Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!

Finlayson Sew-Along: Choosing your fabric and supplies

8 Comments

IMGP1207

Let’s go fabric shopping!


Welcome to the Finlayson Sweater Sew-Along! Today we will be discussing fabric and notion choices. The Finlayson Sweater is a very flexible pattern – it will sew up nicely in just about any knit!  It looks great as a light summer sweater in knits with hardly any body (for example, a cotton rib knit) and it looks entirely different but just as awesome in a thick and cozy sweatshirt fleece.

To choose your fabric, you will only need to keep a few simple guidelines in mind:

Warmth: The Finlayson looks equally nice in a classic sweatshirt fleece (with a smooth right side and fuzzy wrong side) or in a thin waffle or ribbed knit.  A thicker, warmer Finlayson is perfect to wear over a t-shirt with jeans while a thin Finlayson would be really stylish worn under a blazer with slim-fit Jedediah pants!

Drape: Very drapey knits look lovely with the Finlayson but keep in mind that most men are not used to wearing drapey fabrics and that slinky knits tend to look a little feminine…so choose how drapey your fabric will be based on who you are sewing your Finlayson for!

Thickness (for your sewing machine): The Finlayson cannot be made with heavy-weight knits because the overlapped collar creates quite a few layers to sew through at center front.  Domestic machines can easily handle these layers when sewing through a light or medium weight knit but might struggle with a super thick fleece!

Stretch: The Finlayson body is quite loose and boxy and the neckline is wide enough to fit over the head even if the fabric you choose has very little stretch.  The only areas of the Finlayson Sweater that require a bit of extra stretch are the cuffs and the hem band.  This is because they are drafted considerably smaller than the body of the garment to create a tighter fit in these areas.  If your fabric doesn’t have much stretch it can be a little more difficult to ease in the excess fabric when sewing the bands to the garment.  Not to worry though!  We’ve included a second longer cuff piece that will be easier to sew in more stable knits!  Or…you could choose a contrast stretchy rib knit for the cuff and hem bands as is often seen on store bought hoodies (good luck finding a matching color though!).

 If you can’t find any suitable fabric at your local fabric shop, there are plenty of options online!

Finlayson Fabric choices

  1. Striped Black & White Cotton Blend Waffle Knit – Britex Fabrics
  2. Black Ethnic Diamond Baby French Terry Knit Fabric – Girl Charlee
  3. Sandalwood Cotton Modal Lycra French Terry Knit Fabric – Girl Charlee
  4. Rose Red Cotton Jersey Sweatshirt Fleece Knit Fabric – Girl Charlee
  5. Mid-weight Drapey Loden Green Wool Knit – Britex Fabrics
  6. Summer Sweater Knit Red – Harts Fabric
  7. Midweight Black Cotton Fleece Knit – Britex Fabrics
  8. Terry Backed Sweatshirt Grey – Harts Fabric
  9. Navajo Indian Blanket Red Mushroom Hacci Sweater Knit Fabric – Girl Charlee
  10. Organic Bamboo Charcoal Fleece – Simplifi Fabric
  11. Red Heather Sparkle Hacci Sweater Knit Fabric – Girl Charlee

logos

And now let’s talk notions


Since there are no tricky closures on the Finlayson, there aren’t many necessary notions.  All the same, I’ve got a few ideas and tricks up my sleeve to create a really professional and high-end hoodie or sweater, so if you prefer to take the extra sewing time, you can jazz up your hoodie with trims and stabilizers to your heart’s content!

Within the instruction booklet I’ve included options for finishing the neckline and the kangaroo pocket openings with twill tape.  Aside from twill tape, you can use all sorts of decorative trims to finish these areas.  For the neckline it is best to use something with considerable flexibility because the trim has to fit to the slight curve of the neckline.  Consider twill tape as recommended, cotton lace (soft and supple), or, hem tape or bias binding.  For the kangaroo pocket you can use just about anything because the curve of the pocket opening is so very slight.  Try any sort of ribbon or trim you would like!  Here are the ones I’ve collected for my sweaters (I went a little over-board choosing these…I obviously won’t be able to use them all :P).

