Just been stitched

My cosy toaster sweater
in gorgeous Atelier Brunette French Terry Fabric

Blog / 8 February 2017

Sometimes when new fabric comes in to the shop I get so excited I end up thinking about it all the time and scheming ideas of what I could make! We’ve had so many new fabrics in over this past month (see lasts weeks post), but one of the stand out ones from me are the absolutely gorgeous lightweight French terry fabrics from Atelier Brunette. They are so soft with a fleecy loop back and the subtle metallic printed dots catch the light and make the fabric even more special and unique. It’s also nice and stretchy with a 30% stretch which means it will be even more comfortable to wear! ­

Sweatshirt type fabric in general has become more and more popular over the past year or so I’d say. Our Cosy colours range of fleece back fabrics have always been on our top seller list, especially at this time of year.

There have also been more and more patterns released for this type of fabric. The Grainline Linden is a classic, but there is also the Deer and Doe Ondee, the Named Talvikki sweater, IAM patterns Apollon Jumper, and Seamwork Astoria to name just a few. Recently I have seen so many gorgeous versions of the Sew House 7 Toaster sweater and the #2 version seemed ideal for the new French Terrys.

Pattern details and sizing

The Toaster #2 is a really simple design with a hi neckline that’s like a subtle wide turtle neck, and depending on the drape of your fabric, will hang loosely. It’s got side vents too and a decent hem depth which helps to weight the fabric down a bit and adds to how nicely it sits.

It comes is sizes XS-XXL and according to my measurements I’m a size small. The fit is pretty loose on this pattern and sometimes if that’s the case I’ll size down but I wouldn’t recommend doing that for this pattern. It is quite fitted around the shoulders and high bust, and then flares out from there. I did make the size small (without any adjustments) and if I had made the XS is would have been too tight across the shoulders.

When I got in touch with Peggy at Sew House 7 she suggested checking the finished length measurements for sweater #2 as some people had felt that it was quite short at the front. I had a look around at a few pattern reviews and there are a lot of people who have mentioned this, but for me it wasn’t an issue. I’m sure used to layering tops and always have a vest top on anyway.

Fabric and care instructions

I choose the Tinkle Rose design which is quite an unusual colour. It really depends what light you are in. Sometimes it looks really pink, sometimes more grey, sometimes lilac and the dots are a really pale gold.

Atelier Brunette recommends washing at 30 degrees on a gently cycle. I pre-washed mine at 30 degrees with 2 rinses and an 800 spin. When it came out the colour looked a bit patchy but once it dried it was fine. Think due to the lower spin, when I took it out the machine some parts of the fabric were just more wet than others, which made it look darker. I didn’t notice any shrinkage really but it probably did shrink a little bit so I would still recommend that you prewash before hand.

Construction and details

As I mentioned earlier, depending on the thickness or weight of your fabric, the hi neck line will sit differently. As this fabric is quite light weight it hangs softly down which I think gives a more relaxed casual feel to the top.

The facing is grown on and part of the main bodice pieces so the way you sew it will be a bit different to what you might be used to with a facing. I thought the instructions were pretty in-depth, so even if you have less experience with garment construction, I reckon you’d be ok.

I really like the side vents too and you’ll see form this angle that the front hem is roughly an inch shorter than the back.

It does have a loose feel over the waist and hips, which is great for me at the moment as it means I can easily just lift it up to feed the baby if I need too without over stretching the top.

The sleeve length is probably a bit longer than its needs to be but I don’t mind this really and quite like being able to pull it down to stop drafts on really cold days. The fabric is so soft I can easily just push it up my arm a bit if I need to.

Top tips – twin needle hem

Using a twin needle is how to get it right is something that I get asked about quite a lot. Setting it up isn’t really a hard as you would think but what can be tricky is getting the tension right and this will vary depending on the thickness and stretch of your fabric and how many layers you are sewing through.

I wish I knew all the answers and it can be hard to diagnose problems sometimes but here is a simple checklist of things to check and try out

  • Make sure you have the right needle for the fabric you are using, for example a stretch twin needle when its stretch fabric
  • The simple check of making sure your bobbin in the right way around and the thread is pulling off the spools on the top of the machine the right way around.
  • You are on a regular straight stitch and the needle is going to come down in the middle of your foot – using the hand wheel to check this. On my Brother sewing machine, when I turn it on it defaults to a straight stitch with the needle on the left hand side – if I used this stitch the twin needle would hit the foot and break, so I have to move it over to the middle of the foot.
  • Test it out on a scrap, going through the same number of layers you will be going through on your garment. Take a look at what it does and tweak accordingly
  • If its skipping stitches then try simply rethreading it again double checking that the thread is caught around all the little bits of the machine that it needs to be. This can also happen if the needle is blunt or dulled or if you use a non stretch needle on stretch fabrics
  • If you don’t get much of a zig zag effect on the bottom, and it looks like the upper thread is showing underneath, try increasing the tension of the upper thread on your tension dial a little
  • If that doesn’t work then you will need to lower the tension of your bobbin which can be a bit more tricky – its best to check your manual for this as it can vary depending on whether you have a front or top loading bobbin
  • If you can, lower the pressure on the foot of your machine. If the pressure is too much, it can stretch the fabric more as you sew and give that wavy effect.

Turning the corner with a twin needle

As the hem on this sweater has side vents, you need to turn the corner when sewing the hem with a double needle. This means instead of leaving the needle in the fabric and then pivoting around that point to turn it around, you have to lift the needle and then carefully rotate the fabric without pulling or stretching the threads.

Here is a little video to show you the jumper in real life and how to set up the twin needle and turn the corner.

In summery, I am so pleased with this make! The fabric is a dream to wear, so soft and snugly!

UPDATE - We are currently waiting for more stock of the Twinkle Night and Twinkle Grey colourways of the French Terry fabric. Atelier Brunette themselves are sold out at the moment and we are expecting stock at the beginning of April.

The good news is that this pattern is suitable for our other sweat shirting fabrics - you can find them all here in this link!