Comfort knits for Fall
November 2, 2020
by Barbara Emodi

Some sewists start with an idea, some with a pattern, but I start with the fabric. 

I browse and feel the fabric (these days in my mask, trying hard to keep my glasses from fogging up) and I decide what my hands want to work with.

This fall I was particularly inspired by the range of knit fabrics I saw at my local Fabricville at the bottom of my street. I definitely feel that these days require highly comfortable easy-to-sew clothes. I know it’s what I will be wearing in my currently home-based life, and my mood is in a relaxing sewing mode. There are no high stress projects going on in this house that’s for sure.

These two knit fabrics caught my eye, and even better they coordinate. The first was this really lovely sweater knit .

It’s 50% rayon, 28% nylon, 22% polyester but really feels like a natural fiber knit. I actually was planning to hand knit a red cardigan, was feeling like this was something I needed, but since I am the world’s slowest hand knitter I was delighted to see this in yardage.

The pattern I choose was one I have made before and knew would work, Jalie’s Charlotte cardigan:

It’s a great versatile pattern that I adapted to the more slouchy look I wanted by adding about 6 inches (15 cm) to the length.

This cardigan requires buttons. However I really didn’t want to interfere with the softness of the fabric with a buttonhole so instead I used those larger snaps that are now available. I am so glad someone thought of these snaps – such a nice alternative to buttons and buttonholes in many fabrics. Note I used a Wooly nylon thread in the loopers of my serger to get more complete coverage of the edges of the knit fabric on the inside of the button band.

Of course when you sew on these snaps right through as I did for stability, some of the hand stitching will show on the right side of the garment. When the fabric has loft, as of course this one does, I think that looks fine:

For the dress to go with this cardigan (definitely a comfort wear ensemble but really what else is appropriate for 2020?) I chose another Jalie pattern, this one the Nicole dress

To be honest the first time I made this dress a year ago I felt it didn’t suit me. I sewed it up in my regular size, working from the bust measurement, but as you can see it’s a fairly fitted pattern. My first attempt with this pattern articulated my mid section more than I really felt was useful, if you get my drift.

However I really I did like the style a lot so I implemented a strategy I am using more and more with my Jalie patterns that have a very body conscious fit with minimal ease. What I do is figure out how wide I want the garment to be (I measured an old and favourite knit dress) and then use that measurement as the match for the body measurement in a particular size. So for this dress I ended up going up two sizes to get the exact number I wanted. The really nice thing about Jalie is that there are so many pattern sizes and as they only go up by 1 inch (2.5cm)  each size it is really easy to play around with the sizes to fine tune the fit exactly.

As a result this dress, in a really wonderful full body double knit, comfortable with this fiber content, 42% polyester, 32% viscose, 22% cotton and 4% spandex, fit exactly the way I wanted it to.

I am extremely pleased with this outfit  for the season and so glad that we sewists have such access to so many interesting knit fabrics.