Hi, guys! Hope your weeks are going well! I’m back again after my interview with O! Jolly! to show you the sweatshirt I made with her locally-produced sweater knits! Check it out!
Olgalyn asked me if I would like some yardage from her new collection to review, and of course I said yes! I’d already been planning to save up for some, and after sewing with this, I’m saving my pennies for some of the color-grown cotton!
I chose the New Hudson knit, a natural white jersey (in other words, it’s unbleached and undyed) in 100% cotton. She also sent me the Magical Unicorn of the sewing world, MATCHING RIBBING! I’ve made so many cut and sew sweaters before (I think this is my 7th raglan in the last year?! They weren’t all for me, though!), but I’ve never had matching ribbing- I’ve always had to cut the cuffs and bands out of self-fabric. So this was a fun and new experience!
Fun fact: I totally screwed up my ribbing application and nearly ruined the entire sweater. See, here’s the thing- the ribbing is very stretchy, so when I cut the bands using the pattern pieces, they were too long, and the sweater neckline (and waist… and sleeves) stretched out terribly. Also, I’d forgotten to change the differential feed on my serger to the knits settings, so that also made the seams wavy and stretched. Yuck! The sweater looked like it had escaped from Flash Dance! Yikes! I was so stressed out thinking about fixing it that I set the project aside for a couple of weeks until I had calmed down completely.
Olgalyn suggested using a gathering stitch to bring the neckline back to its proper size, and then steaming to set it. This worked really well! I carefully unpicked the neckband and measured the pattern pieces to make sure I would return it back to the right circumference, then I gathered and steamed away. I just cut off the cuffs and hem bands and reapplied them… I wasn’t concerned about losing that tiny bit of length.
The Easiest and Smartest Way to Apply Neckbands/Hem Bands/Cuffs:
You know how sometimes your neckbands are too long and stand away from your neck, or they’re too short and they pull? I know some people set them in flat, just stretching them the amount that feels right, but that’s just not my cup of tea. Olgalyn told me a new and mind-blowing way to make sure that they sit correctly. You measure the neck (or hem/sleeve) opening, then stretch your ribbing until it reaches that length. Then you add the seam allowance to the stretched length and cut that as your band. So, say your neck opening is 25″. Let’s say 18″ of your ribbing fabric stretches comfortably to 25″. You add your 1/4″ seam allowance to the 18″, and you cut a piece that’s 18.5″ long. Then you just sew the neckband seam, steam it back into shape, and sew it onto your neckline. This is SO much easier than any other method I’ve ever tried! Thanks, Olgalyn! She told me she read about this technique on another blog, but couldn’t remember where, so thank you to whomever originally posted this! :) EDIT: this tip came from Sewing with Knits by Connie Long. Olgalyn highly recommends it! I haven’t read it, but if it’s as thorough as her book, Easy Guide to Sewing Linings, it’s probably great!
OK, let’s talk about handling the fabric. I washed and dried it at the laundromat before I sewed anything… I felt a little naughty doing this, but Olgalyn said it was OK and it seemed smart to make sure any shrinkage happened before sewing. It was good as new when I pulled it out of the dryer! The cut edges do want to fray a bit, unlike your standard jerseys, so you’ll need to finish the edges. I serged mine, but I’m sure a zigzag would work, too. One thing to keep in mind is that this is 100% cotton, so the stretch is mechanical (comes from how it’s knitted) rather than from added spandex content or something like that. So a relaxed sweater works great, but probably not a bodycon dress.
I really love this fabric and I’m so glad that it’s such a nice alternative to traditionally-produced fabrics. Like I mentioned in Olgalyn’s interview, the knits are made with organic, GMO-free cotton that’s grown, ginned, spun, and knitted in the U.S., and they’re made without dyes or bleach. So the knits aren’t cheap. But when compared to the cost and time required to knit a similar sweater by hand, it’s worth it to splurge from time to time. Also, the thought of hand knitting a sweater in cotton yarn this fine makes me shudder… this is the kind of garment I would want to wear, but not knit myself!
Oh, the pattern is the Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt, which I’ve made four times previously, so I won’t remark on it too much. I think it’s time to put aside this pattern and my beloved Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood… I’ve got plenty of raglan sweatshirts on hand, which is good because they’re my favorite thing to wear in cool weather!
What have you guys been working on lately? And does anyone have any sources for better-for-the-earth textiles? I’d love to hear, if you do!