Do you live for cozy sweaters but don’t knit? Then Simplicity 8738 is the jumper for you!
With Simplicity 8738, you can take ANY sweater-y knit and turn it into the snuggly pullover of your dreams, no knitting needles required. (Yes, I know the fabric I used obviously was machine knit, but you get the idea.)
Guys, I really don’t think I’ve overselling this pattern: It’s easy to sew and fit, and it delivers mega comfort. Read on for fabric and construction details and reflections on what I’ll do differently next time I sew Simplicity 8738.
Why I Sewed Simplicity 8738
Like I said, Simplicity 8738 is a sweater without the knitting. I love sweaters, but I don’t love knitting.
Upon examining the pattern, I also liked that it only was four pattern pieces (at least the view I planned to sew). So, along with being a sweater, it was going to be a QUICK sweater. Super bonus! Plus, because of it’s relaxed shape, there was basically zero fitting with this sweater.
Simplicity 8738 also filled a hole in my wardrobe. I lack long tops to wear over leggings, which is a look I’ve always enjoyed and found comfortable and functional, especially in cold weather. It’s like wearing a skirt or dress without the bare legs. Leggings can be quite warm; because they’re skintight, they don’t let in cold air.
And there was a $1.99 Joann sale on Simplicity patterns, so I thought, why not?
This is 195 gsm premium Merino wool from The Fabric Store in New Zealand (bought with my own 💵, BTW). It’s the fourth (I think?) garment I’ve sewed with Merino wool. (Related: Should I do a Merino wool fashion show? Leave a comment!). The color, for the record, is marsala.
This fabric is warm and lightweight, but not too lightweight. It’s wool, but it’s soft enough to wear against bare skin. It’s glorious, but expensive. I did buy it when The Fabric Store was running a sale, and the exchange rate works in favor of USD. But it wasn’t cheap.
I used all-purpose poly thread on my sewing machine and serger. I used wooly nylon thread in my sewing machine bobbin for a little extra stretch.
My Simplicity 8738 Modifications
Because Simplicity 8738 is a Big Four pattern, I immediate was suspicious of its ease. My body measurements were somewhere between small and medium. I measured the pattern pieces and discovered my hips would have enough ease in an extra small. So, that’s what I sewed. Silly Big Four ease.
The only mod I made was shortening the sweater by 1.75 inches. I wanted it to completely cover my bum; the pattern’s designated dress length was too long for mah bod.
My Order of Construction
Maybe this also is a mod, but I didn’t follow the instructions. In general, I don’t like Big Four instructions, and after if you’ve made a knit shirt or three, construction order is obvious.
Here’s how I sewed it up:
- Sew shoulders together with twill tape to stabilize.
- Sew the turtleneck, including basting inside and outside layers wrong sides together (to make it easier to sew the turtleneck to the sweater body).
- Sew the turtleneck to the joined front and back pieces.
- Sew the sleeves flat (vs. in the round) to front/back.
- Sew sleeve and side seams in one pass.
- Muck about with the thumbholes.
- Hem sleeves.
- Hem bottom.
What I’d Do Differently
1.) Serge Everything.
Well, almost everything. Let me explain!
I sewed the sleeve and side seams with my sewing machine because of the thumbhole. There needed to be a spot in the sleeve seam that was open for the thumbhole, and I thought reinforcing that area would be easier with a sewing machine (because you can’t backstitch with a serger).
Next time I make Simplicity 8738, I’ll serge but leave a gap, thread my serger tails back into my line of serging, and backstitch with my sewing machine at the thumbhole opening for strength.
(I still would baste the turtleneck layers pre-installation with a sewing machine, of course.)
2.) Give the Sleeves More Length.
When I use the thumbhole, it feels a touch too stressed. I would add a teensy bit — maybe 1/2 inch? — to the sleeve length. And I’d slightly narrow the sleeve at the opening so the sleeve pooled a bit at the wrist.
3.) Size Up the Turtleneck and Neck Opening.
When folded over, the turtleneck is a little too tight for my taste. I think a slouchier turtleneck would look better on a sweater this relaxed. I’ll use the small (or medium) neck opening and turtleneck for the next iteration of 8738.
4.) Sew with a Thick Knit.
This pattern — the tunic view, in particular — is BEGGING to be sewn in a glorious thick, chunky knit. Maybe I’ll splurge on something from Ojolly? What’s your favorite source for thick knits? (Leave me a comment!)
5.) Troubleshoot My Serger’s Blind Hem Stitch.
My serger, while using a blind hem foot and two-thread narrow flatlock, missed stitches after serging over an intersection. The blind hemming isn’t great when the fabric isn’t flat. If I were sewing on a sewing machine, I’d use a hump jumper to keep the foot flat, but I don’t know if that’s an option with a serger foot. Perhaps I should slow waaaaay down to make sure my fabric-needle alignment is on point?
Got any suggestions?
I’m excited to make this pattern again, and I think it’d be great in a variety of fabric. (Edited to add: Hey, here’s a time I DID make it again: Work in Progress: Rainbows Bursting from the Seams 🌈.) Plus, I think it’s WIDE open for hacks — side zippers, pockets, cuffs, etc. How would you hack it?
P.S. ICYMI, here’s the previous post: Sewing My First Pair of Ginger Jeans.
P.P.S. I did a bunch of Instagram Stories about sewing Simplicity 8738. Check out the collected highlights — @sie.macht.sewing.
P.P.P.S. Two pattern reviews in a row?!? WHO AM I???
P.P.P.P.S. Here’s my senior picture, guys. Enjoy.
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