Category Archives: 195 Sweater Set

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


Burn-out Velvet

I’ve had this beautiful burn-out velvet for years. Years, I tell you.  I bought it after I first moved to Wyoming but the purchase was made in the Fort Collins, Colorado Hobby Lobby.  (Wyoming fabric sources dried up just before I got there and I was forced to shop elsewhere).  I can tell you it is a minimum of 13 years old. In the same time  period, I purchased another velvet in the same colorway.  I made that velvet into a kimono jacket which I still wear to this day even though there is much more padding on my hips and it positively cannot be tied over my middle. Kimono jackets are nothing if not forgiving of the changes in a woman’s life.

My burnout, however, sat on my shelves year after year because I couldn’t decide how to use it.  It was transparent and obviously needed a lining. It was too close in color way to the other fabric mentioned to make another 3rd layer. Top? Blouse? Certainly not pants. I don’t wear transparent pants which because of it is a burnout there are large areas through which my flesh will show. I loved it and refused to donate it. Finally I was a watching Peggy Sager’s  a “Let’s Sew” video and watched as she created an inner top attached to the outer top only at the neckline. Bingo! Sorry, I don’t have the link handy which wouldn’t be pertinent anyway because Peggy created 2 tops with the out-layer shorter than the inner thus the inner layer shows too.  I did just the opposite. So while Peggy’s top is interesting and dramatic, you hardly know that I’ve done something similar.

Continuing with my blouse, I decide that with only 30% stretch the burnout needed my regular i.e. not the slinky version of 195. I pulled that out and invested not more than 15 minutes converting it from french dart to armscye dart.  So glad I did this, but I think I may not have placed or maybe angled the dart correctly.

I chose to use an embroidered, very light-yellow,  transparent Tricot for the inner layer/lining. I cut only the front and back pieces without further changes.  Then, as always intended, I set up my Brother Serger ( the 1034 purchased because I needed a serger right now) for a 3-thread wide seam. This took longer than expected because I also needed to rearrange the table a little. Sigh, it will need a little more rearranging which will involve removing the machines completely.  Eager to work on my new top, I did the best I could with the arrangement of machines.  Oh what a good choice. I serged every seam, including the bust dart and  hem, on this inner layer/lining in about 15 minutes. WOW…. and it’s beautiful.  The seams rolled because I increased the looper tensions. I didn’t increase the needle (I’m using the left needle for a wide seam) tension because during testing it caused the seam to gather. (Note Remember to increase needle tension for future gathering projects.) After set up, which in the future is reduced to changing thread and maybe the needle, this is absolutely the fastest, most elegant rolled hem I’ve ever created and the nicest lining ever .

Know you can’t see too well because this is something I’m not going to model (in my generation we thought showing it all was a bad idea) and I”m showing the back. Front looks much the same.   I truly wish I’d invested $200 in that little beast (the 1034 Brother serger) long ago.  In one project he proved himself well worth the time and expense.

So onto the upper layer. After remaining inner garment fabric was trimmed of strings, folded, labeled and placed back in the stash, I smoothed out the burn out fabric and cut the 3 major pieces. I used my normal sewing order but skipped finishing the neck. When the shell/outer layer, was complete, I put shell and lining right sides together at the neck and serged.  I understitched, some times I want a little insurance that the inside will stay inside. Then I top stitched 1/4″ away from the turned neck edge. The armscye of the lining is tacked to the armscye of the shell in about 4 places. Just enough to keep it in place as I slip my arms in and out.

Unfortunately, I stretched the neck during construction which I didn’t notice until the first try on.  I used my normal cheat, elastic. This time I used a long length of shirring elastic. Doubled with the fold threaded through the eye. The tails are then pulled through the loop coming out of the eye and that makes a secure join that won’t come out of the needle. I ran the elastic in the channel between top stitching and neck edge and tied it in the back.  I was going to adjust at the next try-on, but it was fine.

So I put a drop of Frey-check on the knot and trimmed the ends.  Done.