Ribbon types

To stabilize the shoulder seams (always a good idea when sewing knit garments so they don’t stretch out and sag after a day of wear), you can use any of the following options:

Stabilizing notions

I like using strips of lining or selvages because I always have them on hand and they’re free!  Make sure to choose a thin fabric so you don’t add too much bulk to your shoulder seams.

My second favorite choice is clear swimwear elastic.  It is a little slipper to handle when sewing but it is very strong and resilient.  I also like to add this elastic to all the horizontal seams – such as the cuffs and hem band.  That way these seams won’t stretch out when the sweater is being put on and taken off!

A pretty option for stabilizing the shoulders is to use rayon hem tape.  I find vintage packages of these at almost every thrift store I go to and they are so cheap!  These tapes are very stable and very thin and you can find them in almost any color you need.

Have fun choosing your fabric and notions!  Please ask away if you are unsure of what to choose.  I’ll leave you now with my favorite fabric shopping tip: When in doubt about what type of fabric to choose, simply open up your closet or head to a thrift store/clothing store and examine garments that are similar to the pattern you are working with.  If you like how cozy your Lululemon hoodie is, for example, have a look at the care tag and jot down the fiber content.  Make a note of the fabric’s thickness and texture.  Or simply bring the garment to the fabric store and compare the fabric’s stretch and drape with your potential choices right on the bolt!

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Finlayson Sew-Along: Choosing your fabric and supplies

  1. Pingback: Where The Hell Have I Been? - Underpaid Nurse

  2. Pingback: No You Ditz! Its You Not The Machine - Underpaid NurseUnderpaid Nurse

  3. Quick question – Would this pattern work with a slinky light weight knit for a woman? Did I read that right? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Yes, as long as you can imagine wearing the fabric you choose as a sweater, the Finlayson is bound to work! Keep in mind that some slinky knits might be quite delicate so your sweater might receive a bit of wear when you pull it on and off over your head. Of course, slinky knits are prone to show any lumps and bumps from the shirt you are wearing underneath your sweater as well but that can easily be solved by wearing a close-fitting tank top or simply wearing the Finlayson as a shirt! The thinnest/drapiest fabric that I myself have sewn the Finlayson in so far is the one we ended up using as our photographed sample of Variation One (http://threadtheory.ca/products/finlayson-sweater). It is a hacci sweater knit that is loosely knitted and extremely drapey. It still looks nice on Matt but I actually prefer it on myself since the drape and ‘slinkiness’ ended up looking really nice and feminine on me! As for the pattern working on a woman, I really can’t wait to show you the two sweaters I’m sewing for this sew-along – with the one small adjustment to arm length that I made, they fit me perfectly! Woot!

      Please ask away if you have any more questions. Good luck with your sweater!
      Morgan

  4. Pingback: Finlayson Sew-Along: Sewing the neckline facing and shoulder seams | Thread Theory

  5. excellent! thanks, i must have missed that reference. i have my eye on some lovely options and now i can “narrow” down my choices… so to speak 😉

  6. is there are recommended minimum width of twill tape? i read through the instructions, and i see that if you use it to trim the neckline, then it also encloses the seam allowance. so do we need at least 1/2 inch? is 1/4 inch sufficient? what do you suggest?

    • Hi Erin, Thanks for contacting us! Yes, the recommended width of twill tape is at least 1/2″ (but wider tape, even up to an inch will work well too!). You are right that it needs to be wide enough to enclose the trimmed seam allowance. I mention this width in the Materials Required section under “Optional”…thanks for pointing out that this information was difficult to find! I will consider revising the instructions to add in the width within the instructions themselves too :). Have fun sewing your Finlayson!

What do you think? Leave a comment for me :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s