Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cotton jumper

When I was 17 or 18 my Mum bought me a black knit cotton jumper. It is a slightly odd fabric, like it is made of string. It shrinks when washed and then stretches in wear, a bit like denim does, only more so. Anyway, this jumper no longer has much shape, but I kept it because a smartish-casual (ie not sporty) black jumper is a versatile thing. However, when I found a knit in Yuzawaya (Kamata) that had a similar feel I though I should make a replacement. The fabric is a sheer, or perhaps it might be called a holey knit. It is so cold at home and work in winter that we rarely actually remove our jumpers to show what is underneath, so I thought it was a positive feature to be able to see through the fabric. Having worn the jumper for a week I don't think this fabric is as hard wearing as the original so I have doubts it will be around in 20 years.

I took the pattern I used for this jumper, which in turn was stylistically derived from Burda 8291, and added ease (2 inches total = 1/2" at each side seam) at the bust and waist to make a less fitted top. The hips always seems to stick out on the other versions so I did not add any ease there. I then redrafted the sleeve in order to make it a bit looser. A strange thing happened when I did this because I made a mistake and equated the lengths of armscye and sleeve cap not on the stitching line but at the edge of the pattern pieces. This results in the sleeve cap being too short. However, in the original pattern I had released a dart at the armscye, and it was just about the same size as the error induced by my drafting mistake. So I took the opportunity to ease the dart fabric as was taught in Sharon Gifford's T-shirt class on PR . Due to the willingness of the fabric to shrink and stretch under the iron, this worked far better than I expected. Until then I'd not got this to work that well. Now I think the key is in how the fabric reacts to the steam iron.

I used a size 14 needle, put Resilon thread in the bobbin, and used a straight stitch for some of the seams (double back-stitch for the hems). Resilon is a Japanese thread in size 50, that has some stretch and is also rather strong, which makes it possible to use a straight stitch in garments with small to moderate stretch. I sometimes use it in top and bobbin, but it has a tendency to spring off the reel and then twist up, especially at the start of the reel.

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