First Aid When Sewing a Sweater
Would you like to make a sweater, but could you use a little help? On the https://thesewingstuffs.com/ website, I spent a week posting my progress while making the Linden sweater. Here you will find all these posts, including all kinds of tips and tricks!
We start by measuring and cutting the fabric. Choose your size based on the pattern sizes (you can find it here ). The sweater is nice and casual and made of stretch material, so it is not very tight.
- Copy the pattern onto patterned paper (in the photo, you don’t see the patterned paper, mine was on), and pin it to the fabric according to the cutting example. Do you make the sweater in two colors of fabric? Then use the clipping example shown here. Need help transferring your pattern to fabric? I have a blog post about that.
- Use the arrow on the pattern to align the pattern pieces straight on the fabric. This is especially important for the sleeve.
- Cut the edge a bit at the location of the ‘notches’ (small marks on the pattern). Don’t cut too far! The seam allowance is only 6mm, so make sure your cut is no deeper than 6mm.
Today I take you into the wonderful world of sewing with stretch fabrics.
What’s so great about that? It doesn’t have to be that precise. Stretch fabric stretches nicely with you, so nobody will notice a crooked seam here and there.
A Few Handy Tips
- Use a needle especially for stretch fabric. This is called a jersey needle/ballpoint needle. This one has a rounded tip, which means it will stitch in between the knitted fibers of your stretch fabric instead of right through them. This prevents skipped stitches.
- Choose a stitch that matches your stretch fabric. My machine has a stretch stitch, which means it sews two stitches forward and then one back. This creates a super stretchy stitch, which is handy because 1) it stretches and 2) won’t break when you stretch the fabric. If your machine does not have such a stitch, you can choose a narrow zigzag stitch, which also stretches. I wouldn’t choose the regular straight stitch (far right), which will break if you put tension on your garment. It is best to let the machine to do the work during sewing, but don’t push the fabric too hard.
- When finishing seams, you have three options: do not finish (because French Terry does not fray!), zigzag, or lock. I usually do the latter myself, with a serger (and then you don’t even have to stitch the seam first because the serger does that for you too), but if you don’t have such a thing, the other two options are also fine!
Time to get to work. Today we roll up our sleeves!
- Your sleeve has two slants. You sew one side to the front piece, the other side to the back piece. You can tell which side is which by the markings you cut into your sleeve section earlier.
- Place the front piece with the slanted edge along the slanted side of the sleeve, right sides together. Pin the ends and the marks together first, then pin the rest of the edge. Always insert your pin from right to left; that’s handy when stitching!
- Once you have stitched out and finished the seam, iron it. Iron the seam to one side and use a little steam to make it easier. Then turn the garment over and iron the seam again, this time from the right side.
Repeat these three steps for the other three seams. When you are done, you have made a kind of poncho.
Fold your poncho robe in half right sides together. Look at that; it suddenly looks like a sweater!
Pin the entire side seam together, from the tip of the sleeve, through the armpit, all the way to the hem of the sweater itself. The first pin all ends together again, and the armpit seam. It is smart to insert the needle exactly through the seam (also check on the other side whether the needle is exactly through the seam). This increases the chance that the seam in the armpit will continue neatly and will not jump. Pin the rest of the side seam and topstitch with a stretchy stitch of your choice, finish, and iron to the back.
And ladies and gentlemen, we have a sweater!
We are going to put a collar at the bottom of the sweater. This finishes the bottom and provides an authentic sweater look!
- You have two rectangular pieces of fabric, which together will become the border. It is best to let the machine to do the work during sewing, but don’t push the fabric too hard. You now have a circle; fold it in half and iron the fold.
- To distribute the collar evenly over the sweater, we divide the collar into four pieces by folding the collar in two ways. Mark the quarters with a pin. Continue on with the same treatment for the bottom edge of the sweater.
- Now slide the collar over the sweater (right sides together), and match the corresponding pins. Now you can pin the entire collar. Make sure to distribute the fabric between each pair of pins evenly. Take advantage of the stretch in the fabric by stretching the fabric pieces between each pair of pins until they are the same length. Only then do you put a pin through it, so you can be sure that you divide the collar neatly over the sweater.
- Sew with a stretchy stitch of your choice, finish the seams if necessary, and iron flat.
We are going to finish the sleeves of our sweater with a collar.
- Pin the short sides of the cuff together, backstitch, press the seam open, fold the rib in half, and iron the crease.
- Slide cuff over sleeve and pin. You can divide this neatly again by dividing both fabric parts into quarters and pinning them together by quarter, but the border is so small that it is not necessary.
- Sew with a stretch stitch. Since the sleeve opening is not that big, that is going to be a bit of a fiddle. You can do this by sliding the collar over your machine’s free arm, but sometimes the free arm is too big for this. Then you go for method 2, where you always fumble the collar under the foot.
- Flatten everything neatly, and you’re done!
We are almost there! Only the collar left! Below is a brief explanation; more explanation can be found in the special anti-blubbering-neck collars blog.
- You know this step by now: pin the short sides of the collar together, stitch, iron open, and iron in half.
- We are going to divide the collar and neck of the sweater into four again. Pin the quarters together, and divide the fabric between the pins. The collar is a lot smaller than the neckline of the sweater, so you have to stretch the fabric between the pins to make the collar fit on the sweater. Try to divide the board as well as possible.
- Sew the rib with a regular straight stitch (long stitch length). This is very important because there is a considerable chance that the board is too wide or too tight. Is the collar not nice and flat, or are there many folds and folds in the sweater itself? Then loosen the collar, shorten it (or cut a longer collar) and start again. Until you are satisfied, only then do you stitch everything together with a stretchy stitch.
- Once you’ve ironed the collar, you’re done! Your sweater can be shown to the outside world (and I’d love it if you show it to us too, so share your sweater with #makersinc ).
But, in addition, you could go one step farther! Do you want an extra professional finish? Then sew the seam allowance of the collar to the sweater itself, using a double stitch. You can get more information about sewing by staying with Taruhansabungayam.