Hello again! Just when I was getting my sew-jo (and blog-jo?) back, we lost power and I was unable to do any sewing or blogging, but I should be back to my regular weekly schedule.
This sweater has technically been done for a while, but I only just finished it to the point of wanting to wear it this weekend, so I’m going to count it as fresh off the machine.
I bought this knit double gauze this summer and knew I had to take full advantage of it as a reversible garment. I liked the idea of having one multi-outfit cardigan for travelling, so I decided it would become a Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet. I’ve made this pattern a couple of times (both short and long) so I felt it was a good candidate for experimentation.
As you might know, I was without my sewing machine for a bit this summer and used its lack as an excuse to really explore my serger. Flatlocking is a great solution to working with double-sided fabric, but there are a few things I learned making this cardi that I definitely want to pass on.
To make this pattern compatible with be reversible, I converted all of the bands which are usually folded (cuff, bottom band, around the opening) into two separate pieces by folding in half and adding seam allowance. I was able to sew the pieces together in such a way that the stripes showed on one side and the dots on the other. I also omitted the pockets as I knew it would be too much bulk to have pockets on each side, and only having pockets on the one would create visible stitches on the other. Otherwise, I didn’t have to change the pattern at all.
If you choose to flatlock seams (and not hems), be careful in your fabric choice. Choose something that will not ravel as there will only be 1/8-1/4 inches between the raw edge and the stitches. I spent a lot of time fray-checking raw edges. I also ran into problems flatlocking this double gauze as the layers liked to peel apart. I would often finish a seam only to realize that one layer had rolled away and was flapping in the breeze. If you choose to flatlock and kind of double fabric, I recommend basting together any raw edges. Because of all these issues, I was unable to truly flatlock and instead sort of half-locked. To give my serger more fabric to bite in to, I didn’t leave as much space between my fabric edge and the edge of the foot. This means my seams aren’t flat on the one side. I don’t mind it so much as it reminds me of how we wore our sweatshirts inside out in the ’90s. (Please tell me this wasn’t just me as my husband insists).
I cut out my regular size for this sweater, even though I knew that flatlocking with change the amount of seam allowance I would need. Usually, when flatlocking a seam, you would reduce the seam allowance to zero as you are theoretically butting up raw edges to make a flat seam. This wasn’t entirely possible with my fabric (more on that later), and I would still be using about 1/4 inch of the 3/8 seam allowance. I (naively) figured this extra 1/8 inch wouldn’t amount to much issue, especially since I had cut the smaller of the two sizes I fell between.
Well! This resulted in a very baggy cardigan. You wouldn’t think that a bit of looseness would look terrible in a cardigan, but that, combined with the too-long sleeves (I had forgotten I’d chopped off three inches last time) and the super light-coloured fabric made the whole thing look like a bathrobe. I never wore it out of the house, but decided I wouldn’t deal with it quite yet as I had more pressing things to sew (namely a bunch of light tops for work).
This weekend, I finally got around to adjusting the sweater. I actually cut off the sleeve entirely so I could take it in 1/2 inch and up another 1/2 inch at the shoulder. I basically chopped off the cuffs (and the extra 3 inches in length while I was at it), sliced up the sleeve seam and continued about 10 inches down the side seam, slowly easing out to meet the completed seam just below the bust. This made me close to leaving it as a vest, but I think that is a project for another fabric. I chopped 1/2 inch off all those seam allowance and sewed them back up. The cardigan looks much better now, though I am still not sure I love it.
I’m curious to know about other techniques or patterns for reversible garments. I have a solid 1.5 m of this fabric left and another 2 m of a double sided striped knit. Does anyone have any wisdom or inspiration for working with these fabrics?