Every time I make some kind of pronouncement – like “Hey, I’m into sewing colorful fabrics now!” – I seem to go out of my way to defy myself. Well, it’s happened again. No sooner had I written that post did I sew a string of neutral projects.
The evidence is quite damning:
- Navy jumper dress
- Black tunic
- Grey Shield Cowl (knitting project, unblogged)
- Grey & silver tote
- Indigo Morgan jeans
- Dark denim Morgan stretch jeans (unblogged)
- Silver linen origami pillows
- Navy Simplicity 2406 top (unblogged)
- Black voile McCall’s 7325 (unblogged)
In addition to these nine (!) projects, I sewed a couple of grey pieces in March. One is a total success and the other a total failure that I could use some input on.
First up – the success! These pants are sewn up in a thick linen woven using Vogue 8909.
I’ve sewn the pattern up three times before, blogged only once as part of a tiger costume.
This time, I shifted the front seams in by another inch and added 2″ of ease to the hips in the rear. I like my hip ease. I’d also shortened the rise by 1″ in an earlier iteration (and as you can see, they are by no means low-rise even after the alteration.)
I also lowered the back yoke line by 1″. These are my dream lounge pants, but nice enough (I think? I hope?) to wear to my casual-ish desk job.
And now, the fail: a longline cardigan based on McCall’s 6886.
To be clear, I think the pattern was a good choice for this project. I altered McCall’s 6886 to include a front opening and a low v-neck. I also think these photos of the cardigan look GREAT.
The fail is due to the fabric. I washed this 100% wool sweater knit on cold, and dried it in the machine. (Worth noting: I am cavalier with most fabrics. For a pre-wash, I machine wash and dry almost everything except coatings and lace. I baby my fabrics later by minimizing washings and line-drying, but I like to minimize surprises if a piece accidentally gets thrown in the wash.) No unexpected shrinkage, BUT the grainline shifted dramatically. The horizontal striations were now at a jaunty angle. After consulting with the fabric seller, I had mostly straightened it by dampening it and blocking it. So I cut and sewed it and was happy with it. As I wore it, the side seams began to skew but not so terribly that I wouldn’t wear it.
But, as time went on, the fabric relaxed, especially in the arm scye. Back it went into the washer/dryer, after which the side seams skewed dramatically to the point where the buttons now form a diagonal line across my front. Not only that, but the button band edges now form a very ripply fold.
I’m not here to blame the seller, because I think every fabric care suggestion would tell me not to put wool sweater knit into a washer or dryer. But, I am curious – is this sweater knit intrinsically off-grain or did I make it so?
I have a yard or so left, and my thought is to sew something leaving the striations slanted and let the fabric do what it wants to do. I see quite a few RTW garments do that, so while it’s not my favorite look, I wouldn’t be conspicuous and the fabric wouldn’t go to waste.
Lastly, I shall leave you with a bonus project – the black tank I’m wearing with both of these grey projects!
It’s another McCall’s 6886 in black viscose, bringing my neutral sewing total up to twelve pieces. It’s quickly become one of my most-worn pieces as my two black RTW tanks (purchased in 2008 and 2011) disintegrate. I love the drape of the fabric.
Thanks for stopping by, and please do share any knowledge you might have about knit fabric grainlines!