Last week, I went into a little more detail about my #MonthlyMakeMyStash project and how I chose my goal fabrics for 2020, and showed you my January project. This here is the beautiful neon sweater knit fabric that I chose for February! I purchased this lovely sweater knit from Stylish Fabric in August 2018, and much like my January fabric, I knew exactly what I wanted it to be but it continued to get pushed back to the non-priority pile. It also became a little bit more of a high-stakes fabric when I sewed a maternity-friendly Waterfall Raglan in autumn 2018 and it began to immediately unravel – I found out that I didn’t actually know how to sew with sweater knits, and it made a difference! With that realization, I became pretty nervous about cutting into this wild and beautiful neon sweater knit.
This color has been in my top 5 favorites since high school. We used to have these great, fun spirit weeks and each day would have a different dress up theme. I can think of at least one occasion where the dress up theme was some form of “Wear your favorite color from head to toe” (the first iteration of Dress Like a Crayon?) and I chose to wear this lovely color of highlighter yellow green. I had jeans, a cami, and a V-Neck tee in this color, which I paired with some crazy fun multi-colored Asics sneakers that incorporated this color. I was so proud and felt bright and shiny and beautiful amongst all my regular-colored crayon friends! So when I found this fabric… I had to.
But back to the sweater knit bit of this equation. When I noticed the issues I was having with the maternity sweater I mentioned earlier, I took to Instagram. I had a handful of people respond back to me to inform me that stabilizing my sweater knits would help with the unraveling, but not a lot of advice on doing so was offered until the always helpful Michele of @winmichele reached out to me with a couple of resources! When I started working on this sweater, I scrolled all the way back in our conversation and visited some of her suggestions in order to make sure this sweater would stick around for more than a couple of wears!
If you;’re in the same boat (clueless or less confident about sweater knits!), here are a few things that I did this time that I hadn’t done in the past that seem to have made a big difference… First off, I realized that I was still fairly new to sewing knits in general at the time of the first sweater. I had listened to a podcast that adamantly preached the three-thread narrow stitch on the serger as the best option for seams on activewear or garments requiring a great deal of stretch. I fell into a habit of using the three-thread narrow for all stretchy fabrics rather than only those garments for which it was appropriate, and when I looked back recently I found that I did, in fact, use a three-thread narrow stitch on my Waterfall Raglan. Turns out, this is most absolutely not the stitch you want on a sweater knit!
On this sweater, I used a standard four-thread serger stitch. This alone made a big difference, but I didn’t stop there. I used a fusible knit stabilizer tape between my fabric edges, pressing it into place and essentially fusible basting my seams together before even taking them to the sewing machine. Next, I used a lightning / stretch stitch to construct my seams, and then finished my seams on the serger. Between these three measures, I feel like I’ve made a garment ready to be worn and loved for at least a full season. Anything will be better than the 2.5 times I got to use my Waterfall Raglan!!!!
I had big plans in my head of pairing this sweater with my neon scuba knit pencil skirt in the warm spring months, but it was a little too chilly for that right off the bat and I ended up pairing it with my black jeans and these crazy awesome Vans that I got for Christmas! My husband and I have a tradition of shopping at Vans each year before Christmas and getting one new pair of shoes each – this year, he went with the classic black and white checkered slip-ons, I went wild with these metallic multicolor high-tops, and our tiny girl met us right in the middle with metallic multicolor velcro slip-ons for itty bittys. I was thrilled when I noticed how well this sweater paired with these shoes! (Full disclosure, this board is my husband’s and it would be absolutely unsafe for me to do anything other than sit here on it. Even this was pushing the limits of safety!)
So February’s monthly make is a wrap! I’m now at least caught up through this month, and I’m looking forward to getting to work on my April make – a By Hand London Flora dress in a great Art Gallery cotton by Dana Willard! It’s truly been in my head for probably more than 2 years, and I’m excited to finally get it out into the world. Although it looks like once I make it, it will be relegated to fancy dinners at home for the foreseeable future 🙂
FYI – Links provided throughout this post may be affiliate links – if you choose to purchase any products through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This simply helps me justify the costs of my sewing habit and the time it takes to share it with you!! Happy Sewing!
- XX Elizabeth