Happy new year everyone!  I hope the year has treated you well so far.  After the tumultuous events of 2020, let’s hope 2021 will treat us kindly.

Have you been sewing much? My sewing time has been very limited as we have been busy at the store.  And we just launched our new website which has a better layout, a better search feature and, of course, more fabrics for you to peruse. Which means I’ve been busy taking stock photos and making listings for them.

One drool worthy fabric that arrived just before the new year, is this Portland fleece.

It is a printed french terry fabric made of 100% cotton.   I took a piece home and machine washed and machine dried it.  It fluffed up nicely, with minimal shrinkage, into quite a dense sweatshirt fleece-y fabric.  I knew instantly that I wanted to make the Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven patterns.  Yes, I’m a little late to the party as this pattern has been out since 2016 and it won the Best Knit Top pattern award from PatternReview.com in 2017.  A sewing friend had suggested I try this pattern but I had to wait for the perfect fabric to show itself.

Ask and ye shall receive!

The Toaster Sweater is advertised as a beginner level garment.  (Bonus!)  Since I’m not a fan of the hi-low hem, I chose to make Sweater #1.  Here is its description.

Sweater #1: Is a closer fitting, semi-cropped sweatshirt/sweater. It works best when sewn in thick, stiff knits with some body to keep the neck standing upright. It features raglan sleeves, a wide waistband, a loose turtleneck, long cuffs and falls between the high and low hip. It’s great in a standard sweatshirt fleece (with stretch) however, it’s also extremely handsome in a sweater knit to dress it up a bit.

These sweaters are designed to be constructed using knit fabric with at least 20% stretch around the width of the body.

While the construction of this pattern is easy, be sure to mark your notches and even label your pieces (particularly the front and back bodice pieces) as they can be easily mixed up.  I pinned a large safety pin to my back bodice piece so I wouldn’t forget if I had to leave the project mid way.  Based on my body measurements (40″ or 101cm bust), I cut a size L.

I decided not to serge my seams as I found the finished seams too bulky.  Instead, I used a stretch stitch on my sewing machine then pressed my seams open.  There is even the suggestion of top stitching the seams with a twin needle.  While I do have a cover stitch machine that could do this in one go, I ended up top stitching the seams one at a time.  The twin needles were too narrow for the bulk of the fabric and didn’t really show up.

I also have a love/hate relationship with my cover stitch machine.  When it works, it’s great.  When it doesn’t work, it requires much time and patience to undo.  I have been told that if you pull the correct thread it will miraculously unravel but I have not yet been able to find that ‘correct’ thread.  And all it takes is one skipped stitch for it to not work!

I even debated about top stitching the cuff seams.  Thankfully, my sewing machine has a free arm so I could insert the sleeve and rotate.  If your machine doesn’t have a free arm, I don’t know how you would top stitch the cuff seams!

As you can see in the photos below, I have a short neck and short arms.  While the model in the pattern picture above has neck to spare even with the high collar, my head just clears the top of the collar.  And check out the length of the sleeves!  The designer does mention in her blog post that she designed the sleeves to be extra long.  I ended up shortening the cuffs by 1″ (2.5cm)  because when I tried on the garment for size, the unfinished sleeves (as in without the cuffs) came 2″ (5cm) below my wrists.  Not that this is a terrible thing.  When it gets chilly, I can keep my hands warm inside my sleeves.

Have you sewn the Toaster Sweater?  What did you think about it? I’m interested to hear your feedback.