Updated: Apr 7
The Marlo Sweater by True Bias is an absolutely wonderful pattern. It's a perfect seasonal transition piece, adding an extra layer of comfort but keeping it stylish. I created my Marlo Sweater with a thick double knit from Fabricland West. I really liked the added dimensional cable print in the knit. It adds interest to the sweater and the cream is a nice way to lighten things up for Spring. This sweater is a great basic for a capsule wardrobe. It is versatile and offers many style options This is the long version, it is also available in a cropped style. The sweater can be sewn completely with knit fabric or you can use a woven fabric for the bodice and a knit or ribbed options for the wrist, neck and waist bands.
The pattern itself is easy to follow and would be a good choice for beginning sewers. Intermediate sewers will enjoy the straightforwardness of the sew. Adding the neckband takes many pins and some patience but the directions are very clear and you are offered two different ways to attach it, one for beginners and one for more advanced sewists. The most important part of the neckband is making sure there is enough stretch for it to be eased into the bodice and still lay flat. The pattern offers a stretch guide, make sure to check to your fabric.
I cut out a Size 14 and graded it to a size 10 at the hip. As the fabric was quite thick I didn't want too much bulk around my middle and hip area but welcomed the roominess in the sleeve and through the shoulder. The pockets are a perfect size for tucking in your phone. They are not deep, but the width is perfect for most phones. I appreciated the button guide that is included for both the shorter and longer version. It completely takes the guessing out of where the buttons should go and how far they should be spaced. I couldn't find grey wooden buttons anywhere, but managed to find a traditional tortoise shell which was in keeping with the "Grandpa Style" of the sweater.
I self-drafted a skirt with left over fabric by adding 1' of ease to my hip measurement and cutting the top of the skirt to match my waist measurement. A thick 2" soft elastic cut 1" smaller than my waist measurement ensures it stays up comfortably but lies flat without extra bulk created by gathers. I cut the skirt on the fold and run the seam up the back. I didn't add pockets to this skirt as the sweater is longer and already has pockets. Simply choose the length that suits your style and the fabric you are using. My self-drafted skirts range from mid thigh to just below my knee. Its a great combination for a more polished look to wear to work or to run errands. It's a really nice change from joggers or jeans and a skirt adds some style but not the fuss.
If you are a beginning sewer and are hesitant to do button holes I have a included some simple steps to follow to ensure you get neat buttons and a nicely finished result. I know that some people dread making button holes, but with a bit of careful measuring and a water soluble marker you can create neat, even button holes.
I have a machine that uses a 4 Step Button Hole process so my favourite sewing tool to use is a button hole foot. I ordered this Button Hole Sewing Foot for a really reasonable price. I made sure it was for a low shank clip-on machine and it works like a dream.
The best way to use the foot is to measure the diameter of your button from edge to edge and to add 1/4" to the size, this ensures that your button hole will be big enough for the button to pass through easily but it won't be too big so the button comes undone. Using a water soluble marker that is easy to see on your fabric, draw a good size line across the band that marks the top of the button hole. Measure down the length of the button+ 1/4" and draw a second line across the button band to indicate where the other end of the button hole will be. The lines will just wash away afterwards when you dab it with water so make them big enough to see them easily. Now measure to find the center of the band. Draw a perpendicular line joining the top and bottom lines together. This is the line you will follow to make your button hole. Starting with the button hole foot completely closed (picture 1) line the center point of the button hole foot up with the line that you have drawn. Sew the right hand of your button hole until you reach the back line marking. The button hole foot will open up as you sew and you will be able to see the top line easily. Use your cross stitch option in step 2 to secure the threads, then sew the left side of the button hole until you come to the bottom line. Secure the threads across the button hole bottom ( Step 4) . I keep the button hole foot in place and repeat this process one or two times more depending on the thickness of the fabric and how dense I want the button hole stitches to be. Once you have completed sewing each of the button holes, carefully cut the fabric between the stitches using a button hole cutter. This gives you a clean, precise cut and very little fraying as you can maneuver the cutter easily between the stitches.
With a bit of measuring and making sure you sew slowly, using the button hole foot allows you to clearly see your progress as the buttonhole takes shape. Before you know it you will have your button holes complete and your garment will look polished and professional.
I hope that this has helped to you with the basic steps needed to create your own Marlo Sweater. It is a versatile, fun make and once you have made one, you will be planning to sew a second one in no time because after all..... There is Sew Much To Design.