Category Archives: SilhouettePatterns

Sweater Knit

I purchased a sweater knit this year. First sweater knit I’ve purchased in a long time that pleased me upon arrival.  The majority of sweater knits available in the last few years have been tissue thin.  I  am pleased with this sweater knit which is opaque;  a real sweater knit but light weight. It is not the weight I’d wear to play in the snow. But it is perfect for our home (which we keep at 65 F).  It has a lovely fall print, which didn’t photo true to color , and consists of a poly/lycra fiber combination which gives a 50% horizontal stretch and 30% vertical.  A fact which I noted on the front of my envelope.

In years past, I’ve created separate slopers for each type of stretch. Alas, knits now come in multiple stretch amounts and my figure changes almost monthly. Making multiple slopers and keeping them current is a real challenge.  As seen above, I’m opting to note on the face of my envelope the type fabric and stretch along with the adjustments I think should be made so the fabric will create the fit I desire. The difference don’t seem that great, but it makes a big difference in achieving the fit I want and the changes are few/easily made.

The fabric curled as I cut the pieces out. So I serge finished all, I mean every one of the cut edges, before basting the front and back together for fitting. Excess armscye length was adjusted by making the shoulder seams deeper. I kept the additional ease and length in the body. I am not your classic “Sweater Girl”.  I like roomy sweaters.

There is at least 8″ ease at the hip.

Then I took out the basting. I’m still on the kick of creating front opening warm tops to wear when I take my infusions. I opted for a simple slit this time…

I used a facing to create the front slit. I thought about just binding but wasn’t sure it would bind neatly at the bottom of the slit.  For modesty, I added  my favorite closure, a coated hair band. The  print is largely fall colors with a significant amount of pink. For that reason I chose to a pink button.  I looked at the front happily and then realized I hadn’t given a thought to the back neckline. Was I going to bind the back neckline? Turn and stitch? Since I hadn’t done any testing (every fabric is different; aA successful finish one time can be a disaster with the next fabric), I opted to use a facing for the back as well. Carefully turned and top stitched, it is a beautiful neckline. That doesn’t quick hug my neck.  On the front (above), the neckline is off center and “air” can be seen in some places

From the side, the neckline seems to be hugging me very neatly.  I’m not sure if I stretched the neckline or if this is a problem which as developed and I need to sort it out.

I love the side view above. My front is free from drag lines as are the sleeve and back. However the back still looks like it is rising a little even with the 1″ length I added. This may take some thought and experimental sewing.

I am pleased with the straight on view of my sweater as well. The colors didn’t photo well. I suspect my lack of photography experience is at fault. This time I am happy with the fit of the sleeve although I might want it a little narrower at the hem.  I need the extra at the elbow and hem. Not sure how to alter the pattern because it would look  very different from the draft.

The back is sort of a surprise. There are drag lines on the right side at the high hip. I was trying to pull it down in back (even with 5+” of ease it want to rise) which maybe why it is smooth on one side and hiked on the other. Also in the full size pic

my right leg is extended behind out  and could be the cause. Still it bothers me that the back hem is not staying level but wants to creep up. Something else I probably need to do some experimental sewing with.

Honestly,I think this is a success and I’m looking forward to wear it at my next infusion.



Blue-Grey and Sparkles

Love this fabric. It is a blue-grey with blue and light blue flowers; and sparkles where there would be highlights. It is a polyester knit but I swear feels like 100% cotton. I gave a quick pressing then laid it out on my cutting table. Folding right-sides together (in half)  didn’t go so well.  It developed a mountain range along the folded edge. I believe in doing what the fabric wants. I have never been able to straight a grain permanently.  Oh I’ve stretched. Vigorously.  Set with a hot, steaming iron. First wash and my garment pulls off-grain. Out of shape. Can’t be fixed. I hate, truly hate making a one-wear garment. So I smoothed and skootched.  Slowly persuading the fabric to lie without any mountains, bulges or wrinkles. I was totally disgusted when I looked at the two ends:

They are off as much as 5 inches. I almost threw the fabric away at this point. I relented because I know I still need to tweak the fit of my new block. In particular I wanted to know how the armscye fit with the usual knit (20% stretch or less.)

Fortunately I had enough fabric , one of those “Lucky You!” buys wherein the vendor includes the rest of the bolt. I cut front and back and basted them together. First fitting told me that the armscye was indeed too long.  It happened when I add the 1/2″ shoulder length by rotating the pattern to the desired point and tracing that shape. Well good to know. I trimmed the shoulder height 1/2″ and continued to stitch.

