A Manly Striped Sweater

I don’t tend to do much sewing when it comes to men’s clothing, much to my boyfriend’s disappointment. Not really sure what my hang-up is —every time I find myself working on the odd piece of clothing for him, I am reminded of how much I actually enjoy doing this type of stuff. Not a lot of fit issues, frills, or funky patterns. Just simple and straightforward and… safe.

Since I average about one piece of clothing per year for my dude, I reckon it’s time to share for 2013—a striped sweater, in a very manly wool knit.

Men's Sweater made with wool sweater knit from Mood Fabrics

We found this navy/pea striped wool knit on Mood Fabrics and Landon immediately pointed out how much he loved it. I’m not surprised—like 3/4 of his closet consists of these colors, or stripes, or this particular cut of shirt. So I’ve basically just created the holy trinity of sweaters for him, I guess.

Anyway, I was iffy about the fabric when I ordered it, but a sweater was promised and I’m a girl who keeps her promises (plus, this gets me off the hook for having to knit the sweater. Yes! Lazy time!). The fabric is actually quite lovely in person – it’s a nice, stable knit, sort of like a ponte, so it holds stitches beautifully without getting all weird and wavy. It’s also wool, which means it steams up beautifully and doesn’t get that weird shine that you sometimes get when you stick a hot iron on ponte. I sewed this up on my serger—because it’s fast and durable (and this is a dude sweater, after all)—but this is totally the type of fabric that can handle a standard sewing machine making the seams, so fear not if you’re part of the serger-less population.

Men's Sweater made with wool sweater knit from Mood Fabrics

I’ll be straight with y’all – this was a very last-minute project. My original plan for December was the glorious plaid coat I’m working on, but I’ve had some issues with time management this month (and hand-tailoring takes foreeeever, and no, I don’t care if Peter can make a beautiful coat in a week STOP COMPARING ME TO A LITERAL SEWING MACHINE), so the coat, while still in the works, is not quite ready for her debut. Fortunately, knits sew up pretty fast, so I had this finished in a couple of hours – just in time to take some pictures and send the man off on a week-long business trip.

I did not use a pattern for this (see above: time management), but simply traced off an existing sweater that already fit him. From there, I sewed up the main pieces (front, back, and sleeves), tried it on him, and then added the binding for length. I somehow messed up the length of the sleeves (pretty certain that the original traced-off sweater had too-short sleeves, since these were exactly the same length, grr), but I was able to adjust the ribbing width and they turned out fine. Speaking of the ribbing, I tried to source a good navy but ended up with nothin’, so I just used this navy ponte knit from Mood Fabrics, left over from last month’s dress. The color match is perfect, and the lack of visible ribs actually looks pretty polished. So there’s that!

Men's Sweater made with wool sweater knit from Mood Fabrics

To get the neckline ribbing to lay nice and flat, it needs to be short enough to stretch perfectly within the opening. Even a fraction of an inch too long, and it will wave and flap out. Not a good look! Since I was working pattern-less and didn’t feel like getting my math on, I switched up the sweater construction so the neck ribbing is applied flat. It’s really easy – just a matter of sewing one shoulder seam, then attaching the ribbing to the open neckline (stretching gently as you go to pull out all excess length) while it’s flat. Then you sew up the second shoulder seam, being careful to match up the seamlines by the ribbing. Super easy, and it doesn’t require any intense maths or measurements. This is what I love about knits!

I also topstitched the ribbing at the neck with a twin needle, making sure to have the seam exactly between the two needles. I just like the way it looks!

Men's Sweater made with wool sweater knit from Mood Fabrics

Since I had quite a bit of wool knit left over, I made a quick scarf for Landon as well. Super, super quick – just cut two lengths of fabric, sewed them together down the long side, turned the tube right side out and then closed up the open ends with a bit of Stitch Witchery. Landon loves his scarf, and he promises not to wear it with the sweater like I forced him to in these pictures.

Men's Sweater made with wool sweater knit from Mood Fabrics

Projects like these make me soo happy for my sewing skills, since I can whip one up as a last-minute gift and know that the recipient is always super grateful. I actually really love how that scarf turned out and I’m currently eyeballing my knit stash to see what else I can scarf-ify out of it. What can I say? It’s December 18th and I’ve yet to buy anyone Christmas gifts, ha!

