Chuck sweater

You guys, I finished a knit!

This is Chuck by Andi Satterlund. I’ve seen Andi’s knits a lot on the blogosphere, and admired them, but I’d never bit the bullet on starting one because they are mostly in 10ply which is kind of hard to get here in Aus and also, I don’t honestly have that much call for 10ply jumpers. Until recently, that is! When we moved offices and the new office is basically refridgerated year round. In winter I end up wearing my outdoors jacket to sit at my desk sometimes, so I figured a 10ply jumper might be useful after all.

The yarn is from my stash. I had some leftover Cascade 220 from knitting a Rogue hoodie many years ago. I don’t actually have a single proper picture of that jumper because I never really wore it. The sleeves were about an inch too short, as was the body. It looked ok-ish but I never felt comfortable in it. In December 2014 I pulled it out to see if I could re-knit the sleeves, to find it had been moth eaten in some… significant spots. Nipple holes aren’t really the kind of thing I look for in a jumper, ya know? So I frogged the whole dang thing, planning to reknit it from scratch. A few months of slow progress in, however, I realised I just wasn’t that keen on it any more. I liked the idea of it but a knit hoodie doesn’t really fit in my life or wardrobe anymore. So I frogged it and skeined the yarn up and put it all back in the stash.

Obligatory cat pic

Then in winter last year I got the itch to knit again, and I was cross with the other thing I was knitting, which is quite fine yarn. I remembered Roisin’s version(s) and decided I’d give it a go! The yarn was sitting unused and unloved already, so if I didn’t love it I hadn’t lost much, and I was dying for the feel of chunky, wooly yarn in my hands.

Me, explaining it’s many hours yet until dinner time

Friends, I HATED knitting this sweater. I found the pattern really hard to navigate – I don’t know what it is but just something about how it was laid out made it hard for me to see what was happening as I read it. I had thought maybe I was exaggerating this in my head but as I was re-reading it to check my ravelry notes were up to date I got so frustrated trying to work out what the heck was going on that I accidentally tore a page in half as I was flipping it back and forth. Oops.

I made a bunch of adjustments. The details are on my ravelry page but the broad overview is:

  • Went down a needle size for the ribbing
  • Knit size L for shoulders and increased to the 1X size at the bust.
  • Added bust dart increases
  • Moved the side decreases to the back, which is where I need the shaping
  • Chucked in a couple of short row sections at the back to make up for my swayback
  • Knit an extra repeat
  • Knit the sleeves before I finished knitting the body because I was pretty sure they’d change how it fit (they did)
  • Picked up the number of stitches for the L sleeves and then didn’t decrease at the end of the armhole, leaving me with enough stitches for the 1X sleeve
  • Made the sleeves full length (see rav notes for how)
Bust increases

I initially knit the two repeats in the pattern and was going to just knit the ribbing long but the cables hit in an odd place and made me look really foreshortened. I check the hive mind via instagram and everyone agreed that it looked no good. So I ripped the ribbing back and did another repeat. I was concerned this would leave me with either a too-long jumper, or not enough ribbing. In the end it worked out ok. I wish the ribbing were 1/2″ longer, for proportion, but it sits neatly on my waistband at this length so I’m happy with it.

To be honest with you, I would not recommend this pattern to anyone above the size M, or with boobs bigger than say a C cup. I knew going in that it was a risk, making a chunky knit in negative ease, because I just don’t think that knits like that play well with larger figures. I think the risk paid off but I wouldn’t knit this again. And also the bust darts were VERY necessary, even though from the armpit down I knit the size that should fit my bust. Even with the darts you can see it folding and pulling at the side of my bust and I suspect it will wear badly in that area. I also think the cable and the negative ease makes my bust look droopy and frumpy. Not enough to not wear it, but it’s not really ideal.

Also look at the weird shape of that sleevecap! It’s a nice round shape when flat so idk what pulling is making it do that. I think I should have knit a size 1X sleeve but there honestly wasn’t that much difference in terms of stitch count.

Yup that pulling is definitely coming from the sleeve. Ugh.

I also really REALLY hated the way the sleeves were done. You pick up stitches around the armhole and knit it down, using shortrows to shape the cap. You are instructed to pick up less than half of the stitches that would fill out the armhole, and that + short rows immediately after pickup meant that row was really loose for me. I did a better job with the second armhole but even so I had to go back and stitch it closed so it wasn’t all gapey and weird.

ugly join on the first sleeve
Second sleeve is better

I also couldn’t find a way to make the short rows work without showing the wrap. I tried several techniques and all of them worked for me in thinner yarn but in this bulk, with negative ease? Nope. You can really see it in the back short rows I did.

