Work in Progress Wednesday

I’m working on two cream polar fleece Toaster Sweaters today.  I’d made one for Daughter No2 last year, in the Autumn and she loved it – until I put it in the wash with a whole lot of dark things.  Not cream anymore!  Still wearable, but dull and dingy.  So I promised I would make it right, naturally.  In the meantime, Daughter No1 announced she’d rather like one in that colour please, not the dingy one, a nice cream one.

Ever obliging, 3m of polar fleece was duly purchased from Closs & Hamblin, washed and ready to go.  I cut the straight Medium for Daughter No2 and the Small (across the body and in length and width of sleeves) for Daughter No1.  She likes a looser fit across the top half, so I cut the medium in the raglan and neck area.  Make sense?

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A little pile of small pieces, cuffs, collar and hem band

The fleece is lovely, they say it’s anti-pill and I really hope it will be.  It’s a lovely colour, warm but not too buttery-creamy.  It cuts easily and doesn’t want to roll.  Now normally I’d use the overlocker for 95% of the construction of a Toaster Sweater, leaving the sewing machine to do the topstitching.  But my trusty Janome is out for a service, and I’ve drafted in the Queen of Diva Overlockers, the Bernina.  She’s a tough old cookie and will not do a 5 thread overlock with chain stitch for me at all.  I’m reliable informed she’s not the only one, so it’s not just me.  So I used the sewing machine to sew all the seams, overlocked and trimmed the edges with the overlocker, and went back to the sewing machine for twin needle topstitching.

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Overlocking and triming the seams of the raglan

With the construction of the Toaster, I pin all the pieces I can and bulk sew, production line style.  So that’s the cuffs, neck and hem band and all the raglan seams, then I feed them through the machine, one after the other.  Then the small pieces are turned through, seams pressed to one side and I pin the raw edges together, matching the notches, so they’re ready to be attached to the body.  After the raglan seams are done, I topstitch then add the neckband – before the side seams are done!  So much easier to do neckline treatents when your garment is flat people!

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4mm twin needle for topstitching, using the centre line on the machine foot to line up with the seam, finished topstitched seam

I used the 4mm stretch twin needle for this job.  It gives good distance with the seamline running in the centre.  Once all the small pieces are attached, they can be topstitched too.  I added a little bit of ribbon to the centre back of the neckline, different on each one.  This is so I can tell them apart and not deliver the wrong one!  It’s also a nice touch to mark out the back when one is getting dressed in the half dark, which is coming…

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Blue and cream ribbon for Daughter No2’s Toaster, and olive green and white spotty bias for Daughter No1’s

I have just over half a metre of the cream fleece left over after cutting these out, I might have to get a little more (maybe in a different colour) to make something else.  Waste not, want not!  But before I get carried away, I need to finish these!

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Finishing touches

Hopping on the Bandwagon

So, last year, or it could have been earlier this year, my Instagram feed was chocca block with sewists singing the praises of the Toaster Sweater and the Saunio Cardigan.  It seemed every second person was sewing either one or both of these patterns.  I didn’t get it, and made a Talvikki instead!  However, I’m here to set things right.  The Toaster pattern eventually made its way into my pattern collection and now that I’ve finally made it up, I know what all the fuss was about!

There are a lot of pieces, which means it needs a little more fabric than it would if, for instance there was no separate hem band and double folded cuffs.  But it still only just needs 1.5m (all depending on how good you are at pattern piece tetris).  And it’s quick to make.  I start by pinning everything together that I can, the cuff seams, hem band side seam, back seam in the neck band and all the raglan shoulder seams, and feed them through the overlocker in a single long line.  After that it’s quick to turn things the right way out, fold along foldlines and pin in place.  It probably takes 2 hours, from starting to cut to the last finished stitch, quicker if you don’t topstitch the seams!

The reason why I reached for this pattern was a little post by Lesley (@sew_sleep_deprived) on Instagram.  She’d just purchased two fleece throws from Asda, and was going to make Toaster sweaters with them.  Good idea thinks me, quickly looking at Asda’s online offering of fleece throws.  They have Christmas fleece throws – CHRISTMAS JUMPERS!!  It took all of 2 seconds for me to decide I was going to follow her excellent example and get me some Christmas fleece throws!  Daughter No1 is addicted to anything Christmassy and the iconic Christmas jumper is right up her street!

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Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater

After hustling myself to the nearest Asda, I came away with a pack of two throws, one red with white dear and one plain cream.  After ripping out all of the coverstitch hemming all round the red throw I started looking at the off grain pattern and wonky cut edges.  Nothing lined up!  I decided to sacrifice the pattern being straight for the straight grain and proceeded to lay out my pieces.  It just all fits on, and that was the smallest size!

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All seams are topstitched with a twin needle

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But it’s so cute!  And warm!  It must be said that these fleece throws are 100% polyester and should be kept well away from open flames, Christmas candles etc!  Of course when Daughter No2 saw the finished result, she wanted one too.  She was happy to have the plain cream fleece, not being quite as wacky a dresser as her older sister!

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dsc_0006-01495468675.jpegAgain, the grain and the edges of the throw did not line up, but it wasn’t as bad as the red one so it was easier to get everything on and cut out.  She’s really happy with her new sweater, and I didn’t even need to lengthen the sleeves, a first, let me tell you!  She has asked me to make it slightly less baggy in the back for the next time, it might just be the fabric though.

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Only the cuffs, hem band and neck band were stitched on this version

So now it seems I have another TNT pattern, and have made another for Daughter No2 using a quilted navy jersey!  It was run up on Sunday at my sewing group.  This time, to make it less baggy I took in the side seams and made a very slight sway back adjustment.  We’ll have to see if it worked.  I love the fabric, again it’s 100% polyester though, but good colour!  I just hope it doesn’t pill.  I had hoped to cut two from the 2m length, but it wasn’t to be, so there’s enough for something else.  Maybe the padded neckline sweater from the previous post…

I love finding patterns I like the finished look of, and like to make!  It makes things quicker and I can almost picture my fabric in the pattern because I’ve used it so often!  I have a few TNT patterns, from trousers to jackets to tops, and if this post and the previous one are anything to go by, the Talvikki, Toaster and that padded neckline Burda top have joined the list!  I imagine it won’t be too long before she’s visiting from uni to collect the next instalment of additions to her winter wardrobe, there’s a coat toile waiting to be fitted…