After the relative success of my raindrop-print Bettine, I was excited to cut another. I picked up this remnant of striped jersey from Sew Over It a few weeks ago. I thought £7.50 was very reasonable for two metres, and when I was looking for more information online, I discovered that it’s still available for £13/m. I love a bargain. I’ve never worked with a knit fabric before, and getting this fabric so cheaply helped me to push myself.
I made a few further changes to the pattern
- Reduced neckline by 1cm on each side to prevent gaping (tutorial here)
- Reduced length of bodice by one inch
- Curved front skirt waistline to match back
- Removed 4cm (2cm each side) from neckband. In future, remove 5 or 6cm
- Stabilised areas with wonder tape before twin needle stitching to reduce tunnelling
- Finished pocket edgings with the same technique as the neckline. Used 23cm strip of fabric
- Single layer pockets
- Reduced curve in the hip by 1.5cm
Tilly provides some very handy tips for making a jersey Bettine, including the dimensions for the neckband.
Cutting the jersey was more difficult than cutting a woven fabric. I’d already invested in a rotary cutter, mat and pattern weights (partly because I find cutting with scissors super annoying). I must add that I made the job more difficult for myself by using stripes, which I tried my utmost to keep horizontal.
For the sewing, I also purchased some ballpoint needles and made use of my walking foot for the first time on my new machine. I just bought a cheap generic one as part of a set of feet.
The first step was constructing the neckline, which was a real baptism of fire. I wasn’t sure I would be able to manage the stretch fabric without pulling the neck out of shape. I carefully pinned the fabric first, using ballpoint pins.
Heartbreakingly, I had to unpick my first attempt as the neckband was too long. I wasn’t surprised as I had adjusted the bodice neckline to reduce gape, but it was still annoying. I also hadn’t really understood the instruction to baste in place first, meaning I used a stretch stitch, which was a pain to remove.
Here is the finished neckline.
I’m really thrilled with it! Loads of firsts here- first stretch, first neckband, first use of a twin needle. I probably could have reduced the neckband by another centimetre or two, but I think this is good enough.
I even used the same technique to finish the pocket edges. I thought it might be cute to carry the design element from the neck. Lots of people seem to think the pockets as written aren’t a great idea in jersey, so I created single layer pockets. I stitched the pocket bags onto the skirt front using my twin needle, again trying to keep the details consistent in this garment. It felt a little strange to go my own way with no instructions to follow, but it seemed to work.
So far I’m cautiously optimistic about this project. I’ve found myself taking a lot of time to get things right- I pulled those pocket edgings out so many times to try and get them to lie flat! However I haven’t begrudged the time. I’m just hoping it’s going to pay off in the form of a lovely dress.
Pattern: Bettine by Tilly and the Buttons
Fabric: 2m (140cm wide) cotton jersey from Sew Over It
I bought this cool patterned shirt in a vintage shop in St Albans a while ago. I initially planned to wear it oversized, but that’s not really my style so it’s only been out of the wardrobe a few times.
Not ideal that the only pic I have of this shirt is Anna’s Instagram photo of my semi-ironic hipster posing, but that reveals how seldom I have worn this garment despite falling in love with the pattern.
I decided to try putting my new shirt-making skills into effect by transforming this oversized shirt into a fitted shirt.
Since the shirt is fastened by studs, I was a little limited on what I could do without way more effort than I was prepared to expend. This meant no attempts at pattern matching. The pattern is very odd and the diamonds seem to be in a fairly random pattern, so matching would have been difficult anyway (I tell myself).
I vaguely hoped I could just modify the shirt by running some new lines of stitching down the side seams and sleeves, but that would have resulted in something very amateur looking. This meant I had to cut out new back, fronts and sleeves from the existing fabric.
I was lucky in that the collar and cuffs are pretty close to the size in the Ultimate Shirt, which cut out a hell of a lot of labour. Weird to think that these little details are what makes creating a shirt such a challenge.
