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Sep 18, 2013

Down to the Knitty Gritty: a Sweater Update

I'm sold: I'm sewing my sweaters from now on.

OK, maybe I won't sew every sweater, but this sweater knit thing is very cool.  It's not really hard to do once you get your technique down -- the technique being primarily how much to stretch the neckband as you stitch it onto the neck of the sweater (same goes for waistband and cuffs to some extent).  It's the same issue you'd have sewing cotton jersey, but it's actually easier with the sweater knit because the wool is much more forgiving than the knit jersey would be.

And then of course there's the serging.  But how difficult is that really?

BTW, I actually made some piping yesterday evening -- first time ever -- and tested it.  Way too thick and rigid.

As it turned out, the (four-thread) serged seams are sufficient by themselves.  I didn't reinforce them with anything like clear elastic as I've never seen clear elastic reinforcing the seams of any sweater or sweatshirt I've ever owned.

Cutting was relatively straightforward, though I was very careful not to stretch out the wool edges cut on the bias (since this is a raglan sweater, there are many).  My sweater knit is rather thick and (relatively) loose, so I had to be careful how I handled it: basically as little as possible.  I staystitched the neckline before attaching the neckband.

Once lined up, the layers hardly shifted.  Pins aren't much use with this kind of knit, though I used them occasionally when I was adding the ribbed bands.

I stitched all my seams first before serging them, and then I serged over the stitched seam, not just along the seam allowance.

As you can see, the wrong side of this wool is very fluffy.  I believe it's a mohair blend.

Finally, I did decide to add the "v" at the neckline and I'm glad I did -- the sweater is styled like a sweatshirt (wider cuffs and waistband), which gives it a sporty look.

I'll post photos of me in the sweater next week.  Tomorrow I may make Michael a sweater vest with the remaining houndstooth (there's a lot), and I still might have enough for a dog coat!

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Great job, Peter! I remember you were on the lookout for sweater knits on MPB Day. You've inspired me to eventually give this a go (I have this grand idea that I'll knit a cardigan one day, but I doubt that's going to happen).

  2. Looks like a winner! I have some knit fabric that I've been too scared to tackle - you've inspired me to give it a go.

    Looking forward to the family portrait (with Cathy?).


  3. Looking good Peter. Your serged seams look very clean and I love the way you got the ribbing on the V to match with the neck band. I have to retract yesterday's comment about the piping - your sample really pops! Well done you for having a go. I can't wait to see the runway show.

  4. that's a fabulous sweater, peter! i must find some knit fabric, and make one for my boyfriend

  5. You make this look so easy! Guess I will have to wander over to the knits section some day.

  6. This looks fantastic--and I love the V-front ribbing; it really adds flair to the style.

  7. It looks like it did turn out really nicely. Waiting for the pics!

  8. Oh I'm so excited to see it! I hope my sweater comes out as good.

  9. Looks wonderful, awaiting the pics eagerly!

  10. It looks very professional. I am disappointed to not see a pic of you in it though. *hint*

  11. I'm a first time reply-er, long time reader.

    Great article,Peter! Love all your tips and tricks and the results look fabulous!

  12. Great job Peter!! I've been seriously thinking about trying sweater knits and your tips are a big help. Thanks for taking the plunge and posting it to help others! Your sweater looks amazing!!

  13. I've only ever seen the clear elastic used on high-stress seams like shoulder seams. Pre-shrunk bias tape would serve the same purpose, but wouldn't have the stretch. Other than that, I agree that there's no point.

  14. You did a great job, Peter! Look forward to seeing the photos.

  15. What might the piping look like with reduced size cording or no cording at all?

  16. That's looking great, Peter! I really like the raglan sleeves.

  17. Self-made, wool, and mohair. You have hit the jackpot!!


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