Rosemary ribbed twin set

Last week I made a Pattern Emporium Grab a Cuppa Cardi out of rosemary Cayambe rib knit from Surge Fabrics (95%Poly/5%Spandex, 240 gsm, 75% horizontal/25% vertical stretch). This is an oversized pattern and I didn’t want it to swallow me, so I sized down from an AU 8/10 based on my measurements to an AU 4. I’m glad I did as it is still is quite ample width, but now the sleeves fit pretty well. I used the hip-length pattern. I don’t like the feel of collars creeping up my neck, so I lowered and widened the back neck by about an inch and adjusted the front bodice so the shoulder width matched the lower back neck.

The cardi went together pretty quickly using my serger and the neck adjustment worked well. The pattern includes some good tips, including pointers on adjusting the differential feed and great advice on how to gather the sleeves and attach the cuffs. I accidentally serged the bottom band on backwards (seam on the outside of the sweater… oops), so I ended up just cutting it off and resewing, but I lost about 3/4-inch of length in the process. I could have cut a new band out and lost only 1/4-inch, but I was feeling lazy and decided I was happy with the shorter length for this cardi. I struggled a bit with the bottom of the front band and it isn’t quite as even as I would have liked, despite following instructions to baste, etc. I think the stretchy ribs made this harder.

Since I had more of the Cayambe left, I decided to make a short-sleeved sweater and create a twin set. I used the Sinclair cachet relaxed tshirt pattern, with some modifications. Before cutting the fabric I tried on a Cachet I made previously with my new cardi and noticed the back hem of Cachet hung down considerably lower than the back of the cardi. So I adjusted the back bodice of the Cachet so that it was similar to the bottom of the front bodice and did not dip down so low. It is now uniformly a bit longer than the cardi, rather than just in back. I also wanted more of a scoop neck so I borrowed my screwp neck modification for the Sinclair Bondi pattern.

The Cayambe fabric is kind of a light-weight sweater knit, good for a spring/summer sweater. (Not really appropriate for winter weather, but it warmed up enough today that I ran outside for a quick photo shoot. I’m laughing in the photo because my photographer is making fun of me for standing outside in Pittsburgh in February in short sleeves without a coat.) The Cayambe has a bit of a sheen on the right side of the fabric and nice ribs. The web site suggests not putting it in the dryer, I’m assuming to avoid it catching on other garments as opposed to a danger of shrinkage. I did put the fabric in the dryer when I initially washed it without any problem. The rosemary color is similar to sage, kind of herby. It could be called sage too I guess.

Overall I’m reasonably happy with how this came out and I’m looking forward to wearing this set in warmer weather. I don’t love the Cayambe as much as I thought I would — it is soft but also kind of looks and feels like polyester (which it is) and isn’t as soft as I thought it might be. I like the Grab A Cuppa cardi pattern and think it will be nice with wide pants, but even sizing down 3 sizes it still looks slouchy and I think I generally prefer a more fitted look for tops.

I just bought some custom woven clothing tags from wunderlabel.com so I sewed them into these garments as a finishing touch.

Walking Boldly

I’m loving the wide leg pant trend, so when I found the Walk Boldly Wide Leg Pants Pattern from Pattern Emporium, and saw that it was designed for knits, had no zipper, and a high-waist option with darts, I knew I had to give it a try. This is my first time using a PE pattern, and it was a great experience. The pattern was well illustrated and included a number of useful tips, including a good tip on sewing darts.

I used a premium black 12 oz rayon/nylon ponte fabric from KnitFabric.com. The ponte has about 30% stretch across the width. Although the website said it only had 2-way stretch, I think it has about 20% stretch in the length as well. It is a hefty fabric with a nicer drape than the other ponte fabrics in my stash. It is sold out in most colors now, but I may grab more in whatever color they have left (mustard perhaps?).

The pattern comes with two waist heights and multiple pocket options. I made the high-waist version, which hits right above my navel. I made the jeans-style front pockets and added an extra two inches to their length to make sure my phone would fit comfortably when I’m seated. I also made the back patch pockets, because I can always use more pockets and I think they’re cute. The pattern uses AU sizing, I normally would select a 4P or 6P for pants, but the size chart said I should go with a 10. The pattern doesn’t come in petite or tall sizes, but it does offer short, regular, and tall pants lengths (which means the only thing that adjusts is the length of the leg, but I often prefer the fit of short pants rather than petite pants so this works for me). I cut out the size 10 in the short length, which is meant for those who are 5’3″ tall. I’m closer to 5’2″ and the pants would have been about 1 inch too long (which makes sense) if I used the recommended 3/4-inch hem. So I did a chunky 1 3/4-inch hem instead. The size 10 fit perfectly, as you can see in the photos below (modeled with a bishop-sleeved Bondi from Sinclair Patterns).

I’m very happy with these pants. I’ve seen similar pants from major retailers this season, only most of them don’t have the back darts or the back pockets, which take these pants up a level. These are stylish, practical, and so comfortable to wear! I did have to add seams to the sides of the waistband to prevent the elastic from rolling.

My young adult daughter told me she loved the high waist and said I should tuck my shirt in to make my (short) legs look longer. She also recommended I try the Walk Boldly pants in a bolder fabric. So I selected a polyester/spandex “haute pink and umber plaid yarn dyed jacquard knit” from my stash (purchased from Surge) for bolder Walk Boldly pants. These are indeed a much bolder statement (although the haute pink is tastefully muted). Even one of my male co-workers yelled out “nice plaid pants” as I walked by his office.

Every time I use plaid fabric I get a frustrated because I want my plaid to match perfectly and it never quite does. Knit plaid fabric is particularly difficult to match because if it stretches just a little bit when you cut it or sew it, the plaid won’t match. There are some spots on these pants with fabulous matching that I am very proud of. The back pockets cannot geometrically have a perfect match due to the darts, and yet they match about as well as they could. The outside seam of the right leg is magnificent! The other seams are not as closely matched, and the matching in the front crotch area is particularly disappointing. But I’m not going to let that stop me from walking boldly and without worry (More on plaid coming soon!) Now I’m looking forward to making more of these pants (but probably not in plaid) in a lighter weight fabric for spring and summer.

The pink plaid pants look great with a black top, but I happen to have some cuddly versailles brushed hacci sweater knit (also from Surge) in my stash in something that seems pretty close to me to umber (officially the color is “sienna”), so I decided to make a trendy cropped sweater to match. This hacci is brushed on the inside so it is super soft against your skin. I decided to try the Sweet Cheeks Sweater pattern from Pattern Emporium, which has dropped, full sleeves that are gathered and cuffed at the bottom. It comes with several neckline and length options (including an ultra crop), and a super cute split banded bottom. The size chart suggested I should cut a size 8, but also suggested sizing down for less of a closer fit. So I sized down two sizes and cut a size 4 in the cropped length with the mid neck. This was another great PE pattern. I especially like the tips for gathering the sleeve and attaching the cuff. I will probably make more of these sweaters too in other fabrics with exactly this configuration, but may also try a longer length and the V-neck.