Finished projects: A cozy knit jacket, an icky v-neck, and a chunky scarf

Knit Jacket (Butterick B5789)

Brrrr… it’s cold here in Florida this weekend. Perfect weather for my Saturday sewing project, a comfy knit jacket!

Butterick B5789. I made up view B.

Butterick B5789. I made up view B.

I purchased this pattern during the winter holidays with the intention of created view “B.” I bought some thick moss green knit fabric for the jacket, but both pattern and fabric sat on my shelf for a few weeks while I figured out how to work with knits through the Sewing with Knits course. I started sewing this up around noon yesterday and finished around midnight. It would have taken way less time if I had not had to reinsert the sleeves about a thousand times each. Even using basting stitches, sleeve insertion was not pretty. The sleeve has a sort of pointed oval shape due to darts defining the shoulders.

The sleeve darts- they look lux and reinforce the shoulder.

The shoulder darts- they look lux and reinforce the shoulder.

They look lovely on the finished garment, but made the sleeve an awkward shape to insert into the sleeve opening. (I also took breaks for meals, snacks, and playing with/shooing the cat  out of my sewing materials. For some unknown reason she is obsessed with my seam ripper. She loves trying to bat it around the table, on the floor, etc.)

Here is the finished jacket:


Me- headless in my new jacket.

An attempt to show the side/back of the jacket

An attempt to show the side/back of the jacket

I cut the small. The only alteration I made was to the sleeves. They were too short, so I added an extra bit of fabric to give it a cuffed look. It’s not perfect, but I think it looks okay.

Through this make, I learned that the stretch stitches on my machine are okay after all (I wasn’t happy with them after my last project). I think the problem had been the fabric and not my machine. For this jacket, I used a sort of basket weave-looking stitch (I have no idea if it has a name…). It is super stretchy and, since I can’t use a double needle, I think it looks pretty along the hem of the jacket. It gives it a nice finished look.

The stretch stitch

The stretch stitch

The finished jacket is incredibly comfortable. It covers my bum, so I think I will wear it a lot with leggings and boots.

The v-neck t-shirt

Oh, ick. Just ick. I created the second knit top in the Sewing with Knits course, a v-neck t-shirt, and the pattern is all wrong for me. I don’t tend to wear v-necks because they nearly always hit my chest at a bad spot giving the world quite a peek at my cleavage. This v-neck was no exception. I’d have to wear a tank under it and I hate having to do that. It’s too hot in Florida to layer tops! So, I did not take any photos of this make and I doubt I’ll ever wear it. Since I adore the scoop neck t-shirt I made from the course (and have worn it several times already), I’m going to chalk this one up to style and move on.

Chunky scarf

Although I didn’t get much sewing done during the week, I did work on the scarf for my brother’s birthday. I finished it late Friday night.

It clashes with my top, but you get the idea...

It clashes with my top, but you get the idea…

The design is called “man scarf” and I found it through  I widened the scarf by eight stitches and kept going until it was long enough to double and wrap around my neck comfortably.


My brother has been doing a lot of snow boarding recently, so while this isn’t the sort of  scarf he’ll want to wear on the slopes, I think it will be nice when he’s back at the lodge with the guys enjoying a few beers. His birthday isn’t until May, so maybe I can figure out how to make a matching hat by then?

Yarn used: Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends in tomato. I used 2 and 1/2 skeins.

Time until completion: About a month. I worked on it a bit at a time each night after work.

Up next on my sewing table and on the knitting needles?

I have all that lovely plum yarn from a shopping trip a few weeks ago… I think it’s time to make a scarf for me!

This afternoon, I cut the pattern for a silky top with a warm weather vibe. I hope to get started on it this evening.


Late to the party…

My Jungle January sewing project is finished… in February. Oops.

IMG_0582I apologize for the truly terrible pictures. Snapping photos is tough when you live alone and your cat doesn’t have thumbs (I’m quite convinced she would help me out if she could).

This top was the second clothing item I created with the materials and instructions provided by the Sewing with Knits class I purchased on a while ago. It proved more complicated than the fleece hoodie I first made for the course. As I mentioned in my last post, the neckline of this top gave me fits and the hemming was a disaster.


The finished neckline isn’t half bad…

I discovered that my machine isn’t compatible with a universal twin needle and my stretch stitch options are terrible. My machine has several “stretch stitches,” but they looked awful when I used them on this fabric. Despite fiddling with the tension, the stitches kept pulling the fabric and causing it to bunch up. It looked generally horrid. My machine won’t let me adjust stitch length which may be part of the problem. Since I couldn’t get any of the “stretch stitches” to work, I stuck with a zigzag stitch. It works, but isn’t as professional a finish as I would like. The finished arm band is below. The hem around the body of the shirt looks the same.

