Last week at the fabric store I found a lightweight knit on clearance, and knew I wanted to make a lightweight summer sweater with it. I was picturing something loose and simple, but after a quick search to get some ideas I fell in love with the style of this casual sweater at Anthropologie.
I took the basic pattern, shortened the sleeves, and added elastic bands. On the bottom hem, I left enough room for a drawstring, threaded a 1-inch strip of the fabric through, and tied a knot on the side.
They were simple alterations, and the sweater turned out very similar to the inspiration piece.
There are many good sources of information about sewing with stretch knit fabric, but I learned a couple of things that really helped in this project.
1) Double needles – I haven’t used them before, and I really don’t know why. It makes such a difference, giving the garment a professional finish. I’ve had some in my supply box for months, but never took the time to use them. Many people just use a straight stitch and go around two times. The front looks the same, but twin needle stitches stretch because the bobbin tread is a zigzag stitch. Two rows of straight stitching have no give and will easily break if stretched.
2) Press the seams – I normally press my seams, but it seems even more important with knit fabric. Even if the fabric seems to stretch out of place when you stitch it, it will often look fine after being gently pressed.
I like to try at least one new thing every time I sew. I love the creative process of learning as I go. Sometimes I fail, and other times I learn valuable skills. Twin needles have a permanent spot in my supply box now, and I have plans for more stretch knit clothes in the future.