Monday, January 18, 2016

When a Blanket Becomes a Sweater - The Centerfield Raglan Hack

Friends, with snow on the ground and temperatures in the single digits I tend to walk the blanket aisles at some of my favorite stores.

When my eyes laid upon this blanket, I knew I had to have it.  To make a warm sweater of course!  With all that great texture and those argyle designs, whats not to love?

I pondered how to make the sweater I desired from this piece of fabric.  A cardigan that I could throw on over most anything was what I really desired.

Then it hit me.  I would use an oldie but a goodie.  A pattern that I had made many times and was definitely a TNT pattern.  I decided to use my Green Style Creations Centerfield Raglan T-Shirt pattern.  Rather than cutting the front piece on the fold, I lined it up so that the trim was used as the edges of the piece, but I knew that I needed a bit of extra in front since the pieces would not be connected, so I lined the trim up on what would have been the fold line.

I then flipped the pattern piece over and lined it up on the other side of the blanket.  These blankets were not made perfectly and they stretched some as they were folded on the store shelf, so it was a real hassle to try to straighten the grain (so to speak).  Note: I did not wash the blanket before making the sweater as I was afraid it would go further off kilter.

For the back piece, I wanted to get the fabric lined up nicely so that the center of the back was dead center between the two rows of argyle.  So, instead of cutting the back piece on the fold I cut one side, flipped the pattern piece and cut the other side.  Still resulting in one cut pattern piece, but giving me better control over the blanket/fabric.

I had decided that I wanted the back of the sweater to be slightly longer than the front with a side slit.  I forgot to cut the extra bit for turning back the side slit, but I did remember to use the trim bottom as the amount of extra for the back, making it easy to line the pattern up straight but get that extra bit.

I knew that I also wanted to have the argyle stripe run the length of the sleeve.  Unfortunately, that meant that I could not use the trim in it's original form which was a major bummer!  Instead I had to line the sleeve piece up on two separate areas of the blanket.  I marked where the argyle lines were on the pattern so that I could make my mirror image sleeve pieces have proper alignment of the pattern.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this step, because in truth I was not planning on blogging this blanket sweater.  I did take a picture of the bottom of the pattern piece to remind myself that I folded the bottom of the sleeve piece back to the short line since I was going to add trim back to the bottom.

My last bit of cutting was to get the trim piece for the neck and two pieces of trim for the bottom of the sleeves.  I cut a piece of the ribbed edge the size of the pattern neck band piece plus four inches to account for the extra trim in the front.  For the sleeves, I just lined the sleeve bottom piece up on the trim and cut two pieces of trim the same size.

Assembly of the sweater was pretty easy.  I used the serger (which just happened to have light and dark grey thread already in) to attach the sleeves to the front and back pieces.  I then attached the trim to the bottom of the sleeves and serged from the sleeve bottom to the lower edge of the hem in one long sleeve, stopping about three inches before the bottom edge of the shortest/front hem.  Next, I serged the collar on to the sweater.

Finally, I did a little bit of hand sewing to turn back the side slits and turn the collar in at the front edge.  That was it.  Between cutting, serging and hand sewing I ended up having about 2.5 hours in this sweater.  When I was sewing the Centerfield Raglan on the regular last year, I could cut and sew the shirt in an hour flat.  It's a great pattern that uses minimal fabric (which was another reason I chose it for this sweater).

What was that?  You want to see how it turned out?  Sorry...

Here is the blanket sweater on the dress form.  I don't have a name for the dress form yet.  Any ideas?

OK, since I am such a dedicated blogger I braved the sleet covered porch to take some actual photos.  Don't get used to it, and please forgive me if the pictures aren't up to normal par.

In this picture, I am holding on to the rail to keep from falling.  The look on my face is something along the lines of hurry up an take the picture before I fall and bust me arse!

In this picture I know the sweater looks uneven, but that is because of my stance.  I have both feet up against the bottom of the rail for stability.  The sweater is actually quite straight, though it could use a good steam.

Here you can see how the sleeve turned out.  I am thrilled with how the argyle aligned down the sleeve.  You can also see my compromised side slit.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I will plan better for the side slit and keep it from looking so wonky.  It too could use a good steam.

Lastly, here is the collar.  The left side is a little ripply.  I think that a good steam will also help here.