The back shortrows do make it bubble a bit if I stand a certain way, but they also mean it doesn’t pull up at the back waistband. I’m very pleased with how that worked out.

I used this technique for the bindoff, and I’m really happy with it. I think this will be my regular bindoff now.

I did like the way the top down construction helped me try it on and add adjustments on the fly. And I do like the finished product – more than I thought I would when I first finished it! But boy. It was rough going.

I actually knit it with my Malmaison skirt in mind but I’m not sure I love them together. The Cascade is ‘Aporto’ and it’s a dark blue with flecks of green in it. It reads as almost navy but next to a true navy is much more petrol-coloured. And I love to match… I’ll probably wear them together, but I like it more with the demin skirt.

So there we have it! A very ambivalent FO. But however mixed my feelings are towards the pattern itself, I am THRILLED to have finished a knit. I haven’t knit very much the last few years, due to wrist issues and also really struggling with mental health in winter, which is when I knit most, and not wanting to do anything at all. It feels so good to be back to knitting – it’s my very first craft, and what made me start this blog, through which I have met so many of you wonderful people. I hope the bug sticks!

Jennifer dress

Hello! Here is my second iteration of Vogue 8811.

Gosh look how nice and even that waist is sitting! I get a gold star

I’m sorry these photos are so shocking. I went out two separate times to get them but still didn’t end up with good ones so I’m calling these good enough. I’m getting closer to figuring out appropriate times for good lighting, however, so hopefully they’ll improve.

I tend to like to make a pattern more than once. Partly this is because I always have to do so much fitting work that it feels like wasted effort if I just make a once-off. Also that you can never really be sure how something fits until you wear it, so I like to t ake a second crack at it – and I find I learn a lot about fitting that way, too. In this case I loved my first version so much that I was planning to make a second V8811 before I even blogged the first one.

I earmarked this blue broadcloth from my stash for it. It’s just from spotters, and I think I bought it intending to make a shirtdress. But it’s a bright enough blue that I thought it would probably come out a bit uniform-y so it was looking for the right project and I knew this simple bodice would avoid the uniform issue. But then… it’s a bit boring, right? It’s a nice colour but not in my usual palette so I wanted to do something to spiff it up.

I thought about adding some trim, as in view A, but honestly I’m not really a lace and ribbon kinda gal. Then I thought, that pocket has some opportunities! I have a pinterest board of embroidery ideas, many of which are vintage transfers, so I picked one I thought would work well with the fabric and started on it.

I mostly worked on it on my train commute and it went very quickly. I used machine embroidery stabiliser because my local stores didn’t have any proper hand embroidery stuff, and it didn’t 100% wash away which is why it looks a bit odd and stiff still. I think it will eventually dissipate and it’s not obvious except very close up. I used random colours I liked from my collection. The stems are stem stitch, the centres satin stitch, the leaves feather stitch and the petals grain stitch. Oh and the little cluster of french knots – I think I’ve FINALLY learnt how to do a consistent french knot, but I still don’t like doing them. I am now a bit addicted to embroidery – I forgot how fun it is! Except I need to find more useful and interesting things to stitch.

I did not, however, do a good job of sewing the pocket on. Oh, well. It’s not so obvious when worn so I’ll just live with it, although it does annoy me. Part of the issue is that the pocket is two pieces, sewn together and turned. The embroidered piece is on the bias since that’s what the pattern tells you to do but then I realised that’s only because if you’re using a plaid it’s a contrast. So I cut the backing on the straight grain but that was probably a mistake. Also the pattern has you turn it in a weird way – I was planning to leave the whole top unturned since that’s topstitched anyhow but the pattern has you turn it from the bottom which means you have to leave the opening quite small, so I couldn’t really do much about wonky edges. If I were doing this again I’d just do it my way.

I sewed the same size as last time (which started as a size 12). Changes I’d already made to the paper pattern included:

  • 2″ FBA
  • Added 3/4″ to side seams of bodice (so it was essentially a size 14 bodice).
  • Took up waist about 1″, losing a total of 2″ length from both the bodice and skirt
  • Lowered neckline 1″ at front neck tapering to nothing at front shoulders

I’d made the front 1″ larger last time but forgot to this time as I hadn’t made the extra addition to the pattern and I was cutting this out while sick. I also didn’t cut the skirt wider as the fabric was too narrow. I sewed the side seams at 1cm instead of 1.5cm to compensate for this.

