Could you promise to sew one pattern a month for an entire year? That’s what I’ve committed to as a participant in Project #SewMyStyle.
#SewMyStyle is an effort to raise awareness about the slow fashion movement and to encourage more young sewists to stitch their own wardrobe. Sewists tag their makes #sewmystyle on Instagram and show them off on the last Sunday of every month. (Click here to check out the 2017 sewing schedule.)
I signed up for #SewMyStyle because I want practice sewing — and wearing —different styles that I might not normally explore. It also will be fun to play along with the online sewing community. (We’re a social bunch!)
January’s #SewMyStyle pattern is the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2, and it’s got style to burn. Keep reading for a Toaster #2 sewing pattern review, including tips!
Behind the seams of my Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2
My Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2 is made in super-spongy Rag & Bone French terry I ordered from Mood. The terry has a ton of body, so the sweater stands proud from the body.
Generally, I’m not into garments with so much body, but the A-line shape of Toaster #2 works very well with the weighty French terry. The terry also is super squishy, and I want to squeeze it all the time.
I’ve been thinking about my wardrobe lately. I’ve mentioned on my socials that I’m working on Colette’s Wardrobe Architect. Part of thinking critically about my wardrobe includes evaluating my best colors.
I think I’m good at picking colors that flatter. I’ve researched color seasons (autumn, spring, summer, and winter), and I’m confident I’m a winter — light eyes, fair skin, and dark hair (well, my hair is mostly dark, with a bit of platinum — it looks especially silvery in these pics because the color was new!).
Winters look good in white, black, and navy (among other colors). Armed with this info, I thought I’d give the creamy French terry a shot. I think it’s working for me. What do you think? Anyone out there care to chime in with a different color season conclusion? I’m listening.
I don’t wear a lot of off/white. My world is filled with little boys with yucky hands, and, being real here, it may be a challenge for me to keep this sweater pristine. The first day I wore it, I got foundation on the cuff and a bit of tomato soup on the front. I noticed these stains right away and was able to wipe them off quickly. I’m good about pre-treating laundry. We’ll see if I have white regrets.
I sewed Toaster #2 in small. I’m especially happy with the fit through the shoulders.
I did a 1-inch hem on the sleeves instead of 1 1/8 inch hem. Along with being long waisted, I also have monkey arms.
I like having my long sleeves a little long, and the 1-inch hem puts the sleeve at the bottom of my thumb knuckle.
The generous sleeve length is a smart counterpoint to the big side slits and high-ish front hem. The long sleeves help with clothing climate control — the bottom lets air in, and the sleeves keep air from escaping.
What I love about the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2
I adore the Toaster 2’s neckline. I’m calling it a turtle boatneck. It reads a little mod to me; do you see that, too?
I love the side vent. I was anti-side vent for a long time. I think it’s because I’m a child of the ’80s/’90s, and I got tired of split hems on the ubiquitous polo shirt.
But now I’m looking at split hems as an interesting design detail on basic tops. Fashion is so, so, so cyclical.
The design of this sweatshirt pattern is very clever. It’s a relaxed silhouette sweater, but the vents show a sliver of skin to keep the top from totally swallowing your figure.
As someone who lives somewhere with an aggressive winter, I’m always on the lookout for clothes that are warm and stylish (acknowledge that yes, I do have curves and skin under all those layers).
To me, winter style goes something like this: Show some collarbone. If you can’t show some collarbone, show some wrist. If you can’t show some wrist, show some side.
What could be better about my Toaster #2
Adding an inch
Because I’m long waisted, and I could have added an extra inch without making the design’s proportions look off (especially when you compare my pic to the official Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2 pic above). But — cropped tops are hot right now, so I’m just going with it.
Extra length would provide me additional coverage when I raise my arms. (This is important when I’m carrying a squirmy toddler.)
I plan to make the Toaster Sweater #1, which is a more traditional sweatshirt pattern, and I will add length to the bodice pattern pieces.
I sewed the hems with a zig-zag stitch, and turning corners with the zig-zag proved tricky. When zig-zagging, I’m not great at determining whether my needle should be on the left or the right.
I wanted the corners to be be a tight point (vs. a half-box — see above). I was correct about needle position only sometimes.
I should have practiced on scrap fabric to understand needle position before I started sewing Toaster #2. That way I would have understood where the needle needs to be when I’m turning fabric clockwise or counterclockwise.
Tips for sewing a Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2
Use a tiny tool for cutting
The neck is self-facing. I struggled to cut the deep curve of the neck with my 45 millimeter rotary cutter and instead used my super-sharp embroidery scissors. The task made me think that I need a smaller rotary cutter for tight curves.
