A Summer Linden Sweatshirt!

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!

Grainline Studio Linden in O! Jolly! sweater knit | Ginger Makes

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.

Grainline Studio Linden in O! Jolly! knit | Ginger Makes

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! πŸ™‚ 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!

Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt in O! Jolly! knit | Ginger Makes

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!

Grainline Studio Linden in O! Jolly! knit | Ginger Makes

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!

65 responses

  1. This knit makes a fab linden. Drooling over some of the cabled sweater knits from O! Jolly! And thanks for sharing the neck band technique, that seems really quite brilliant!


  2. Swankiest Linden ever! That fabric is magic – I thought you had knitted the sweater for a sec until I read the title. So much quicker than knitting;) Plus the cost of the fabric prob isn’t any more than a sweater worth of decent wool.


  3. Oh man… this is a fantastic idea for someone like me who has sworn off knitting (only because I’m afraid I’d get obsessed) but loves chunkier sweaters! It’s tremendously cool that she offers matching ribbing, too.


  4. This fabric is WONDERFUL! And your Linden looks fantastic! I was hoping to find some awesome sweater knit for a fall/winter sweatshirt, and this exceeds my expectations. Seriously – I need to get my paws on some of this! I can’t believe this kind of thing is available to us “home” sewers and not just RTW!


    • I agree completely! There are some kinds of fabrics that are just harder for folks like us to come by, and this is definitely one of them! I’ll keep hunting for some of the other fabrics that are hard to find (beefy t-shirt knits, really nice denim) and hopefully we can dig up some of those things soon!


  5. Oh my! The Linden was born to be made with this knit. I’ve considered making up the Linden before – it’s practical, quite similar to my RTW stuff, I think I’d get a lot of wear out of it…but making a sweater has always felt a bit boring with the usual fabrics available for this kind of thing. This knit is out of this world *swoon*.


  6. I love the top and the fabric , it is a really different look to the linden pattern. I’m intrigued by the neck band technique you describe as I’ve suffered from the old standing up neck band before! I’ve just finished a sleeveless cotton shell top, and am preparing to try and sew a chambray summer dress ….got no good ethical fabric sources though, sad to say xx


  7. LOVE it! I’m so excited to see someone making something out of her fabrics. I’ve been dying to try her sweater knits, too, but I think I’m going to wait for the fall to splurge. I didn’t realize that she carried ribbing, too!


    • Fall will be the perfect time for sweater knits! I felt a little silly making this in the summer, but it’s been kind of weird weather and I’ve actually been able to wear this a few times!


  8. I just love it! And it looks fabulous on you! So glad you decided to do one more Linden. It’s a good combo.

    It finally occurred to me where I saw the rib measuring tip. It’s from Sewing with Knits by Connie Long. It’s a very good book on knits in general, with lots of tips applicable to sweater knits.

    So many lovely comments on the fabric — thank you all so very much! πŸ™‚


  9. As for sustainable fabrics, I just got some grown & made in USA organic cotton twill from Organic Cotton Plus. I’m upping the ante on my goal to source fabrics I can stand behind (and these knits are on my list). More about all of this soon!


  10. This is such a cool sweater! I had no idea you could buy knit fabric that looks like real hand knitting. My mind is blown. Thanks for all the great info, lady! You are rocking this Linden!


  11. Absolutely gorgeous! I love knitting but sewing with knit fabrics definitely has it’s place – soooooo much faster! This would look great in the Papercut patterns turtleneck pattern (slouchy version).


  12. Ooo, so glad you’ve made something with Olgalyn’s knits and wrote about your experience and her tips! Love her tip about gathering the neckline and steaming if it’s stretched out. I actually might try that on a sweater I knitted. I’ve been wanting to try an O! Jolly! knit for what feels like forever, so I will be referencing this post when I do. You look super cozy in this! Love it! You’re not hot though? πŸ™‚


    • I hope it works on your sweater! I find wool particularly responsive to steam, so I often re-block hand-knitted sweaters with steam if I’m not liking how they wear. And I took these photos on Sunday when it was rainy and cool, so no heat overload! πŸ˜€


  13. Just everything awesome! I’m glad you fixed the stretched out bits and that tip on measuring how much ribbing to cut is genius! Mentally making a note in case I ever come across a ribbing unicorn πŸ™‚


  14. Omg, so beautiful and chic! That fabric has such a stunning texture. You’ve paired it with a great pattern. Thanks for the info on the ribbing, sounds like quite an adventure (lol, euphemism), but what a great result. Well done!!


  15. Gorgeous jacket and gorgeous fabric! It is like the perfect knitted jumper without all those hours of knitting. I love it.


  16. Pingback: Nautical tank maxi dress – Burda Magazine #115 June 2009 | Sewrendipity

  17. This is sooo beautiful! I am really curious as to whether it meets the one year one outfit guidelines (fibre and labour all from your local area). I’m using a 300mile radius here, but the US girls would love to know if this fits the bill!!!


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