Belted Sweater | Sewalong | Neoprene Edition
Did you know it was DPL’s first birthday on the weekend? One year old! 365 days later and I still fail to grow tired of our first pattern: The Belted Sweater.
I’ve even got my make-time down to an hour for this iconic staple. I love sewing with unusual fabrics and pairing patterns with a rebellious textile choice. As always, I’m finding new ways to enhance the design and fall back in love with this quirky jumper time and time again, this time it’s all in the name of neoprene.
WORKING WITH Neoprene
I used a 3mm thickness, if you are using a domestic sewing machine I would advise 1-2mm. The textile itself will still offer plenty of structure and achieve the finished look.
When basting, I set my machine to the longest stitch length, if you don’t have an overlocker then this is absolutely fine, just do the same.
Neoprene is so durable, tends not to wrinkle or crease and really holds it shape which can lend itself to exciting silhouettes and modern design. It is advised you hand wash for after care but can iron in the same manner you would for any polyester knit.
Use a heavier duty needle and a little less tension in your stitches.
If it is your first time working with this fabric a knit foot or walking foot may serve you well.
Just take it slowly and enjoy the process!
NOTES BEFORE WE START
Although neoprene doesn’t fray, I decided to add another design detail by constructing in a contrast thread. If this isn’t for you, simply cut your pattern pieces carefully and revel in the joy of clean edges.
Before you start, please note you only need to cut TWO belt pieces, not four, and only ONE neckband (both front and back). This is due to the bulk that layered neoprene would create, given we also find ourselves saving fabric it’s a win win!
Neoprene and scuba, although similar, are not the same fabric! I love a rebel however, so feel free to use a scuba alternative and follow along with the same instructions.
Please note the instructions in the following post differ slightly from those in the PDF instruction booklet to accommodate working with a slightly trickier fabric. There is no right or wrong way of making the Belted Sweater, so long as the outcome looks the same! Oh the beauty of sewing.
Pin the sleeves together at the notches as marked to form two box pleats; baste 0.5cm from the edge to ensure the stitching is within the seam allowance and the pleats are secured.
Put to one side and pick up your two belt pieces.
If using a contrast colour, finish the edges of your two belt pieces before neatening any leftover thread.
Pin, baste and sew your shoulder seams together.
Pin your belt pieces between the lower two notches on the side seams, marked on your front bodice piece. Baste.
This is where the instructions deviate slightly from the original. We attach the cuffs first!
But first we need to reduce the bulk that folding the cuffs could create. Cut 1cm above the fold line to trim your cuff shape with seam allowance still in mind, this is halfway along the cuff lengthways, plus one CM.
Finish one long edge of your cuff in your contrast thread.
Still using the original notches, align your cuff to your sleeve edge matching at the pleats. Pin. Baste. Sew.
Attach your sleeves to your bodice by pinning right sides together and matching at the shoulder notch and both side seam notches. Pin. Baste. Sew.
Given our statement belt is pretty long, tie the belt pieces together and keep them out of the way whilst we finish construction!
Right sides together and with your belt pieces safely out of the way, pin both sides of the garment from the cuff, along the sleeve and down the side seams. Baste. Sew.
Place the front neckband and back neckband right sides together and sew.
Finish the edges of your neckbands (the small inner circle) - If you are choosing to leave your edges raw, you may need to trim away the 1cm seam allowance from the neckbands so you can fit your head through! (Try it on at the end before deciding).
Pin your neckbands right sides together to the bodice matching the notches and aligning the shoulder seams.
Another top tip when aligning seams is to put your pin through the seam line. You should match up perfectly every time!
Turn it all out and relish in your structured, modern, cosy neoprene pullover of dreams!
Fancy making one of your own with alternative textiles? Purchase the pattern below.