Thursday, 26 November 2015

Completed: Wool Muse Jenna Cardi

When I went back to school in September, one of my main goals was to make time for sewing, knitting, and blogging, especially since I now have not only one sewing machine, but two!

Three months later, I'm at that point in the semester when all my labs are finishing up, I've been done with midterms for a week now, and I'm realizing that I definitely haven't been keeping up with that goal! In fact, my sewing machines are still sitting on my living room floor because I don't yet have a desk for them. My desk for studying never seems to be clear for long enough to use it as a sewing desk! I'm lucky enough to have space in my student apartment for a small dedicated sewing space, but I still haven't bought the table I need to set it up.

Anyways, although I haven't been sewing, I still have so many unblogged projects to write about. I originally wrote this post back in the summer in between rounds of the Super Online Sewing Match, but never finished editing the photos for it! Now that Montreal is starting to feel a little wintery, I've been wearing this a lot lately and thought it was a good time to (finally!) post about it!

I had quite a few comments on this cardigan during Me-Made-May this year - it's my second version of the Muse Jenna Cardi, made in a wool double knit that I bought in Montreal during my first fabric shopping trip to Rue St. Hubert. I made this when I was home for Christmas (so, almost a year ago, oops!)

My first version of this pattern fit pretty well, but it needed a couple adjustments. When I first made it, I was expecting it to be much too long, so I shortened it 1 1/2". This turned out to be too much, so I lengthened it 1", so this version is only 1/2" shorter than the original, which is just about perfect.

I took in the shoulder seams 1/4", which makes them sit a bit better on me. They could still be narrowed a little, although they may have just stretched out a little. If I make another, I'll stabilize the shoulder seams with clear elastic (in fact, I might go back and sew some to the seam allowance of this one, to stop them stretching out more).

Although I ended up shortening the sleeves on my first version to 3/4 length, I noticed that they were quite wide before I chopped them off, so I narrowed them by 1/2" on either side for this version. I narrowed the cuff to match, and I shortened them 2". I think Muse patterns are drafted for someone quite a bit taller!

I sewed all the seams on my mom's serger, and the topstitching was done on my regular machine, with a ballpoint needle and a straight stitch. Oddly enough, I find that a straight stitch stretches more when it's topstitching a serged seam allowance flat. It's all I've ever used for this kind of topstitching on knits, and I've never had any problems with broken stitches! For hems, I still use a twin needle or a narrow zigzag, though.

Although this fabric is amazing to wear, it was tricky to sew with. I didn't really have any problems until the button band, which I realized was far too short when I went to attach it! I think it shrunk when I fused the interfacing to it (I did pre-wash it, but in cold water)! I luckily had enough fabric left over to squeeze an extra button band out of it, making it extra long. After I'd interfaced it, I cut it to the right length.

The fabric also definitely has some spandex, whereas the fabric I used for my first version didn't. The vertical stretch from the spandex made attaching the button band quite difficult! The top layer kept stretching, and as a result, there are a couple little tucks in the stitching on the inside, but nothing is visible from the outside, so I decided to leave it. Unpicking serging is such a pain - that's one advantage to sewing knits on a regular machine!

The topstitching was equally tricky, because the fabric kept wanting to stretch and bunch up. I eventually got it to look decent, though it's definitely not my best topstitching. This would be a lot easier in fabric with less vertical stretch!

After this, I decided that making buttonholes in this fabric would be far too finicky, so instead I attached snaps by hand. These buttons are only decorative!

These buttons have a somewhat interesting story - I finished this cardigan while home for Christmas, aside from attaching snaps and buttons. I didn't have any buttons that I wanted to use, but I knew that I would be able to buy some in Montreal. Once I attached the snaps, though, it took me at least a month to get myself out to buy buttons! It's not that it's really that far by metro to Rue St. Hubert, but it was difficult to find time to make the trip.

When I finally did, it was an afternoon that I had no labs and no immediate studying to do, but it was also one of the coldest days in February (and Montreal had a record-breaking cold February)! I was planning to go to Rubans Boutons, a store that specializes in buttons, but it was so bitterly cold and windy that I just ducked into the first store I saw that sold buttons and bought these. It was a really difficult shade to match, so instead I went for these black-brown buttons with a little flower detail. I love them, and they were really inexpensive.

I think that with the little tweaks to the fit, and a nicer (to wear) fabric, this second version of the Jenna turned out much better than the first. It's a super versatile piece and nice and cozy! The only things I don't love is that the style doesn't look so nice unbuttoned, so I might experiment next time with making it into a V-neck with a continuous binding around the neck and button band. In some of these pictures, I unbuttoned the bottom half, but it's not the most flattering way to wear it!

I should also mention the top I'm wearing in this post, since I probably won't post about it on its own. It's my fourth version of the Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren, my go-to knit to pattern. I whipped it up when I needed a simple project to get back into sewing when I was home for reading week. The fabric you might recognize if you've been following for a while - it's leftover from a Moneta dress that I made last summer.

I made it with 3/4 length sleeves and added on extra ease at the hips, like my third Bronte, and I'm pretty happy with it. I goofed and overlapped the shoulder too much, so when I took these pictures, the neckline was really tight and not super flattering.

Note to self: just because you've already made a pattern three times, doesn't mean that it wouldn't help to glance at the instructions! They say clearly that you line up the notch on the front piece with the edge of the back piece when they overlap, but I went ahead and lined up the notches on the two pieces, meaning that I overlapped them a lot more than I was supposed to!

It would mean a lot of unpicking serged seams to fix this, so I just left it, accepting that it wasn't my best make. But, I realized pretty quickly that I wasn't wearing it, so it needed to be fixed. The first thing that I unpicked was the stitching that tacks the two layers together, and I realized that this fixed the problem! It now bunches up a little around the shoulders, but with such a busy print, it's not noticeable. For such a simple knit top, it was an easy fix, so I'm happy with it! I haven't had a chance to take any pictures since fixing it, but I find it much more flattering now.

Anyways, I'm not going to convince myself that I'll have time to blog again while studying for finals, but you can keep up with me on Instagram, where I'll share some sneak peeks of my holiday knitting (that I'm NOT going to leave to the last minute... right???)

Until next time! Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers, and thanks for reading!