Pattern Review – Making the Lenaline – Alex Sweat, and learning to sew with wool cashmere fabric
As my second Makerist project I decided to make myself the Lenaline – Alex Sweat but as an autumn jumper. So this was quite an exciting make for me and something that I might not have even attempted last year. This year I have been trying to go out of my comfort zone and try things I haven’t made before. It might be a style I have never attempted, or fabric I haven’t sewn with. This is where this pattern comes in.
Selecting a Pattern
One thing I always need in my wardrobe, is knitwear – but the problem is I cant knit! So I decided to try a bit of experimentation and see if I could create a knitted jumper but with cut and sew seams. In Oct I wrote a blog post on Makerist about the patterns I would choose for my Autumn capsule wardrobe. So, I decided I would sew some of them and make my dream wardrobe come to life. One of the patterns I chose is the Lenaline Alex Sweat. It’s a classic sweater pattern with a round neck and a dropped shoulder seam that looked quite a simple. This seemed like the perfect pattern to experiment with.
Alex Sweat Process
After a bit of research, I found some perfect wool cashmere mix fabric on Etsy. I selected a wool knit, rather than a woven wool as it has all the properties of a knitted jumper. I always worry about buying fabric online as you can’t touch it before you buy, but the photos and the colour looked perfect.
When the fabric arrived, I was thrilled with the quality and softness of it, just want I was after. As I’ve never sewn with knit wool like this before I decided to do a few sewing tests first. I experimented with my overlocker – slightly loosening and tightening the tension until it was perfect. Because of the loose weave of the knit it did stretch while stitching so I decided to start with a small loose zigzag stitch. This stopped the fabric from stretching as I sewed, and will also strengthen the seams.
After printing the pattern, I measured the pattern pieces against a jumper I already had and liked the fit of. I wanted it to be loose, slouchy and relaxed but not too oversized. After comparing to my jumper, I decided to go for the smallest size – Do note that the Alex Sweat pattern does not include seam allowance. I decided based on the stretch of the knit wool fabric that I would cut out without seam allowance. But I just added a couple of inches to the sleeves and jumper hem.
I also didn’t add it to the neckband and them realised before I sewed it that I wanted the neckband to be a bit wider so had to re cut it.
After all my stitch experimenting, the jumper went together quickly and was way easier to sew than expected! After I had made the bulk of the jumper and just had the finishing to do I originally turned up the sleeves for a more simple look. I soon changed my mind and added wider cuffs.
No major adjustments with this one, as I was sewing with an unknown fabric. But I did lengthen the sleeves and made jumper, this was mainly as I had extra fabric and wanted a slouchy look.
Tips for Sewing with knit woollen fabric
*Cut and sew quickly, it may start to unravel if you’ve moving it around too much.
*Stay stitch if needed, this will stabilise and stop it stretching too much.
*Experiment, do a few different tests and work out the best stitches for your fabric, I did a small zig zag with an overlocked edge close by.
*Press gently, you don’t want to squash it with too much pressure, but lots of steam works wonders.
*Be prepared for stretching, as with most knitwear it may stretch as you wear it – so size down if you need to.
Would I make the Alex Sweat again?
As I’ve now realised I can make my own jumper, without having to learn to knit I am hooked! The Lenaaline Alex Sweat pattern also comes with a dress version, which would be lovely in a wool knit for winter! Or maybe making the pattern as it was designed in a lovely sweatshirt fabric.
Interested in making the Alex Sweat or any other patterns on Makerist? Use my code for 15% off ruby-rose-15
Check out my other Makerist blog, sewing the ‘ready to sew’ Jeanne t shirt.
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