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Comments


  • Jenny
    December 18, 2013

    I *love* that flat neckband insertion tip! Am totally doing that on the 2 stripy Renfrews I have waiting in my sewing queue…

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      Do it! As much as I love applying ribbing in the round, the flat technique is so handy when you don’t feel like doing maths 🙂

  • carolyn roemer
    December 18, 2013

    I like the flat neck ribbing insertion with the twin needle finish around the edge using the seam line between the needles. I’m going to try that. I have 2 twin needles that I hardly ever use.

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      It’s great! Looks really nice, and also a quick fix if you can’t quite get the ribbing to lay flat 🙂 I love my twin needles, sooo good for knits.

  • Sarah Gunn
    December 18, 2013

    I’m wowed on many levels 🙂 Love the fabric (s) – can’t believe you didn’t use a pattern – can’t believe you made it in 2 hours – adore the scarf – the fit is perfect, and Landon is adorable!

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      Thanks, Sarah! Landon is a little cutie, isn’t he? He totally makes the pictures 😉

  • Ginger
    December 18, 2013

    This is so cute! I love the colors! Looks great on Landon! And I bet he’ll wear the scarf lots, too– two gifts for the price of one!

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      I think so too! The scarf was the first thing he said when he saw the fabric – “make me a scarf!” haha!

  • Amy
    December 18, 2013

    I’m so glad to finally see that fabric out and about. I’ve been wondering about it for awhile now since it was wool and since I enjoy my blues and greens. It looks great in a sweater for Landon! And as a scarf! And, using a solid ponte instead of a striped self binding looks really good. Bravo! Yay for quick gift sewing!

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      The fabric is really wonderful. It’s nice and stable and easy to work with (and press!) and it’s not itchy at all. I love the defined stitches, it totally looks like I could have knit it 😛 Except I didn’t hahaha

  • Peter
    December 18, 2013

    Great looking sweater and super idea to use the ponte for the bands. Now I must get back to finishing my coat! LOL

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      Oh yeah, just rub it in why don’t you! 😛 haha

  • Lori
    December 18, 2013

    Great looking sweater and Landon is quite the model. I am sure he was thrilled with his new sweater and scarf.

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      He definitely is! I love how much he loves the clothes I make him 🙂

  • MB@YarnUiPhoneApp
    December 18, 2013

    Re twin needle stitching….I used to do that until I got my coverstitch/serger…no more expensive broken twin needles! No tunneling to worry about it either. A coverstitch machine rocks!

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      I wish! I’d love a coverstitch – I’ve had my eye on a particular model for close to 7 years now – but sadly, it’s not in the budget at this time. Although I guess I could have make it work over the course of 7 years haha. Soon! Until then, I make use of the twin needles 🙂

  • Carolyn
    December 18, 2013

    Lauren – this is lovely! Not sure if that’s a dude word but seriously this looks great on Landon. Love that you got a scarf out of the fabric too…and I understand about the coat…it will be ready when it’s ready!

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      Thank you, Carolyn! You’re totally right – that coat will be ready when it’s ready, ha!

  • Amanda S.
    December 18, 2013

    Nice! I never sew for my man either, not that he’s begging me too. But I should cause it is so fast. Anyway, great job!

    • Amanda S.
      December 18, 2013

      Typo – that’s suppose to be “to” not “too”.

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      It’s very gratifying, I’ll give it that! But I’d personally just rather keep making stuff for myself 🙂 haha!

  • Wanett
    December 18, 2013

    Landon is a babe.

    And his sweater is cute, too :B

    • Lauren
      December 18, 2013

      Isn’t he? 🙂 He’s my favorite!

  • Jennifer
    December 18, 2013

    Oh this is very nice and I love the scarf as well

    • Lauren
      December 19, 2013

      Thank you! 🙂

  • oonaballoona
    December 20, 2013

    AH! this sexiness is exactly what i wanted to make ruggy before he was all ” but i really like a zip at the neck, you can do that easy right?”

    i think you know the answer.

    • Lauren
      December 23, 2013

      Gah, MSN needs more Ruggy. Why haven’t you blessed us with those photos yet?! 🙂