My arm- very close up!

My arm- very close up!

In order to tame the fabric so I could hem it, I used ultra-light Stitch Witchery fusible bonding web. The knit tape I ordered online hasn’t yet arrived, so when I found Stitch Witchery at the fabric store, I decided to give it a go. To my amazement, it worked and enabled me to sew up an even hem. 

I wore this shirt today to conduct some focus group interviews for a research project and felt pretty darn good in it. The fabric is very soft (I think the best way to describe it is an ultra-light sweater weight) and I love the leopard spots. When I mentioned to a friend at lunch I had made my top, she was appropriately impressed.

I have enough of this fabric left over to create another shirt. I’m going to try the next knit piece in the course, a v-neck t-shirt in the same fabric. I think I’ll make it up with short sleeves for a look that is a bit more casual.

In knitting news:

I am nearly done with the scarf I have been making up for my brother. My next knitting project will involve increasing and decreasing stitches. I think it’s time I learned how to do more than just knit and purl. Plum colored yarn will be involved…

Hemming knits… GAH!

Today, I tried to create a second item from the Sewing with Knits class on the scoop necked t-shirt with 3/4 sleeves in a roaring leopard print knit. It’s still a work in progress…

This photos is incredibly unflattering. The shirt is actually super cute.

This photos is incredibly unflattering. The shirt is actually super cute.

After making up the hoodie in an afternoon, I was optimistic about how easily and quickly the t-shirt would come together. It wasn’t quite as simple as I’d expected. The sleeves and sides sewed up quickly, but the neckline was a nightmare. I sewed it up and ripped it out six times. It sagged and went in unevenly. I’m not sure if it was due to the type of knit fabric I used or if having such problems is typical when working with knits. Either way, I was really hating that neckline.

The finished neckline isn’t perfect. There are some spots where it is stretched out a bit, but overall, I think it looks okay. The fit of the shirt is fabulous. I cut the extra small due to the fact the small hoodie was a bit big. It was a good call on my part and I love the way it fits.

I’m done except for hemming the bottom and the sleeves. I tried to hem the bottom and this happened:

Uneven hem disaster

Uneven hem disaster

More seam ripping ensued.

Meg, the course instructor, suggests using a knit stay tape to stabilize hems. I thought I could get away without buying any. Obviously, the hem is not a place to cut corners. I ordered the tape she recommends, fine fusible knit stay tape from SewKeysE. Now I have to wait for it to arrive. (sigh) I am not known for my vast quantities of patience.

Even if I had the stay tape in hand, I wouldn’t be able to finish this project. I’m nearly out of black thread! A trip to the fabric store has been added to the errand list for tomorrow.



I was hoping to dazzle in my new shirt this week, so I’m disappointed it isn’t finished. I am, however,optimistic the stay tape will solve my hem problem and I will have a lovely new shirt to add to my wardrobe.

’80s night & inspiration for a T-shirt refashion

Dressed up for '80s night with the lab group.

Dressed up for ’80s night with the lab group.

Last night, the research lab I work with held its 2nd annual holiday get-together. We went with an ’80s theme and dressed up for a night on the town. I decided to use ’80s exercise gear as my inspiration. I paired black Loft leggings with legwarmers and a men’s T-shirt from Target to achieve my rad ’80s look. Unfortunately, my bangs refused to stay in a teased poof.

The lab ladies.

The lab ladies.

An evening of arcade games and bar food was exactly what we needed to battle end-of-semester blues.

Now that our fun evening is over, I’m trying to figure out what to do with the big white T-shirt.

My T-shirt fresh from the dryer and needing an ironing.

My T-shirt fresh from the dryer and needing an ironing.

I think it’s ripe for a refashion! I hit up Pinterest and found lots of inspiration.

I love the ruffles on this one from The Renegade Seamstress:

The pompoms on this T-shirt scarf created by The DIY Dish are super fun:

I also really like the lace on this scarf (from an Etsy-like website…):

Finally, the empire waist on this T-shirt make-over by Amie on Kitty Cats and Airplanes has potential:

Unfortunately, in order to achieve my ’80s look, I cut the neckline of my T-shirt. It’s uneven and hangs off of my shoulder which will present an additional challenge. I’ve never refashioned before, so here goes nothing!