If you are interested in taking on a blanket sweater yourself, here is where I got the blanket (in radiant grey).  Though there are all kinds of great blankets out there that you could use, just google sweater blanket.  Bonus, a lot of them are going on clearance right now in the Northern Hemisphere.

So what do you think friends, will you give this sew a try?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Final Sew of 2015 - Indygo Junction Crossroads by Amy Barickman Sophia Swing Coat

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Plus Size IJ1133CR

Friends, just after Thanksgiving I was contacted by the folks at Indygo Junction to see if I would be interested in having some of their patterns.  No obligation.  I am going to be honest, when they contacted me, I was not at all familiar with their patterns.  I certainly had no idea that any of their patterns were of the plus size variety.

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Plus Size IJ1133CR

As I perused their website trying to decide if I wanted to take them up on the offer of free patterns, the first thing that caught my eye was the Sophia Swing Coat (Pattern IJ1133CR).  It looked like something I would wear.  In case you haven't noticed, I have a thing for raglan sleeves!

I welcomed Indygo Junction to send me a sampling of their patterns, but didn't dare request a specific pattern.  When the package of patterns arrived a few days later, I was delighted to see that the Sophia Swing Coat had been included.

With the holidays barreling down on me, there was no time to sew the precious coat before the festivities would swallow up most of the month of December.  Once the house guests were gone, the tree was packed away, and all the holiday cheer was a mere memory, it was time to get to sewing.

Pattern Cover Image from

I followed the instructions for the most part.  I chose to serge the sleeve dart, instead of using a straight stitch.

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Sleeve Dart

I actually serged off all the pieces before sewing the coat together, because this denim was fraying like crazy!

I didn't use any interfacing in construction, because I felt that the denim had enough structure that it really didn't need it.  I think most of Indygo Junction's patterns are intended to be able to be used with quilting cotton, because the yardage is given for 44"-45" fabric.

When the coat was finished, I decided to leave it open instead of installing a button closure.  I think I would feel like I was choking if I installed a button.

Couldn't even muster a proper smile here.

So instead of wearing it as intended, I will be turning back the lapel/collar and wearing the jacket this way.

That's more like it!

I really like that the Sophia Swing Coat has pockets that are big enough to hold a cell phone and/or my wallet.  Most likely I will be wearing this with a tunic over leggings, and that often leaves me pocketless!

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Pockets in Floral Denim

Indygo Junction Swing Coat Pockets

The back of the coat has a raglan style yoke with a deeply pleated back piece.  I like the style of this, and can see me using this style for other makes along the way.

Raglan Yoke - Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat

Raglan Yoke, Pleat and Sleeves Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat

The coat did turn out to be a little longer than I had envisioned, and when I make or hack this pattern again, I will certainly shorten the pattern a bit.  In fairness to Indygo Junction, I chose to make the long version of the coat, and it does hit me pretty much exactly where it hits the model on the front of the pattern.

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Plus Size Long Length

Here are a few shots of the insides.  In this first shot you can see the facing, as well as the junction between the raglan sleeve and the body of the coat.  I am really happy with how the sleeve darts turned out on this coat!

Indygo Junction Sophia Swing Coat Inside of the Coat

Here you can see where the facing was hand tacked at each of the sleeve seams.  You can also see how nicely the pleat came together.

Sophia Swing Coat Insides

Which reminds me, I didn't follow the instructions for the pleat.  I treated the pleat in a similar way to an invisible zipper, and sewed the pleat shut, pressed it flat, and then once the coat was finished I removed the basting to have a very nice pleat indeed!

Friends, what do you think of this coat?  Is it something that you would sew?

I have a lot of ideas for pattern hacks here.  I can see a front separating zipper being used.  I know that these sleeves are going to make their way in to other pattern hacks.  I can see turning this in to a dress, with a little more shaping on the top side.  I can even see lengthening the sleeves and making a nice lined wool coat with this pattern.  There are lots of possibilities to explore.

One last thing that I am truly pleased with...the coat actually looks like the sample images on the pattern cover.  Huge kuddos to Indygo Junction for that!!!

***This pattern was provided free to the Author of this blog, however all opinions expressed are the Author's own and not influenced by Indygo Junction Pattern Company in any way.***