Friday, May 14, 2010

Cutting up the Whistler

I've finally done it! Gotten myself to tackle the sewing and cutting of my Whistler sweater.

I got an early start this morning, figuring if anything went wrong I had all day to either fix it, make up for it by succeeding at something else, or drinking a lot of beer in an attempt to forget it.

But never fret, your beer supply is in no danger because things went well!

I started by measuring the width of the top of the sleeve and then measuring that far down on the side seams so I would know how far to cut. I tried to err a little on the small side because it'll look better to have the sleeve a little gathered than the body of the sweater.
I should clarify that I don't really have side seams since the body is knit in the round, but you can see where I inserted a purl stitch. It makes a little gap running up the side edge which 1. makes it easier to keep the body from twisting and 2. provides a guideline to sew straight in the following steps.

But first I had another thing to deal with. While blocking, I noticed some of the white stitches were too loose at the top of the sweater. I was going to leave it because it wasn't too bad, but then I realized that I was about to cut this sweater so I could fix this with no ill effects at all.

So I pulled the white wool from the front and back toward the side seam until I had the right tension and left all the extra wool looped at the side seam:
Now, I didn't want to sew it down like that--I mean that's a mess!! So then I thought of using some masking tape. I pulled all the loops to the side I wasn't sewing and taped them down:
Then I sewed down the one side of the gap from the right side.
I set the machine to a narrow close zig zag and followed the left half of the first knit stitch to the right of the gap (marked by the grey line).

Here's the first side sewn down:
Then I removed the masking tape, smoothed the loops down to the other side, and taped them down again:
Then I sewed it down, following the stitch on the other side of the gap. At this point, I cut off all the extra white loops since they were sewn down on both sides and secure.

Since I'm using superwash wool which doesn't stick to itself like untreated wool, I sewed down each side one more time and across the bottom for a little extra security. For the second pass, I moved out from the gap and sewed down the other side of the knit stitch.
After two passes with the sewing machine, you can see on the wrong side the two lines of stitches and the nice column of knit stitches which will be my guide for cutting:
Cut right down the middle of that"gap" stitch and you get this:
Now I am set to sew in the sleeves, sew the shoulder seam, and sew down the sleeve facing.

The neck required some stitching and cutting as well, but was less trouble. I set the zig zag just a little wider and straddled two stitches for the neck. I ran up and down once on either side of the center stitch (no "gap" stitch here).
I decided not to sew it twice since it seemed to be holding really well, and this area will get less wear than the sleeves.

A trip down the center stitch by the scissors gave a nice slit down the center front.
Stitches will be picked up along these edges to knit a facing and then the collar. And then I install a zipper or Norwegian style clasps.

Then sew down the hems of the sleeves and body, insert the shock cord, and it will be done!

I don't think I'll be making any more progress on this today, but I feel like I've pushed this project over a big hurdle and now progress can continue at will!

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