top of page

Sweater Sizing Conundrum - Vicky Sweater from Seamwork

I've heard a lot about Seamwork, but this is my first foray into their brand.


Really liked the Vicky Sweater as soon as I saw it and knew exactly which of my fabrics I'd use for it....a vibrant boucle sweater knit from Sherwoods Fabrics.

The pattern and instructions were easy to download. There's loads of information in the instruction booklet with live links to useful articles.


This is the cover image

'Crosby is wearing a curvy size 18 graded to a 16

at the waist and hip. We also did a broad shoulder

adjustment. Her measurements are 46” (116.8 cm), 36

1/2” (92.7 cm), 48” (121.9), and she is 5’10” (1.78 m)

tall.'

'Maya is wearing a size 4 Vicky sweater graded to a 0

at the bust. We did a full bicep adjustment, added 2”

(5.1 cm) to the sleeve length and 1” (2.5 cm) to the body

length. Her measurements are 32 3/4" (83.2 cm), 27"

(68.6 cm), 37" (7.62 cm), and she is 5'10" (1.78 m).'


It has a wide size range 00-30 grouped into

Misses 00-18

Curvy 12-30

'Our misses

patterns are drafted for

a C cup and a height of

5'8". Our curvy patterns

are drafted for a DD cup

and a height of 5'9".'


The instructions suggest using your high bust to choose your size, but I was confused as there are no high bust measurements to use..... I'm only 5'2" and wear an F cup, however I don't do an FBA as there's only a 2 inch difference between my high and full bust. I decided to use Misses size 12 and shortened the body and sleeve by 2". The measurement chart tells you the finished back length, but the waist isn't marked on the pattern....it's always good to know the vertical distances between key measurements so we know the horizontal measurements are at the right level on our body.


It's designed for stable knits with 20% stretch. Don't forget you can buy my wooden Stretch Fabric Ruler so you've always got a quick way to check how much a fabric stretches whether it's in your stash or out and about fabric shopping.


Seamwork use 3/8" allowances for knit fabrics, the instructions say that this is the standard allowance on most domestic overlockers. This made me check my overlocker as I've used a domestic one since the 1980s. On it's widest setting using both needles mine is 1/4" so just be aware you might need to trim the fabric as you sew.


I like to use Abode Acrobat to open my PDFs so I can choose layers and which pages I want to print. As I often print a small size I can save a lot of paper and often just stick together the sheets for individual pattern pieces rather than trying to manage huge sheets.


I used a knit interfacing on both layers of the neck band as my fabric was super stretchy in both directions and I needed to get it under control! Interfacing the bottom of the neck opening is essential and is explained in the instructions.


Once I started sewing the jumper came together really easily. However; like any garment with a placket type neck finish you do need to take care at the bottom corners. The instructions say you can do all of the neck band on the overlocker. I chose to machine mine and only overlock when I was happy the front looked OK.


I was interested to see how the sleeve worked out as the pattern piece is an unusual shape. This is going to give fullness without any gathers into the cuff.

It's inevitable that the fullness creates a sort of pouch on the sleeve seam which drops causing horizontal folds which look fine on fabric that drapes.


I just remembered that I made the buttonholes before sewing the neck band to the garment as they're so much easier at that stage and I forgot the front has bust darts as they're not very common in jumpers. My fabric made it really easy to ease the side seams to fit in the bust area and it worked really well. I don't think I'd want a dart in this thick fabric.


Overall I was happy with the fit. The shoulders and bust fit well and I like the slight shaping through the waist and the hip area has just the right ease for me. The cuffs are a close fit which stops the sleeves slipping down onto my hands. However the neckline is too low for me. That might not bother everyone, but it falls away when I sit down or bend over....I certainly couldn't have worn it to teach in a secondary school...............


I was so happy with the fit of the jumper I'd definitely make it again if I could lift the neckline. But this is where I hit a problem.....lifting the bottom of the band higher up the centre front will change the angle of the neck seam from the front to the neck point, so I'd have to redraft both the neck and the band.


I needed to remove 2" from the band. You'll have to excuse my seriously filthy ironing board cover!


Pic 1 shows the shortened band in place without lifting it's bottom edge.

Pic 2 has the band lifted so it meets the back band at the shoulder seam.

Pic 3 zooms in to the bottom of the band. I've marked the centre front on both pattern pieces and the band is a long way to the left . Please ignore where it says CUT. I'll come back to this later when I'll explain more fully how I did the alteration

With the pattern altered I made version 2. This is still Misses size 12 using my altered front pattern piece and the back band from Curvy 12 as it's narrower across the back neck and matched the altered front much better than the Misses 12. The pieces from the 2 sizes aren't interchangeable, but it was confident I could make this work.

The fabric is deadstock, low stretch single jersey with a print flaw that made it perfect for a toile. I'm wearing it at the moment under my York pinafore which hides the misprint on the fabric. The neckline is great, possibly even a bit too high and the bust dart was in just the right place. I omitted the buttonholes and fastened it with my button brooch from @corriesfancygoods


Wondering why I hadn't noticed the neck was so low, was it because I'm much shorter than the models in the pictures or something else. Now you might remember I used the Curvy 12 back band because it was narrower and matched the altered pattern, and I'd chosen the pattern from the cover picture with the curvy model. It made me wonder if the curvy pattern has a higher neckline. It would make sense as the curvy pattern is designed for a DD cup. Taking a closer look at the misses model the front neckline is much lower.

