Sunday, 27 November 2016

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, Pin-Up Sweater

It's been a busy month so far and it's been a struggle to sit down at my machine and get anything finished!
For my next make I decided to make something fairly simple for a quick win and confidence booster.

The journey of my Gertie Sews Vintage Casual Sweater started at the Sew Up North event in Leeds at the beginning of the month. Myself and a group of other stitchers from up North spent the day talking stitch perusing Leeds' fabric shops as well as raising money for charity, eating cake and swapping unwanted patterns and fabric. This ribbed white and navy jersey was from the fantastic B&M stall in Leeds Market... And I wasn't the only one pawing over it!! I opted for 1 metre, with it in mind I was going to make something tight and fitted.

The Sweater is just a front piece, back piece, sleeves and neck band. Pattern matching is essential!! I'm getting sick of telling you all- but I'll tell you again, I don't trust cutting on the fold when matching patterns so I cut the lot out on a single layer and flip over to get a perfectly symmetrical piece. Basically I am ensuring here that all the horizontal lines are at a right angle to the grainline, and therefore will not be going diagonally across my body.

I cut a size 10 but added a little extra in at the waist after consulting the size chart (note to future me- didn't really need to, especially when my jersey is quite so stretchy). The front and back pieces appear to be exactly the same apart from the neckline on the front is lower. I made sure that the front and back pieces were cut at the same point on the fabric design (as in, stripe placement) to everything would match up nicely. To do this I marked the navy lines of my front piece onto my paper pattern pieces and lined up with the lines when cutting the back.

Step one of sewing is to match up at the shoulders. Where the lines match from front and back makes these cute little Vs. Check out my symmetry! Before putting in the side seams you insert the sleeves. This saves and fiddly sleeve setting in. you just have to match at side seams, then pin the curves to fit. I tried like hell to match the navy lines across my chest and over the top of my sleeve! It's hard! As you're working from the inside when pinning its difficult to see exactly what will match with what when you put your actual stitch line in.

After inserting the sleeves, I tried to try on- which isn't easy or super insightful when you don't have any side seams yet. I pinned the sides and decided that I would make the seam allowance 2cm instead of 1.5cm.

Top make sure stripes matched at the side seams I pinned ALONG the navy lines through front and back to make sure they were all in line. I then used my sewing machine (not overlocker) to effectively tack down the sides being super careful to make sure the lines all matched up at the side of the fabric. Only when I was happy nothing was skew-wiff did I overlock these seams.

So I might have mentioned stripes a few times in this post, and how important it is to treat them with care so they don't look shit. This is true also for the neckline! Possibly even more so as realistically, more people are going to notice a wonky neck-hole then a dodgy underarm seam.
The neck band it is about 5cm wide, this is pretty easy for cutting when you have nice straight lines to follow!
The neckband needs to be a little smaller than the head hole... but apparently there's no rule to calculate by how much!! The book suggests about 2 inches. This is what I did, but with my fabric I think it is a little on the small side. The aim is to stretch out the band a little but not the head hole.

Firstly, it's important the stripes meet at the back of the neck where it joins to make a hoop. Secondly when sewing the right side of the neckband on to the sweater before folding over to the back it's important that the same amount of stripe is showing right the way round. If your stripe is wider at one point than another it will be really obvious. This is also the case when folding over the band- I was super careful to make sure the white stripe was the same width all the way round before I pinned and tacked it.
I used a narrow zig zag to attach the neck, then used my twin needle to topstitch and hold down after folding over to the back. I tried overlocking the long raw edge of the band before attaching, but it was really messing up the stretch factor so abandoned that!

It might all sound a bit daunting for such a simple top, if that's the case I would suggest using a plain fabric. This would look great in any kind of ribbed jersey. If I make another I think I might ditch the stripes!


Currently listening to: Three Alley Cats, Roy Hall
Location: Damflask Reservoir, Loxley Valley


  1. What a great little tee and I'm super impressed by your pattern matching.

    1. Thanks Carmen! Always a great feeling to get all matched up!! xox

  2. Wow, this looks so so professional! I need to dedicate some time to sewing well made basics! x

    1. Thanks! Got frustrated with that neckband!! xox

  3. This is brilliant! I have that book but gad forgotten about this pattern. I shall have to dig it out!

    1. Ahh thanks Lynne! I forgot about it too! There is this one and one with a sweetheart neck which I was tempted by too! xox