I think I need to add another step when I use FOE as the neckline finish.

The neckline doesn’t quite hug my neck.  If I sew a self fabric band or binding, I baste into place. Check and stitch permanently or rip it out and give it another go.  Different fabric stretch differently. IMO the only way to tell for sure that the band/binding is the correct length is to give-it-a-go i.e. test using basting stitches. I think I need to do the same FOE. I’m not really happy with the depth of this neckline. It feels too high. Probably fine for a turtle neck or even a commercial T. I prefer something just a little different.  Not a correction I will make to either this garment or the pattern, but I need to annotate the tissue with enough info to be sure I use a lower neckline as desired.  Otherwise, I’m happy with the front view.

The sides tell me two things 1) My bust needs more room and 2) the back hem is definitely higher than the front.  I don’t think it looks any worse than the tops I was seeing people wear in Sioux Falls a few weeks ago.

I think  I still don’t have the armscye length correct.  It may be a matter of having permanently sewn at a different place from the basting because in my fitting pics the back looked fine.

What you probably don’t see is that I had to really stretch the bodice to fit the sleeve cap. Fortunately my serger has a differential feed which helped enormously but I believe that sleeve cap needs to be reduced. However I”m happy with the ease from elbow to wrist. Remember the previous sloper was too tight between elbow and wrist.

I used my cover stitch machine to finish the sleeves and hem.  My fellers are 1/4 and 3/8″ I use a 1.25″ hem. Which means even though I’ve finally discovered how to use a feller, I didn’t. On my ToDo list is “buy a 1″ feller”.

All in all, I like this top.  Hope it makes it through the laundry without reshaping from the grain shifting.



  • New FOE application that includes basting
  • Add small amount of ease at bust
  • Start adding neckline notes
  • Add 1″ length to center-back
  • Remove 1/2″ width from cap.
  • Buy 1″ feller


Refitting My Sloper

Once I decided it was going to take a lot of work to make the Fit Nice pattern into something I’d be proud to wear, I asked myself what really dissatisfied me about the  fit of my current sloper, Silhouette Patterns 195. Answer:  the shoulders are too narrow and the sleeve is too tight. Then I said to myself, “You know it would be easier to correct these 2 things than starting from scratch”.

So I pulled out my block with the armscye dart; copied front, back and long sleeve.I split the copied sleeve vertically down the grain line; separated the 2 halves 1/2″ and taped them back together. Sleeve ready for testing.

On back and front I made a tick mark 1/2″away from the existing armscye-shoulder point. Placed the corresponding piece back on top and rotated at the underarm, swinging the shoulder out to the 1/2″ tick mark.  I traced this new armscye and shoulder. I was a bit unsure about what I had just done because the shoulder was 1/2″ higher then it had been before.

I hunted in my stash for a fabric.  I wanted a knit, that didn’t need pattern matching and might possibly cover up minor errors. I found one! It is an abstract print on a poly lycra with 50% 4-way stretch.

I stitched in darts, basted shoulder and side seams and took my first try on. The fit was surprising. Oh not lots of drag lines, but the neckline which should land about my clavicle sank 4″ lower;  the underarms 2″.  Maybe that 50% stretch in action?

I basted in   incremental changes 3 times deepening the shoulder seams;  increasing the side seam allowance to 1″ at the underarm zeroing 6.5″ lower.  Took not more than  20 minutes to reach this point:

The underarm has moved up. Not tight in the arm pit but high where one would expect a sleeve. The front lies smooth and the neckline is where it should be. The back has issues below the waist. It is hanging-up on my left hip and creating horizontal folds. The right side has a drag line or two from the lower back to the upper hip.  Apparently the 4 way stretch still needs more ease to go over my seat.  If you’ll look back at the side view and hem, it is rising at the CB hem. Possibly more length is require but I’m going with a tad more ease the next time round.