How I wish that was made obvious in the description of the pattern.


Next I printed the Curvy 12 as the bust measurement was the same as the Misses 12 with the waist and hips being a bit bigger, but not significantly. If it was going to be too big it's easy to take in the side seams if necessary.


It was difficult to decide where to line up the 2 pieces, so I went for the CF and the shoulder seam. Hopefully you can see the bottom of the Curvy 12 opening is quite a bit higher than the Misses 12 and the neck edge is further to the right. It's what I expected as it's going to match the Curvy 12 back band with the narrower neckline.

Unsurprisingly the back neckline is different as well.

However this is where it got really interesting. I was really surprised how much difference there was between the upper back width of the two size ranges. I totally get that a pattern for a larger cup size needs more room across the front and possibly a narrower back. However this pattern is much narrower way above the bust level and after years of using patterns it looks a really odd shape.

The sleeve pattern also has big differences, but the Curvy armhole is so much bigger so it's not too much of a surprise.

Apart from shortening the body and sleeves I made a third version using Curvy 12 from Ponte Roma I bought at Economy Fabrics(a bricks and mortar shop selling deadstock fabrics just off junction 29 of the M1, no website as the fabric gets bought up too quickly)

I will wear this, but it's a bit too narrow on my shoulders and very tight across my biceps.

It'd be easy to say I need a bicep adjustment. I have muscles, but I've never needed a full bicep adjustment in over 50 years of sewing. If you look back at the picture of the back pattern pieces it's easy to see why it's too tight across the top of the sleeves....the back is too narrow so the sleeves are having to go further to the back to compensate.


The front hem of the Curvy pattern is curved to allow for the extra length needed to go over the bust, if you're using a fabric with horizontal stripes you might want to straighten the hem. The bust darts are a bit too low as well...that's possibly thanks to my efforts to make a supportive non wired bra. Bras make such a difference to the fit of the clothes we wear.


I do like this sweater, but ......in comparison to other brands I've used...

  • I often find V necklines too low on patterns by traditional paper pattern companies.

  • Traditional companies mark the bust point, waist and hip level as well as stating the nape to waist length. All these thing make it easier for me to shorten a pattern before cutting out. I wish companies would tell us the sleeve length of their blocks.....

  • I fall just on the border of the paper pattern size bands, however the larger sizes are still based on a 2" difference between high and full bust which is perfect for me. Whereas the two size ranges for this pattern is made from very different blocks, which I totally understand. However more information about how the size ranges differ would be so helpful.

  • I'm left unsure which size range of Seamwork patterns I should use. I guess it's the Misses and I need to be more alert to the neckline info and look more closely at the pics of the different models.

I became quite obsessed about the fit of this pattern, hence my 3 versions.

I enjoy helping people achieve a good fit when they make their own clothes and I know I'm reluctant to venture into different brands because I'm unsure how they'll fit. This has been an interesting exercise that's helped me understand the difference between Seamwork's two size ranges.


I'd love to know peoples experiences with Seamwork patterns, especially if you use the curvy sizes. How well do their patterns for woven's fit?


Thanks for reading what's already a lengthy post. Now I'm going to attempt to explain how I altered the Misses pattern to achieve the higher neckline.


Altering the Seamwork Misses Pattern to Raise the Neckline

OK, you've seen this picture before. It shows that once the band is lifted to the correct level and lined up at the shoulder it's too far to the left so the CFs don't line up.

I cut across the front pattern piece level with the right angle at the bottom of the neck opening.

Move the lower section to the left so the cut edges(centre fronts) line up.

Stick a piece of paper to fit into the gap(sorry this isn't obvious in my pics)

Overlay the band onto the front, lining up the stitching lines. The pieces should overlap about 2cm.

Draw round the edge of the band.

The stitching line is 1cm to the right of this line.

The new cutting line is another 1cm from the stitching line.

Because the lower part of the pattern has moved to the left it affects the side seam. It's hard to get your head round but it's also made the bust area narrower.

Put a piece of paper behind the armhole area.

Overlay the original pattern on top of the new one matching the CF and the top of the side seams should be level.

Draw round the original pattern.

Mark where the darts meet the side seams.

You need to draw a new armhole curve gradually from near the notch to the end of the shoulder seam of the new pattern piece. Interestingly this doesn't significantly change the length of the armhole seam so you don't need to alter the sleeve head.

Use the original pattern piece to mark the notch.

Match the original pattern at the top of the side seam keeping the CF parallel. Mark the notch.

The only thing left to do is adjust the dart.

Because the lower section of the pattern moved to the left the bust point is too far to the right(believe me, it's hard to get your head round)

I can see that I didn't move mine exactly in the correct position! It should be higher so it's at the same height as the original.

Most important is to move the tip of the dart to the left the same amount as you moved the pattern. Draw the new dart lines to the marks you drew at the side seams.


Wow! This has been marathon post! I hope it's been useful.


Whilst reading it again I've noticed that the garments worn by the models both had adjustments to the upper body. The Misses model needed a full bicep adjustment and the curvy model needed a wide shoulder adjustment..........I'll leave that one there for you to ponder!


I really like this sweater, it's just the sort of casual top I like and will work in so many different fabrics.


If you make it please tag @sewitwithdi in your IG post








81 views0 comments