Trust the lightning stitch
I sewed seams with the “lightning” stitch. The pattern, at different points, recommends a double stitch (straight stitch with a zig-zag stitch right next to it) or a three-step zig-zag stitch.These stitches are recommended because they’re strong. Personally, I have confidence that my lightning stitch will not break when stretched.
Lengthen the ditch stitch
The pattern calls for stitching in the ditch to ensure the neck facings stay down. Lengthen your stitch for smoother sewing through fabric layers. I learned that from sewing a Toaster #2 muslin.
Know that fabric drives ease
Sewing two versions of the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2 gave me insight into how fabric impacts sleeve easing.
My muslin was a mid-weight 100 percent cotton knit with low stretch. With the muslin, I used a lot of pins in easing to make sure my seam would be pucker free. I first basted the seam and then sewed the lightning stitch over the basting.
With the French terry version’s sleeves, I barely had to ease. The heavy body of the fabric reduced easing a lot. Good to note for future sewing projects with set-in sleeves!
Press allowances toward sleeves
With both sleeves, be sure to trim the seam allowance and press the seam toward the sleeve (vs. pressing the seam open or toward the bodice). Your arms naturally push the allowance toward the sleeve.
Let the notch guide pressing
After you sew the side seams, the directions call for pressing the vent seams open 1 1/8 inch. Press them open to the notch on the angled edge. It will make the mitering the corners and turning up the hem easier for you a few steps later.
Trim the inside corners
When you sew together the angled edge for the mitered corners, trim the inside corner. Reducing bulk makes the corner smoother when you turn it right-side out.
Direct seam downward
I pushed the miter seam toward the bottom. (The directions don’t talk about pressing it open or to a side.) Pushing the seam toward the bottom puts the bulk of the seam and gravity on the same team.
Employ a seam gauge
As I sewed the bottom hem, I relied heavily on my seam gauge. I set my seam gauge to 7/8 inch (per the directions) and marked where I needed to pivot with pins at the corners. With such a deep hem, I couldn’t eyeball where to make the turns with great accuracy. Slowing down at the turns always is a best practice!
Now it’s your turn, sewists! Have you sewn the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2? Do you have a favorite sweater or sweatshirt sewing pattern? I feel like chic sweatshirts are having a moment. What’s the most squeezeable fabric you’ve sewn with to date? Please sound off in comments!
P.S. If you’re interested in what else I’ve got cooking for 2017, check out my post about my seven sewing goals for the year.
P.P.S. If you like this type of post, why not check out these reviews?
Sew Over It Molly Top: Stripes around my shoulders
Erin sews Erin: Sew Over It Erin skirt pattern review
Shorts pattern review: High-waisted Seamwork Weston
Well done! See, you’re off to a great start. Your sweater looks very neat and professional, and your tips and diagrams may save other sewists a lot of heartache. I’d call the neckline a “funnel neck,” but modern usage of that term seems to mean “cowl neck.” Fashion!
“Anyone out there care to chime in with a different color season conclusion? ”
Thought you’d never ask! Next time you need a LOT of girly reading material, check out Imogen Lamport’s Inside Out Style blog. She’s not into the four seasons system (most image consultants aren’), and talks more about color contrast, value contrast, texture, clarity…. fascinating stuff, but only when you’re in the mood for it.
Meanwhile, I learned to make buttonholes on my machine this week. My machine and its manual are German, and I couldn’t follow the instructions well enough…. the right side of each buttonhole looked totally different than the left, but I fiddled with the stitch length and width until it magically healed itself. I mean, I googled it first and looked at videos, but no one seemed to share my problem. Progress!
I also sewed French seams for the first time; I was just making some rectangular bags out of mesh, nothing fancy.
I will check out the Inside Out Style blog! Sounds interesting. My hair has lightened up A LOT this week and is much more blonde… so maybe I’m not a winter anymore, ha ha. Can you be winter at the roots? 😉
RE: Buttonholes – try and try again, right? Did you interface under the holes? That could maybe ease your woes.
RE: French seams – I LOVE them. They’re so tidy! Probably my favorite way to finish a seam.
Wow, Erin, I love this post. Thanks for all the great details, I’m happy with my Toaster Sweater 2 make but wish I would have added some length to the front hem too………Also, I love your blog!
Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer! I’d like to make some more Toaster 2’s… with a little more length. Gets a little chilly on the belly, LOL.