Sunday, 19 February 2017

Hacked Pin Up Sweater

Whenever a new month or a new season rolls round, I always find myself thinking 'what was I doing this time last year'. I've come to find it's painful if it was something good and it's painful if it was something bad, so it's probably a habit I should shake. This time last year in sewing world though, I was doing quite nicely. I'd taken a sewing holiday and among the makes was a kick ass orange jumper that is still one of my faves, and soon my first Gertie Shirtwaist Dress would arrive.

After finishing my big Rosalie project this Jaunuary, I was a little scared about what would come next. Finishing Rosalie was like getting out of a long term relationship and not knowing what to do with yourself! The commitment it took into getting her ship shape was more than I've ever dedicated to any man! Oh and the return she gave me was too! Haha! But when she was done I needed something quick and easy and instantly satisfying to get back into the swing of things before I lost my mind entirely.

It's been on my mind all year round that I had an awkward amount of orange fabric left from my jumper that I was certain I could make something out of. The fabric itself is a fluffy jersey, not so fluffy as it all gets stuck to your lipgloss or owt, but a comfortable warm affair that makes me feel special when I touch it.

The colour is perfect, any colour aficionados know what shade we'd call it? It's orange, but somehow not bright. But definitely not brown. I don't often feel comfortable in things that aren't mainly black, so this blows my mind!

For the basis of the pattern I used Gertie's Vintage Casual Pin Up Sweater with a few alterations. First up, due to fabric restrictions I cropped a load off the bottom. Was happy with this though as I'm loving crop tops at the mo (knew all them gym crunches weren't a waste of time). Then I made sure I lowered the arm holes. My first sweater which followed the pattern, pulls a little at the underarms and it took me ages to figure out it was because I needed a little extra room cutting into the bottom of the arm hole. I wanted my new sweater top to be a little less fitted and a little more casual anyway, so made sure I scooped out a couple of centimeters. Not really sure how, but I knew I needed to make up for this on the sleeve, so added a couple of centimeters to the bit at the bottom of the sleeve that joins at the side seam.

Overall sleeve length was determined simply by how much fabric I had. It was looking a bit close at one point, but I just halved what was available and drew as much sleeve on as I could. Miraculously I am more than happy with the length!

The sleeves are set in before you sew up the side seams, so much easier to get that shoulder curve. Nice.

To begin with, the front and back were cut exactly the same. I knew I would want to play around with that neckline a little. I expected that I would want to scoop the front down a bit (fine, quite a bit), but when I tried on before altering it I found I really liked the high neck. I just took a tiny bit out of the front so it didn't look like I had it on back to front!

I wavered quite a bit from the pattern at the side seams. Instead of shaping into the waist and back out for the hips with a curve, I initially just cut a straight line from the bottom of the arm hole. I stitched up at this and liked it a lot, but as I planned on putting a waistband on I wanted to taper the bottom in a bit so there wasn't loads of fabric in the jumper to stretch the band around. I took about 2.5cms in from each side seam at the bottom and then drew a straight line that tapered from the bottom of the arm hole to my new point.

This fabric is awesome! It's got lots of stretch but somehow doesn't stretch out as you sew it! Magic.

Again, different to the Gertie jumper and more similar to the raglan jumper I made from this fabric, I decided to add a stretchy waistband to the bottom. I cut it about 6cm wide by about 90cm, then pinned it on, stretching as I went. I didn't need the full 90cm (not sure how long it was in the end but significantly less), so was glad I'd pinned to check. Then I stitched up at the side of the band and overlocked it straight onto the bottom of the jumper. Holding my breath all the way. Turned out pretty good though!

A similar process for the neckband, only I cut this about half the width of the waist. It's always so risky as to whether you've got too much or not enough or just the right amount of stretch in your band around the neck. Too much and your jumper might pucker, too little and it will stick out on the shoulders. It's tricky to pin on and try on (prickly on the neck, I've now got a few dodgy looking scratches), and even then can't really be certain if it's right until you've stitched. After pinning though, it was obvious to me that the band bought the neck a little too close to my throat again, so I trimmed off 7mm right the way round the head hole then overlocked the band on.

Success! Phew!! So so so happy with it! Perfectly round and (so very ALMOST) even!! Just don't look too close alright? I think I'm just being nit-picky, I definitely wouldn't notice if I'd just picked it up in Top Shop.

Decided against bands on the sleeves incase they made the jumper look a bit puffy? Instead I did a cute little narrow hem. Pretty perfect.

Love this jumper! Thanks to Gertie for the original pattern, but also go me for making it into what I really wanted! The colour, the shape, the texture, the constriction, what it does for my boobs and what it does for my confidence... Very happy, super sassy!



Locations: Wellington Street Carpark
Vulgar, Devonshire Street
Devonshire Lane
Currently listening to:To Be Without You, Ryan Adams


  1. Everything you make looks super duper! #SewMuchTalent (see what I did there?!)

    1. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart! This is what I live for! SEAMS you made a sewing joke! xox