For the next and final fitting I baste in the sleeves into the armscyes and then baste the entire side and underarm seam.  I use  1/4″ side seam allowances  from hem to about waist then increase it to 1/2″ down the underarm to the wrist hem. I also baste in a sleeve hem. I am pleased with this fitting (pics not shared). My only criticism is that the hem is not horizontal to the floor; clearly it is lifting at center back.  This isn’t something I can easily fix now. I take out the basting and trim the seam allowances even.  Then I finished everything. I feared that my seam trimming would create issues in the final garment because the fabric wiggled and squirmed away and my trimmed seam allowances weren’t neatly even.   I was eager to see the final



Not bad!  Not one of the previous drag lines remains! Although it looks fine in the pic, I feel like the sleeve is a little short. The back looks great in the pic, until I turn sideways:

…and then I see, Yep, the hem is not level.

Nonetheless I am tremendously pleased. I did 3 fittings, the last one was mostly a check of the previous 2 changes. I have trimmed the shoulder height back to the original without loosing the 1/2″ shoulder length  I wanted to add. Adding 1/2″ ease via sewing the side seams at 1/4″ fixed fixed the drag lines on both back and front. The one other thing I did was to take in the side seam allowance at the underarm.

I had planned to use this garment to tweak  the fit of my sloper/block but I feel like I can’t transfer all the changes to my new sloper pattern. My fabric stretched greatly.  I have transferred the underarm changes, and added 1/2″ ease on the back at the hip and 1″ length at center-back. The shoulders I am leaving along until I can check this draft with a new version in cotton or rayon i.e. something not this stretchy.

A Sweater Knit with Front Placket

Last year this was billed as a “woven sweater knit”.  I was curious as to whether it was the same technique I use on my home knitter or if the fashion industry was once again playing fast and loose with the lingo. I mean, it is hard to tell what you are buying if they don’t use correct terminology.  Anyway I bought 2 yards.  Not what I would consider a “sweater knit”. Not comfy, cushy, wooly thick.  Wouldn’t trust it to keep me warm in Iceland. It is more like a lighter blouse/top weight Ponte but the weave/the stitch is the same as I can produce at home.  A thread is carried along the face of the fabric and periodically looped by a knit stitch to hold it in place. The knit on the back is a  sewing-thread fine yarn. When I use knit-weaving on my home machine, the knitting becomes very firm. Stretch is definitely lost.  This fabric has a 45% stretch. Possibly not as much as expected of “sweater knits” but still a decent amount of give.

I used Silhouette Patterns 195 after adding ease to front and back sides and sleeve seams. Borrowed the easy-to-sew placket From Angela Wolf’s 1492 Linda Tunic pattern.  I was going to make the placket longer so that it would allow easy access to my port. Then decided to keep it the same length so I would have a better idea of how much to lengthen.

I planned and carefully cut the placket strips and  inserted  coated hair elastics in lieu of buttonholes.  Then I finished the neckline with a simple binding.  I do love this placket. Other than length of the strips, prep needs to be accurate. But then you just stitch on the line and clip where indicated.

I want you to know I carefully matched stripes at sides seams and back.  The back I pinned every other stripe. It shifted. The sides I pinned every stripe, they held in place under the needle. I need to write a big note on my envelope containing the back pattern piece.  It needs to say “DO NOT USE WITH LARGE PRINTS, STRIPES OR PLAIDS”.

I match back, front and sleeves at the underarm which nearly always results in a great match across the side-view.

What I’m really interested in on this side view is how the back hem is not straight across. It seems to be lifting just a bit. While the back feels perfectly comfortable, I’m thinking more and more that I need to increase my RBA.

Liverpool Knit

I heard rave reviews about “Liverpool Knit”. So last year when put its stock on sale, I bought several cuts. When they arrived I thought “pajamas.” I’m just not wild about this fabric. It is a synthetic knit with 35% stretch; has a crepe-like face and comes in beautiful prints.  I opted to use it now because I wanted to execute Peggy Sagers instructions for adding a funnel neck to the Sweater Set, 195.

Well things went terribly wrong. I ended up with a hole too small to put my head through. Obviously, I missed an important detail.  But I had neither additional fabric nor  the enthusiasm to try and fix this test garment. Instead I ripped out the basting and cut a scoop neck:

I was almost finished stitching  matching-pink  FOE around the neckline when I decided black would look better. Yep I ripped the pink out and added the black.  Really, I think it was the right decision.

I’ve made the T-shirt from 195 so many times that it is a breeze for me to sew.  Besides the failed funnel collar I noted too-late-to-correct that I haven’t added ease to this pattern. It’s needed after all the weight I gained the first 6 months of this year (and haven’t lost a single pound.) Two places are particularly bad, right at the hem which may also be due to the fact I glued the hem in place with Steam A Seam before cover stitching; and (2) the bicep, elbow and forearms are really close. I prewash all my fabric but still I’m thinking “if it shrinks a teensy, weensy bit, I won’t be able to wear this  a second time.” Shame really because it is a pretty print.

