{Tips & Tricks} Blind Hems & My Toaster Sweater #2

Happy Monday, friends! I'm dropping in today to share my Toaster Sweater #2 with you, and a couple of tips I have for when you sew yours!

First off, let me just say that I'm really glad I bought into the Toaster Sweater hype. I've now made both (the sweater knit version of TS#1 below is over on the Cali Fabrics blog - check it out!) and I'm obsessed. They're so easy to make, and an excellent substitute for a hoodie when you need to throw on something warm to run the kids up to the bus stop without your clothes screaming "I haven't had my coffee yet!" 

Now.. how 'bout those tips?? 

First. Fabric choice matters. Knit patterns don't work with all knit fabrics. 

Toaster Sweaters (both of them!) require at least 20% stretch - that DOESN'T mean it's an ideal fit for slinky Rayon Jersey or that cut of Double Brushed Poly folks are so wild about right now. Scrolling through instagram examples of Toaster Sweaters I saw too many that looked gigantic. I worried at first it was drafted on the big side, but now I think most people sewed their right size without realizing how their super-stretchy fabric choice was going to leave them with a droopy, oversized garment in the end. Bummer! Getting the right fit from your patterns starts with using the right fabrics for the job. In this case, you need something stable. The sweater knit I used is thick and densely woven - much like a ponte. It was perfect for the job!

That said, I let doubt creep in that my fabric would stretch enough, so I sewed the garment with a 3/8 seam allowance (for a little extra wiggle room!) instead of 5/8 like the pattern called for. You might think that hardly makes a difference, but now all I can see is that my shoulder seams are almost exactly 1/4 too wide on both sides. Boo-hiss, self! Trust the designer! I'll fix that at some point. Or hope the knit shrinks... and wear it anyway until it does.... 

Second: Embrace the Blind Hem

The nifty mitred corners of the hem here rock! But they're NOT coverstitch friendly. The pattern suggests finishing hems with twin needles (which my sewing machine believes is the work of the devil) or zig-zag stitches (I "cheat" and zig zag plenty on the kid's clothes, but on grown up attire I think it screams "homemade!"). Personally, I think Blind Hems are the way to go. And contrary to youtube, you do NOT need a special foot to pull it off. I'll share my video demo below! You can see on my sleeve hem the subtle ladder stitch detail it gives:

Lastly, the styling.

Remember when I said I want to cover more than just sewing in 2017?? Well here ya go!

  • There's a LOT of fabric up around the face in these toaster sweaters. This makes it a less-than-ideal candidate for print knits - except maybe really subtle ones: stripes, micro-prints. Whatever you're wearing, YOU want to be what people see first - not your clothes. Stick with solid fabrics or scrumcious cold weather textures of all sizes (tiny cable knits? Yes please! Giant chunky sweater knits? You betcha!) ICYMI: I went into great detail about my fabric/pattern pairing process last week.
  • Ditto with the accessories. You don't want the awesome neckline details of either TS#1 or TS#2 lost under your jewels! Skip right over your collection of necklaces and reach for your dangliest earrings instead.
  • Still not loud enough? Rock a bold lip color. I don't often fangirl cosmetics (what the heck do I know about that world anyway?) but I'm totally smitten with Revlon's ColorBurst Balm Stain in "Crush." Life's too short for boring lips! 
  • Still STILL not loud enough? Go for print pants! Fashion is all about balance - if you're bored to tears up top you can go as bold as you want everywhere else. I went with camo pants this morning, but only because my floral skinnies are in the wash. Oh man - I never did blog those - or share them anywhere outside the Capsule Wardrobe Group I guess. My bad! 
GO BOLD OR GO HOME.

GO BOLD OR GO HOME.


Special thanks to the hubs (who actually reads most of these blog posts - thanks for the support babe!). He played photographer for me before he even had his coffee this morning. Whatta guy! 

Have you made either toaster sweater yet? What'd you think? I'd love to hear any other feedback you have in the comments below!