Thank goodness for the Fear Fabric Challenge this month! I'm not sure I would have sewn anything if I didn't have this goal in mind. Dealing with my husband's hospital stay, and now with a bad cold, sewing has been on the back burner this month. I'm glad I had an excuse to push myself and try something new. And here it is!
My Fear Fabric is a lovely black crochet knit from Girl Charlee (they're sold out of black, but here are some other colors). Because I was pretty scared of it, I paired it with a simple pattern, the Fiona Cardigan from Style Arc. The Fiona was the freebie in June, so I received it with my Jennifer City Shorts that I ordered back then.
I decided to cut the bands for the edges (and the sleeve cuffs) out of a plain black knit. These sections are all two layers, which would have looked kind of strange in the lace knit. I also thought it would give me some more stability to include a regular knit. I also just like how it looks!
You can't tell from the photos, but the outside band and the facing are two different knits, and therefore two different shades of black. I didn't really think about how the facing would fold back and show the underneath side, but I didn't have a choice due to fabric limitations. Both black knits are also from Girl Charlee. One is plain cotton jersey and one is a cotton/spandex knit.
Before I started sewing, I did a couple of tests on scraps so I could adjust my serger settings. I found that it helped to turn up my differential feed, and to widen the stitch width. Thankfully, the lace is a cotton/nylon blend, so I was able to press any waviness into submission. If it had been 100% synthetic I don't know if it would have worked as well. I did need to use my Clover clips to hold the fabric together, pins just weren't cutting it.
One note about this particular pattern: the line drawing doesn't show it, but there is a center-back seam. Normally I would be excited about that, since it allows for a better fit, but since my lace essentially has vertical stripes, I cut my back piece on the fold instead. I didn't want to break up the lines. In the future I'll definitely insert a seam there.
When I feel like garbage, you have to deal
with far-away faceless photos.
The entire cardigan was sewn on my serger in one day, which is FAST for me. It would have been faster if I hadn't screwed up which part was the center back of the band and which part was the side seam. Black is also kind of hard for me to SEE which made the work slower. The instructions did recommend topstitching the band (although the SA directions called it "flat stitching") but I skipped that. My bands were staying put without topstitching, and unless I can use my coverstitch I generally don't topstitch knits.
The fabric turned out to be just as difficult as I expected. It got caught on everything and I found myself filing my nails halfway through so it wouldn't snag. Using a serger helped, of course, but even then it had a tendency to be spongy and move a bit. In retrospect, it probably would have helped to add clear elastic to the shoulder seams, but I was concerned about it showing through the lace. I did also use a wider seam allowance (1/2" instead of the pattern's 1/4") when sewing the band to the lace bodice. That part had three layers and it was easier to make sure I caught them all with a larger seam allowance.
Another year, another fear fabric conquered! I have a bunch of the lace left over, so I might make a few scarves out of it. If you're related to me, you might find one under the Christmas tree with your name on it :)