Oh!  Just thought of this:  I have 1/2″ seam allowances on the side and sleeve.  I could let them out to 1/4″ and gain 1/2″ on each sleeve and 1″ across the seat.!  {Slaps face. Walks off}

PJ Tops

As I was saying the jean-leggins were comfortable and discrete as we ran around in the hotel.  Once home the leggins:

were relegated to wear after evening showers and as they aged became wonderful PJ’s. Every year or so, they need  new coordinating tops. Oh I could wear any old T, but I prefer my sleep wear not looking like a rat’s nest. So I was switching around my closet this week  and realized I needed a new top for this winter.

I hunted through my stash looking for a blue approximately the color of the leggins–that’s the way I make coordinating pieces; I just don’t have that gene to make disparate color/pattern choices which result in a great outfit. Anyway, I found a soft, brushed knit with a big paisley print.

Lost the tag so I don’t know the fiber content. It stretches at least 50%

I knew immediately it was perfect. Not only was it soft and in-my-mind PJ-like but I’d never want to use the huge paisley for a street garment — I also lack the gene which helps place big prints in the right places on your body; I’m always putting a bullseye where it doesn’t look good.

I wasn’t thrilled with this project.  It was needed. Not something that I dreamed and considered for days before actually laying out and cutting fabric. So before even hunting for fabric, I had decided to use Silhouette Patterns 195 to make a T-shirt quickly.  SP195 is my GOTO for T-shirts and my fitting sloper for knits.  The only change I made was to shorten the sleeve by 2.5″ and replace that length with a close fitting cuff.

I dislike hanger shots. But it was either this or not post until next week.

I used FOE for the neckline finish. Curved the hem, serge finished and then turned under 1/4″.

I started cleaning up after finishing this winter PJ top (with long sleeves so that my arms stay warm if they happen to escape from beneath the covers).   As I looked at the left-over piece I realized I had enough for a short-sleeve T. There are a few weeks every year where I prefer the short-sleeve PJ top to the sleeveless or long sleeve. While I could have returned the remnant to the stash and sewn it later, I decided to just do it now.

Colors in this pic are more accurate.

Difference between the two T’s is length of sleeves and hemming.  I turned up a 1.25″ hem and finished at the cover stitch machine.

I now have PJ’s that will work for me 3 seasons of the year. Most wonderful is I finished in 3 hours. The jeggins were purchased-no work there. The T-shirts were cut using my fitted, knit sloper–required just a change of sleeve patterns (long and short).  Plus I’ve used this pattern to make knit tops many times. M-A-N-Y. As well as used it to evaluate the fit of any new knit pattern.

I love TNT’s


SP 575: Peach Bows

I love this pattern. Not sure why I don’t have more in my wardrobe.  Peggy once called this her “Camp Shirt”.  I think because the shouler is slightly dropped which flattens the sleeve cap and makes for easy sleeve insertion. Also has that easy shirt-tail hem.  Like a classic camp shirt, it has a yoke but this is not the standard yoke. It wraps under and around the armscye. Unlike most camp shirts, it has princess seams.  After fitting I found I had eliminated any shaping. So I joined the pieces and sew without the princess seams.

The pattern has a stand up collar which I used to base drafting the collar you see above.  I decided upon short-sleeves, the collar black buttons and black top stitching. IRL it has interest which 9433 did not.

I added 4″ to the short sleeve to make fold-up cuffs. Just another easy detail.  Easy was nice after the top stitching.  I used the triple stitch on my Dream Machine. Never had such an awful time. My testing came out puckered until I fused bias to the underside of the seam. Must do more testing in the future. Can’t believe that I bought a 10K machine which cant top stitch. Then again I’ve had the machine for 3 years and didn’t’ notice? Maybe top stitching is not that important to me.

My fabric is a cotton/poly/lycra.  Stretch is 10% and verifies all the claims I make about 10% stretch. Other than the top stitching, this sewed up just like a gorgeous 100% cotton. I don’t notice any stretch during wear. But it sure is nice when I need to reach or bend over. The fabric stretches and then recovers.

I am definitely a happy camper this time.