Hey Sewists!

Autumn is definitely here in london. As the temperatures are dropping it’s the perfect time for some cosy makes…

It can be the hardest thing sometimes to find a nice sturdy knit fabric. Especially a chunky one. So when I came across these two at Crescent Trading there was no way I was leaving them behind. I can’t remember the exact price, but everything at Crescent Trading is reasonably priced. I got 2m of the chunky blue knit and 2m of the other one. Let’s go with the chunky one first…

The pattern is ‘M’ (that’s the name, not the size… although it’s also the size!) sweater from one of my favourite sewing books Men’s Clothes For All Seasons by Toshio Kaneko. I’ve made it a few times before so I wasn’t treading any new ground here. But just as I’d hoped, it feels totally different in this lovely loose chunky knit.

I whipped it all up on the overlocker, but as it’s pretty chunky, I went back over the seams with a zigzag stitch (2cm x 2cm) just to be sure.

Sewing with knit or jersey fabric is so much fun. I feel like it’s a lot free-er than woven fabric. That’s probably more to do with the type of garments I generally sew with knit than anything else; there are usually less fiddly details to tackle. And I find the stretch to be pretty forgiving when easing in cuffs and waistbands. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually use my walking foot, I’ll always test a bit first to see if it’s necessary, otherwise I stick with my regular sewing foot. That way I can switch between feet more easily if I want to (like I did a bit later with the next sweater).

It came out cosy and slouchy just as I’d hoped. There is a bit of tape in the shoulder seams to stop them from drooping, but I’m happy for the rest of it to bag and sag as much as it likes. Although I’ve hardly taken it off, there aren’t many photos of me in it… this one (above) was taken the other weekend when MrA & I met some friends for breakfast at Somerset House. It was two birds with one stone (… as the old saying goes…) because I was also sporting my new bucket hat.

So on to sweater number two… well, this one’s a cardigan really. The Camil Cardigan to be exact, from the increasingly popular La Maison Victor ‘Men’s Special’ edition. I got this in French last year and made a few tshirts and a pair of ill thought out trousers with the help of google translate. However last month I bought the English version and have to admit it’s SO much easier! The issue is packed full of smart and (mainly) casual menswear, there’s even a knitting pattern which I’m thinking of passing on to my mum (along with a big bag of wool and a pleading smile…!) I’m seeing a few makes popping up on Instagram now too which is brilliant because there’s not a whole lot of everyday menswear inspiration on my feed.

I should also mention that while all the lads in the magazine are young and slim, it’s nice to see that they are a mixture of ethnicities. A rare thing in sewing magazines. Now, in the Ottobre magazine Men’s Special, they may all be white men, but they’re all shapes and sizes.

So, this fabric isn’t as chunky as the last. I’m not sure what it’s called but the reverse side is white and kind of ribbed. It looks a bit like a jersey version of denim if such a thing exists!

The pattern doesn’t come with pockets. They’d be easy enough to add, either patch or welt, but I decided not to add them in the end. With the way I use pockets, It doesn’t take long for jersey ones to sag out of shape and I prefer the look of the cleaner front on this. I did pimp it up a little bit by adding a little ‘facing’ at the back to show off my label. I put tape in the shoulder seams again but didn’t have any interfacing for the collar. I’m sure I’ll get into trouble for that along the line – but let me tell you about that collar…

It’s drafted as a roll collar, which I didn’t really fancy, so I levelled the pattern piece out to keep it even.

When I came to attach the inner part of the collar to the outer part it looked like I’d overlocked the wrong seam. I double checked with the illustrations but even though I’d adapted the pieces I could see that I’d followed it correctly. My confusion came because, what I think it wanted me to do was attach the pieces with their curves opposing – ie the notched side to the unnotched side… weird… until I’d finished and I saw the roll this created around the collar…

You see how it stands away from the neck? See…? It’s not a roll-collar, but it still wants to be a roll collar! I actually quite like it, which is handy. But if you try the same thing and don’t want the extra curl; overlock the notches off the inner-collar piece instead, then the curves will match and it should sit flat.

So… either: That happened. Or, I completely misread the instructions (even though they’re in English now!). It’s naivety, stupidity or a printing error!

Again, I didn’t need the walking foot. I stitched it all up with a zigzag setting of 2mm x 2mm (stitch width and length) then ran it through the overlocker. But when I came to catching the inside of the neck-band, I switched to the stitch-in-the-ditch foot and used a straight stitch. This seam won’t take any stress, so no fear of popping stitches.

I did a mock-up and practised my buttonholes. And I’m glad I did as they were coming out really big. I took the button out of the foot and clicked the gauge in a few times until I got just the right size.

My poor machine doesn’t like doing buttonholes much. Although I’m sure it’d perform perfectly if someone else tried with it! But I’ve mentioned before that it really needs a service – I was a fool not to have taken it in when I broke my arm. To be honest though, I kept hoping I’d be able to use it again sooner than I could. Anyway, here we are, and I’m performing buttonholes with the speed setting at its lowest, manually nudging the fabric along as it goes. It’s nerve-wracking, but ultimately delivers the goods.

I can’t believe how perfect the buttons are; they are yet another set from a box of rescued (and lovingly sorted) buttons that were given to me by one of my hair clients… I sometimes wonder if it will ever run out…?


With two warm sweaters made and only one of them photographed, I did something I’d never done before. I took selfies in the park. As a first attempt goes… they’re TERRIBLE! But, hey, that only leaves room for improvement, right? I’m no good at having my photo taken as it is, and I felt way more of a plum doing it on my own than I do when MrA takes them for me. It’s a shame the photo-shoot didn’t work out, as ‘Cardigans & Sunglasses’ is one of my favourite types of weather!

I’ll be in Venice at the end of the month though so I’ll try to cram as many clothes as possible into my hand luggage and take some photos there. (I can’t tell you how excited I am – Venice is one of my favourite places in the world, and I haven’t had a holiday for what seems like FOREVER!!)

I’ll definitely be making this cardigan again; I’ll wait until the perfect fabric presents itself to me again, but I’ll make it. And I’m looking forward to making a few more things from the magazine, now that I’ve got it in English!

But in the meantime, I’ve got some work to do on my #TheRefashioners2018 entry. I was worried I’d run out of time to enter this year, but I think I’m going to make it. Are you going for it this year? … it may be the last!! So check out the details here if you don’t know what it is.

Happy sewing!

Notes to self;

  • Keep searching for a suitable jersey in any colour other than blue.
  • Take your machine to the mender. Maybe while you’re in Venice?
  • Get a move on with that Refashioners entry!