Some garments start with a pattern, some with a flash of inspiration and some with the fabric. This garment falls squarely in the latter category. A few months ago, the lovely folks at The Fabric Store asked if I’d like to do a partnership with them. I love their LA shop, so I of course jumped at the chance. Every month I get to go explore their current stock and take home a few fabrics to play with. They are so generous and I’ve really enjoyed visiting their shop and sewing with their fabric. The store is a beautiful little boutique full of the finest fabrics, making for a calm, lovely, stress-free experience. (We can all use more of that, right?) The staff are so kind and helpful. I could spend all day there just chatting about fabrics and sewing patterns.
I picked up this red striped sweater knit during my October visit to the shop. It’s nice and thick, perfect for keeping the chill away. Most of the year I have no need for thick sweaters but as soon as it dips below 70 degrees, I'm so glad that I have a few stowed away. I’m pretty sure the fiber is all cotton. (I unfortunately have a wool allergy so I can’t comfortably partake in the gorgeous merino wools from the Fabric Store. But they have lots of wool free fabrics too.) If you're not lucky enough to live nearby one of their stores, you can still find lots of their fabrics in the online shop.
As I left the store with this fabric, I imagined a sweater with a high neck and set-in sleeves (a raglan would be too troublesome with the stripes :). As luck would have it, I discovered the Toaster Sweater pattern by Sew House 7 within a day of finding the fabric. Of course, I snatched it up right away. I made two other Sew House 7 patterns this fall, and they were all a joy to sew. (See my Tea House Dress and Nehelam Pants posts for reviews.) The Toaster Sweater has two variations. Version 1 has raglans sleeves and a hem band. I made Version 2, which has set in sleeves and a split hem. You can buy both versions together or buy them separately.
I made a size Large. My 38” bust fits right in the middle of this size so the only adjustments I made were to the length. The pattern conveniently has lines for where you should lengthen and shorten, very helpful for all the #sewingtall ladies. When I cut out the paper pattern, the sleeves looked really, really long to me. Even though I’m tall, I think my arms are a more “average” length. I measured a RTW sweater that I like a lot and decided to shorten the sleeves by 1 3/4”. I also lengthened the body by 2”. By the way, measuring a similar garment you like the fit of is a great way to decide on your desired finished measurements. I think the length came out perfectly for me this time.
The fabric was really easy to handle and had little to no fraying. I used a combination of serger and the stretch stitch on my regular machine to sew it together. To stitch the hems, I used a twin needle with wooly nylon thread in the bobbin. See my tutorial for how to do this here.
The pattern is designed with built in facings at the neck and hem. The neck facing curls up a little bit and I've been meaning to tack it down with an invisible stitch. But it doesn't both me much when I'm wearing it. I love the mitered corners at the split hem. I also love that the stripes on the wrong side are a blue-purple color.
A few quick tips for matching up your stripes:
- Baste the seams where you want to match stripes. (For this garment, I really wanted the side seams to have matching stripes especially because the side vent shows off that area. Unpicking a stretch stitch is really hard to do.)
- When pinning, place a pin in every stripe.
- Use a walking foot to help the fabric move evenly under the needle.
This sweater was really easy to sew and is really comfy and warm. I feel like maybe this size is a little too big for me and was thinking if I make it again, I might take it in at the shoulders about .5 inch. But, when I look at the model photos, the shoulder seam does go a tad off the shoulders. I was worried about the short funnel neck feeling weird while wearing it but it hasn’t bothered me.
I started making this sweater a couple of months ago but I just realized today that it is the perfect Christmas sweater. I have some leftover fabric and if I made a skirt, it would really complete the whole candy cane vibe. I highly recommend both this pattern and the fabric. They were really easy and a joy to work with.