Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good reasons to swatch - Yet another Hotshot

I have a confession. I have never knitted a swatch. A swatch is a test square knitted BEFORE you start your real garment so you can ensure that your knitting (tension, yarn, needle selection) matches the pattern so your sizing turns out right. If I was knitting for myself I would definitely do a swatch. For children's wear I've never swatched, and never had a problem..until now. 

In some regards this looks ok, but the perfectionist in me says it should look better. But it still wearable and still has gone into K's wardrobe. I still love this pattern (the Hotshot by Julia Stansfield) and it has a number of options for the neckline. I gave K his pick, and he went with the collar. I think it is too loose at the neckline and doesn't seem to sit right but then when I look at the pattern examples it seems to be designed that way so perhaps swatching wouldn't make a difference and K also had narrow shoulders which makes it sit strangely.

This is the third time I've knitted this pattern, and I feel I still have more to come (it goes up to size 10 years)!

P1040222 (Medium) 

P1040221 (Medium)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Merino knit is not my friend - StyleArc Laura Cardigan

Now I absolutely understand why merino knit long cardigans are priced at $100+! There is a far bit of fabric!

The fabric is lovely, soft and gorgeous, and easy to sew but for a perfectionist like me it is awful to unpick.
I just hope that this cardigan doesn't develop a few holes around the stitching lines over time where I have unpicked and resewed.

I love the drape and feel of this cardigan and it was quite easy to sew. But for some reason I found a few parts tricky but I'm sure it will be better next time!

Here's the review, which can also be found on Sewing Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Laura Knit Shawl Collar Cardi



Pattern Sizing: I made the size 1. I am normally a size 12 but have narrow shoulders and this was the perfect sizing for me. The sleeves are long in length though and I wore them folded back.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, although at first I didn't realise that the wrong side of the hood and shawl would be showing and that there was a seam down the hood as this is not depicted in  the line drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, although I did email Style Arc to check my assumptions about the hood and shawl collar. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It is an easy sew with only three pieces. I did find sewing the collar to the back neck a bit tricky whereas it shouldn't be. Not sure why and it didn't end up being the neatest of sewing (but no-one should ever see!). When I was cutting I was a tad worried that I wouldn't have enough fabric but I've found with Style Arc they are pretty spot on with their fabric estimates. I could afford to take a couple of cms off the sleeve length but I prefer to wear it folded back so kept the sleeves long. I love the drape of the cardigan and it is light yet warm and easy to take travelling or to throw on at work. 

Fabric Used: Merino knit from the Fabric Store. Cost AUS $32.00 total.  I have sewn knit fabrics before but not merino knit so I found this to be a new experience. I'm a picky sewing so unpicked in a few places and had trouble with the fabric being so sensitive to unpicking. It is gorgeously soft fabric though. 


Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used a cross between a french seam and a felt felled seam for the hood back seam so I didn't have raw edges/overlocking showing on the outside of the hood.  I also used a three-thread rolled overlocked hem for the edges, including the sleeve hems. The sleeves are quite long and I could afford to trim them back a bit but I'm going to wear it as is and see how it goes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes I will sew again. At first I had my doubts but my co-worker loved it and I wore it alot on the weekend so I am now in love with it. It would look better though in a bright colour to splash up an outfit. 

Conclusion: A nice casual cardigan also great to throw on for a different look at work rather than a jacket or to carry in a bag 'in case'.  I feel like I need to add a nice soft knitted cowl though! I don't think I'm wearing the cardi as well as I can in the photos and I look a bit angry. I blame being late for work already and rushing to get a few photos so I could blog it....

PS I love my Elk bracelet.