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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!