This time I also:

  • Lowered the neckline a further 1/2″ all the way around, for a total of 1.5″ at front and 1/2″ at shoulder and back neck.
  • Sewed the armhole seam about 1cm higher so the armholes aren’t so gapey
  • Took 1cm off the top of the sleeves, tapering to nothing at the mid sleeve
  • Sorted out where the waistline should be.
  • Added a full lining instead of using facings.
  • Added pockets

Figuring out the waistline took a lot of basting and swearing but in the end what it amounted to was taking off 1″ from the centre front, tapering to nothing at the dart. This was pretty much what the FBA added that I had not dealt with properly. Naughty. I got my consequences though! I then took a further 1″ off the entire waist, front to back. I have read a few people saying it seemed long in the waist so perhaps it’s the pattern. I do have a long waist and it’s quite rare that I have to shorten a bodice unless I want it to hit above my natural waist. I must say I didn’t mind how it looked when it was a bit longer – it definitely had more of the 40’s long and lanky look (not that I will ever look lanky but you know what I mean… it had that feel to it) but it bunched up when I moved so it got taken up.

FullSizeRender
This is before the last 1″ was taken out. It looks ok but you can just see it bubbling up. It was super obvious when I moved. Also note paint swatches on the boring grey wall behind me!

I also took the skirt up 1″ to make the waist wider, to compensate for not having cut it out wider. Consequently I only did a 1″ hem. I didn’t have to adjust the hem at all so I think my issues with the last one were the rayon stretching out after all. The broadcloth is pretty firm and hasn’t shifted on the bias but there’s still time! 😛

I lopped off 1cm from the top of the sleeve and straightened out the sleeve curve – the FBA had involved shifting that seam about a bit and I essentially just put it back as drafted. Again, should have already done that, very sloppy. I added pockets from B6285, which are my go-to pockets now – they’re an excellent shape and sit well in the side seams of a skirt. I also find they give a nice volume to a skirt, puffing it up a bit exactly where I want the volume. When I tried on my basted together version it hung quite limply, but with the pockets and the lining it fluffs up very nicely. Pleasing!

I fully lined it, and I really like how it is with a lining. I would definitely do this again next time. The bodice is bemsilk I think – it was from my stash – and the skirt is poly taffeta from Lincraft. This is now my favourite skirt lining, it gives a nice volume and is hefty enough not to try to sneak in between my legs when I walk. Plus it rustles nicely as I move, always a plus. The lining is my trusty self drafted 3/4 circle skirt/lining pattern but I probably could have just used the skirt pattern as it’s also a 3/4 ish circle. (A bigger circle will work it’s way between one’s legs in a very annoying way). The front waistline of the pattern is bigger than the back so I just very dodgily sewed the front lining up higher at centre front and didn’t bother evening out the hem. It hangs more or less right when worn, though. Good enough for a lining anyway!

I really love the colour of the lining taffeta. Trying to think of an excuse to make and wear a whole dress out of it…

I serged everything to finish before sewing it together. Lining hem is just serged, skirt hem is turned up and hand stitched. Sleeves and neck are understitched. The button is a loner from my stash – I thought I’d taken a better picture, it’s got swirls on it like a boiled sweet. I did the thread loop like the last one but I’ve made it too long and it keeps coming undone so I need to go back and fix that. The lining is tacked to the outer shell at the waist with the same thread loops.

I also am contemplating belt loops but it sits pretty nicely without them so we’ll see.

I don’t think you can really see it here but the only issue I have with this make is that it sits a little forward at the shoulder. I think I need to take another 1/2″ from the front neckline, for a total of 2″ off of it. If I pull it so that it sits where it would with a lower neck, it’s perfect – but the broadcloth is firm enough to prevent it sitting there whereas my last version the rayon sits there but just sits out from my collarbone.

I also want to put back the extra at the back neckline – I freehanded trimming that off and it was hard to taper to nothing because it’s quite a short seam so I’ll go back and adjust the pattern properly. I don’t think I’ll be making another of these immediately but I think it’s simple enough and it fits well enough that I see it becoming a TNT pattern, so I’ll retrace everything to have a proper, adjusted pattern ready to go.

When I’m wearing it without a belt, the dress feels like it’s pulling forward because of the too-high neckline. I could go back and take more out I suppose, but with a belt it sits ok. We’ll see how it wears. I do want to go back and take extra out of my Clarissa version because I have avoided wearing it a couple of times because the neck isn’t super comfortable. It’s fine but not great. A relatively easy fix, however!

I’m really thrilled with this one! It came out just like I had hoped. A rare treat! Despite having had a bit of trouble with this pattern, it was all self-induced, and the results were worth it!