Hurray! It’s the first make of 2022! In fact, its’ my first (garment) make in nearly a year now. A lot of that had to do with moving to a new space. If any of you have moved recently, you know how much of a disruption it can be to your sewjo. It’s not just getting it unpacked, but also organized and inviting, making it easy to feel inspired to get going on a project. It’s been a while putting this room together and there’s still so much to do, but I’ve gotten to a point where I am feeling creatively excited and have the space to make some fun things happen. On to the sweater!
The pattern is the Named Talvikki Sweater, a much loved pattern in the community for its classic silhouette, developed in a really fashion-forward way. I’ve had it in my stash for years but found myself struggling to find the ideal fabric for it. I wanted something that had some texture or color variation, (worried that a solid, smooth color would feel too bland on such a high-coverage sweater) but not a print. I wanted something snuggly to play with the oversized vibe, but structured enough to hold the shape of the neckline. It also needed a decent amount of stretch too, to get it over your head. Quite the tricksy combination. For the last few years, as the winter seasons approached, I kept my eye out for the seasonal fabric launches. Luckily this year Blackbird Fabrics had just the ticket: a lovely boiled wool in a light, heathery grey.
I bet the first question you have is… is it itchy? If you are super sensitive to the feeling of wool, you may find it a tad rough. I can be picky with wool sometimes, but because this fabric isn’t particularly ‘fuzzy’ (which is what bothers me), I find it comfortable. It has a pleasant squish and it feels like pure cozy. But just in case, I did take a few steps to mitigate any potential irritation, and I’ll get back to that in a moment.
I cut a size 4/6, and I did my usual length-adding adjustments. With each new pattern I will start by holding up the pattern pieces to my body and deciding how much I need to add, since it can vary depending on the style. I decided to add just 1 cm to the waist length and about 3cm to the sleeves. I think the proportions are perfect, especially the sleeves. In a softer fabric I may consider increasing the waist length a bit more since it may feel a little short with the fabric drape at the front (notes for future self).
Because the boiled wool is so structured I opted out of adding interfacing to the neckline, knowing it could hold its own. In fact, I was worried that even just a facing of the same fabric would be *too* structured. This was also where I was most worried that the fabric might be irritating on my neck. So the two-in-one solution? Cut the facing from a soft ponte knit. It had a smooth feeling for the inside of the sweater, reduced bulk and there’s still plenty of structure. The ponte facing was sewn with under-stitching to give it a fighting chance against the wool pulling it to the outside and I vigorously tacked it down to the shoulder seams and darts as well for good measure.
When I was cutting out the facing piece from my ponte, I also had the idea to add some sleeve facings. At first for comfort, but also as a nice contrast if I decide to roll the sleeves up a little. To cut them out, I traced the sleeve pattern piece from where the fold-up hemline was marked to about 10cm up the sleeve.
To make the cuffs, I sewed the bottom of the sleeves to the facing right sides together, turned up the hem allowance, pressed and under-stitched. Here, I decided to topstitch the facing down before sewing the sleeves. I could have sewn the side seams starting from the cuff up the sleeve then rolled it inside and topstitched. This would have given a ‘cleaner’ finish on the inside of the garment, but I was concerned that having that ‘double’ seam on the inside would be bulky and wobbly. By doing the side seam after, you can see the overlocked seam on the inside cuff when I roll up the sleeves, but all 4 layers of fabric are overlocked together which feels smoother.
Speaking of the fabric thickness, I did need to make a few construction accommodations. I adjusted my stitch length on my machine to 2.8 to keep things running smoothly. The instructions call for a lot of the assembly to be done with the overlocker, which I love and did, but because the fabric is so bulky, the stitch threads were looser to accommodate that and looked ‘pulled apart’ on the right side. Structurally, the seams were fine, but I did opt to run some of the higher stress seams (shoulders, armholes) through my regular sewing machine to get them real snug so there were no snags or mishaps in the future.
I sewed this sweater during a -30 degree cold snap as the perfect solution to the chill and 2 days after it warmed right up to 0. Naturally. It made it nicer for photos but I have to wait until our Canadian winter gets back into gear before I can really enjoy the full cozy majesty of the wool.
After waiting so long to make it, I can say I am so happy with this pattern. It’s a dream. The shape of the neckline with the cool darts just feels so chic for a pullover. Its the perfect ‘elevated casual’ I aspire to. Upon reflecting on my me-made wardrobe a while ago I noted that I don’t really wear as many makes in the winter because I just wanna live the snug life in sweaters and pants instead of the dresses and skirts that usually come off my machine. This is a perfect winter addition to my wardrobe that feels classic but also casual enough for lounging around. My only hope is that it doesn’t take nearly as long to find ideal fabric if I want to make another in the future.