So far I am very happy with the result I have achieved. This modification took me around six hours, and helped to solidify my understanding of how to make a shirt. I feel confident that the Ultimate Shirt would work and look cute in a heavier fabric.
Once I finish the hem, I will see how often I wear this shirt. Though I like the fit, I think that the oddness of the diamond pattern is more obvious now that the shirt is smaller. Might not be as much of an issue if I wear this tucked into a high-waisted skirt. Dyeing could also be an option. I’m going to take this shirt to class tomorrow as I would consider making a smaller size in future.
I have a feeling I will still wear it as long-sleeved work shirts that don’t gape at the bust are a massive hole in my wardrobe. Now I need to tackle the SOI Pencil Skirt pattern…
Pattern: Ultimate Shirt by Sew Over It (size 14 grading down to 12 at the waist)
Fabric: Salvaged from an oversized vintage Wrangler shirt
I fell in love with the knitting pattern for this cute top in the summer and excitedly bought yarn. Here’s how it should turn out.
Photo from Ravelry.
Unfortunately, the colour of the yarn was a real let-down compared to the pictures on the website and the company does not offer returns. Boo.
After a few months of sulking, I decided to cast on with the caveat that I will overdye the top if I still don’t like the colour when I am finished. The top is knitted in pieces and this is my progress on the back.
I cast on the extra stitches for the sleeves on Monday so I think I’m getting there with the back of the top. I need to do some careful measuring once I finish. My gauge is off and I couldn’t be bothered to knit a second swatch so I’m knitting in between sizes. I think I want a bit less positive ease than stated in the pattern. But I also don’t want the top to be too tight. Knitting involves so much maths!
Yarn: Kettle Yarn Co Westminster in Mermaid
Rolling Rock now has sleeves! The pattern recommends blocking before picking up the collar so here she is.
I changed towels and flipped the jumper because the pink one was too wet and the table underneath was damp, which would have added several hours of drying time before I could start that collar.
I also spent about 2 hours on eBay picking out buttons. I hope the ones I eventually chose are going to look good…
I’ve been itching to knit a sweater for a few weeks now. I didn’t have a pattern or yarn on mind, but it had to be a jumper and it had to be altered so it would fit me beautifully. I spent a couple of weeks researching. First I found Rolling Rock, a beautiful jumper pattern from a company called Baby Cocktails. I think it’s named after a brand of beer because the beautiful pattern on the back is called bottle lace. I also like to think of the rolling rock that gathers no moss.
The search then began for a yarn that wouldn’t bobble after a few weeks of wear, and in the end I decided to try this gorgeous silk and alpaca mix hand-dyed in Scotland by Old Maiden Aunt Yarns.
Warning for non-knitters: Below the photos will be some semi-technical knitting exposition. Also WIP = Work in Progress.
I added a few mods to account for my non-traditional figure. I cast on in the size that was closest to my upper bust measurement, because I’ve read that this gives the best fit in the shoulders. I then knit different sizes in the front and back to accommodate my bust. I added four vertical darts just under the bust so the jumper would fit closely, then finished knitting in the size closest to my under-bust measurement. Yay knitting maths! One of the best things about top down patterns is that I could try on my jumper throughout the process and make adjustments.
Something else I learned about for this jumper is ease. Seasoned knitters will already know all about this, but ease basically means how closely the clothing will fit. Negative ease gives a tight garment while positive ease will give a loose-fitting or baggy product. I’ve had problems in the past because I didn’t understand this concept. I aimed for about 2 inches of positive ease with this jumper, which is a bit less than recommended in the pattern, but I know my figure and baggy clothing emphasises the fact that I am a bit top-heavy. I’m very pleased with how the waist shaping turned out too. I just started the bottom ribbing today. The sleeves will likely be a bit tiresome but I have to pick up and knit the Henley collar, which will be a bit scary but just the right level of challenge.
I can’t wait to finish this baby!