one. Then, to cut the fabric, I used the parchment paper lines and drew some of the fabric lines on my pattern to make sure I was precise. I left cutting the sleeves for last – when the bodice was assembled - to be certain they would match the shoulders. Also, to avoid any shifting on the fabric, I lined every side of every piece with knit stay tape.

I probably went overboard with that, but better safe than sorry! I would say 90% of my stitches match, I know there is room for improvement, but I didn't have the heart to unstitch! Please, be kind and share your tricks in the comments, as this will not be my last striped project. 


Aha moment #5: this one is more like a "note to self." I will start keeping a swatch of each fabric with its website description (composition, stretch, etc.). Since fabrics sell out quickly, having this information will come in handy to purchase similar materials again. It is something I should have done a while ago!

I know I am not precisely inventing sliced bread here, but sewing is a continuous learning journey, isn't it? So what was your latest "Aha!" moment? Please share! And thank you for reading!


INES  @bynunis


Unfortunately Fabric Mart Fabrics sell out quickly!
You can find similar fabrics by shopping the following categories: DOUBLE BRUSHED KNITS & PONTE KNITS.
You can also shop our collection of Jalie patterns HERE.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing. I loved the stay tape tip! One thing I would say is that I LOVE using Swedish tracing paper for patterns. It is sort of like half fabric/half paper and comes in long and wide rolls. You can even baste it to try things on first. It comes in a version with grids printed on it (this as a Pellon product). This has really changed my sewing life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip!!! I will try out that swedish paper, I didn't know it existed!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the tip!!! I will try out that swedish paper, I didn't know it existed!

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the tip!!! I will try out that swedish paper, I didn't know it existed!

      Delete
  2. Your article and finished garment are both very impressive! Inspiring, too! Great tips! Can’t wait to use them on my next striped project. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Both your cardigans are beautiful and the fit is super. My favorite is the striped one because the stripes are so wonderfully matched. The extra effort and time was well spent.

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  4. I think both of your sweaters look lovely. Your work looks great. I am struggling to hem with a double needle on knits. No matter what I do I have to rip it out and resort to a zigzag stitch. Bravo!

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  5. You did a great job! That stripe matching is so, so good. I really liked your idea of keeping swatches. Sometimes it's confusing to know what a fabric is if you haven't worked with it before.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your pattern matching is excellent!
    That said, my biggest tip is to remember that good enough is okay too. Because finished is better than waiting for perfection. Besides, have you seen ready to wear? ;-D

    ReplyDelete

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