However, I found some great sweater knit fabrics at the local fabric store. The teal one has flecks of gold thread through it and is a bit on the sheer side. The purple one is tighter knit with a fuzzy texture to it.
And I started with the Cowl-Neck Top pattern from Burdastyle.com by ichigogirl.
I had to make some alternations - I'm pregnant and growing by the day, so the stretchy knit was just what I needed.
I did make some adjustments to the pattern and the instructions, especially for some of the seam finishes.
Neck Binding: Mostly because I cut the extra strip of fabric too short, but it actually worked out pretty well.
1) attach seam binding to the edge of the strip (right sides together with seam binding opened up)
sew along first fold line
2 & 3) fold over the edge of the fabric (don't worry about the raw edge of the binding as it will be hidden inside the seam
4) stitch in the ditch to anchor the seam binding
5) edgestitch as close to the edge of the seam binding as possible to attach make a nice, clean, stretch-free neck edge
The right side of the sweater gets a double line of stitching adding a nice finishing touch to the final product.
Shoulder Seams: The pattern is meant for something more like jersey, so seams don't have to be finished, but the sweater knit ravels and gets a bit bulky at the seams. For these seams, I used a bit of leftover sheer ribbon in a similar colour to finish everything off.
Basically, the steps are the same as for the bias binding, but the ribbon is a bit more finicky - and - since the seam didn't get finished until after the front was attached to the back with the cowl already tucked under, remember to leave ~1inch of ribbon to fold under to finish off the neckside-edge of the seam (#3 and 4) for a nice clean finish. This time, the shoulder seam only gets one line of edge stitching to anchor the whole thing - no need to stitch in the ditch; just pin the seam towards the back of the sweater (#8 and 9).
Then, I just finished off the side seams, (small zigzag and serged edge) and attached the sleeves (also zigzagged and serged) which I used from a separate pattern that I drafted myself. The last step was to hem the sleeves and bottom of the sweater (.5" + 1.5" for sleeves and .5" + 2" for the bottom).
Voila - we have a finished sweater!
Changes for Next Time:
- make back slightly narrower to make the neckline tighter around the back of the neck and the cowl a bit ... cowlier?
- lengthen the cowl part that gets folded under so that it doesn't try to get untucked during wear.
- maybe add tucks to the front shoulder to encourage a nice drape to the cowl
Great to be back in the swing of things!