Saturday, 2 April 2016

Warmer (New Look 6251)

This little zip sleeveless top, which I would call a bodywarmer and Americans would probably call a vest, has been in my sewing queue for a few months now. I had bagged everything I needed for it -- 1m of quilted knit from stash, pattern (New Look 6251), zip, etc. -- up  together, and then, I don't know, I sort of put it on one side and forgot it while I made other things. However, I thought it might come in useful this spring as an extra layer and dug it all out again the other day. It's taken me a few days to make, not because it's complicated but because I've only been able to work on it in very short bursts.

Knit bodywarmer (New Look 6251 view B) in navy quilted knit - the floral bias bound underarms aren't visible in wear. The light was TERRIBLE today so my photos are also kind of terrible, sorry about that.
There's a seller on eBay in the UK who has quite a few of these quilted/embossed knits for sale. I bought a little 1m piece in navy with a floral quilted pattern way back in December 2014 because I was intrigued by them and wanted to see what they were like. Originally, I thought I might make a quilted front raglan jumper, using a regular cotton/lyrca for the sleeves and hem band, but when it arrived I decided the rather stiff hand of the fabric and the boxy shape of the raglan pattern I had in mind would not be a flattering mix. (This is a nice way of saying it would have made me look like a brick wall, ha.)

Close-up of the fabric at the back
Although not useful for my original plan, it's an interesting fabric: it's a thick poly knit quilted to a separate backing. It's more stretchy than it looks too. Overall, I found it very easy to work with though I did have to play with my overlocker settings to get it to stitch nicely and pressing was a real problem. I wish I could have got a nicer pressed look on my seams but it didn't like heat and it didn't like steam and just overall, getting pressed looking seams without melting, crushing or making the fabric shiny was a bit tricky.

I'd definitely buy more of it though. I'm not wildly enamoured of the polyester backing -- I don't mind on this top because it's always going to be a top layer but no way would I want it against my skin -- but I think it would make a nice lined garment if you put a lightweight cotton knit on the inside. It also worked really well with a little bit of structure from the princess seams on this pattern. The only real problem I had with it was that it didn't cut well. I rotary cut it and I had to do so many passes to cut through the fabric and backing, and the backing still didn't cut cleanly. I ended up overlocking all my raw edges so I didn't have little fuzzy bits hanging off the edge.

New Look 6251
The pattern is very straightforward. I made a straight size 16 with no alterations at all, based on the finished garment measurements. The only change I made to the pattern is that view B, the ladies' bodywarmer top that I made, has twill tape sewn over the princess seams, which I didn't want. In retrospect I kind of wish I'd put in the pockets from view A, and I would probably do so if I make up this pattern again.

At the last minute I had to do surgery on the shoulder width. When I tried it on I was taken aback at how far over my shoulder point the outer edge of the fabric was. We're not talking "oh, maybe I should have used a size down for shoulder size!": I trimmed 4cm (just over 1.5") (!!) off the width at the shoulder seam, tapering to nothing at the top of the princess seam. This is definitely something I should have looked at in the pattern. Trimming the finished garment rather than adjusting before I cut out didn't really do the shape of the bodice and the overall fit above the bust and through the shoulder any favours but, eh, I'm happy enough with it for being what it is.

The instructions are the usual thing where you wonder if anyone at New Look has ever actually sewn with a knit. I largely followed the instructions for construction order, but I did almost all my sewing on the overlocker, hemmed it with the coverstitch, and really only put the zip in and did the armhole binding with my regular machine.

On me. The shoulders are actually the same, I'm not quite sure why it looks like one side is wider than the other! Isn't it always the way with modelled photos? I'm always having to disclaim some weird looking fit detail.
For all I am like zips in knits! ugh ugh, least favourite thing! it actually went in perfectly and very easily. I used fusible bias tape to stabilize the fabric where I sewed the zip in and I really didn't have any problems at all. The biggest zip problem I had was that it was way too short. I ended up leaving a bit of a space at the hem (probably just as well given how thick my folded hem is) and at the top of the standing collar because my zip wasn't long enough. I did buy exactly the length of zip described in the notions list, so I'm at a loss to explain the problem. Again, I don't really care too much, though I suppose aesthetically the collar would look nicer if it zipped all the way to the very top.

And that is that! This was a nice little sew in between woven shirts, which are so much more time-consuming and fiddly. My next project is the plaid shirt I've been putting off and putting off because I have a horrible feeling the plaid is off grain so I am dreading cutting out! D:


  1. Great vest! ;) You've given me an idea for some quilted knit that I have in the stash. =)

  2. Looks perfect for spring! I love the quilted knit.

  3. It turned out great! I really love that fabric. It looks super cozy.