Welcome to the Carmanah Sweater Sew-Along! I'm so glad you're joining us as we sew both variation 1 and 2 of the pattern. We're diving right into the sewing steps for this sew-along but if you need some extra assistance choosing your materials, please have a look at our Finlayson Sew-Along where we discuss suitable sweater material choices in detail (all of which would work great for this pattern too!).


Let's begin our sweater by interfacing all applicable pieces. When adding interfacing to a knit fabric, here are a few tips to ensure success:
1. Use a pressing cloth so you don't accidentally get interfacing glue on your iron
2. Do not move your iron side to side, instead, place it down onto the pressing cloth, hold it for 10 seconds, and then lift it up before applying the iron to the next area. This prevents the weight of the iron from stretching out the knit fabric or breaking the small strips of interfacing.
No matter the variation you have chosen you will need to interface the center front of the sweater to stabilize the fabric in preparation for adding the zipper later. The partial zip variation requires this interfacing only on the Front Yoke. The full zip variation requires it on the Front Yoke and Front Body pieces.
Next, let's add interfacing to the collar or hood pieces. The collar needs interfacing only on the short ends as this is where the zipper will extend to:
The hood needs interfacing along the short straight edges as this is where the zipper will extend to:
You will also be adding grommets to the hood to prepare for a drawstring. Grommets can easily pull off of stretchy knit fabric so it's important to remove any stretch in this area by appling a 2" square of interfacing:


Ok, our pieces have been interfaced, now we can get sewing! We are going to begin with the kangaroo pockets. The sewing process is the same for the the full zip and partial zip variations with the only difference being that the pocket is split in half by the zipper for the full zip variation.
Begin finishing the pocket opening edges. These are the angled edges that will be folded under to make the pocket hem later. I like to finish these with twill tape as this serves multiple purposes - it stabilizes the hem so it is less likely to bag out over time, it makes the pocket edge harder wearing which will allow the sweater to last longer, and it adds an attractive high end feel and appearance to the sweater. You can use regular twill tape or experiment with decorative ribbon (velvet ribbon in a coordination color to the main sweater feels very nice against the hands!).
Place the twill tape on the right side of the pocket opening so it is only half on the fabric. Stitch in place. Next, flip your pocket so you are looking at the wrong side of the material and fold over the pocket opening/twill tape. The hem should be 5/8". Press crisply and then stitch this hem secure 1/8" from the inner edge of the twill tape (the left edge of the twill tape in the picture below):
From the right side of the garment, your pocket will look like the photo below. Note that the sharp angle at the bottom of hem should line up with the pocket edge...it looks like it got a bit askew here! Not to worry though as this will be fixed when we finish the remaining edges of the pocket.
Once you've finished both pocket openings, it's time to press under the remaining edges of the pocket 5/8". If you're sewing the full zip variation leave the straight center front edge of each pocket unfinished as this is where the zipper will run.
Our pockets are done and we can now add them to our sweater front! Align the pocket with the placement markings on your sweater (I like to mark my placement markings with a pin or a small bartack with needle and thread). Pin the pocket (or pockets) thoroughly in place so they don't shift while you topstitch.
To topstitch the quarter zip variation, first, stitch 1/8" from the edge along the pocket top. Next, start at the bottom of one angled pocket opening and edgestitch along the side, bottom and other side of the kangaroo pocket.
If you are sewing the full zip variation, the process for adding the two pockets is quite similar to the quarter zip variation but we will need to pin the two pockets in place to each sweater front and then do a single stretch of stitching that starts at the top of the pocket opening, goes across the top of the pocket, down center front, across the bottom of the pocket and up to the bottom of the pocket opening:
For added strength (on both variations) you can do a tight zig zag or buttonhole stitch to bartack the top and bottom of the pocket openings in place. This is a great idea if you place your hands in your pockets often as this is a common point of strain that could tear your pocket fabric!


Pockets are now done and we can move onto the front and back yokes. Let's begin with the front yoke. Both the quarter and full zip variations have the same yoke pieces but the finishing for each variation is slightly different to prepare for the two different zipper lenghts.

For both variations we must first attach the yoke front and back at the shoulder seams. Pin all yoke pieces right sides together and stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance. Press the allowances open and then stabilize the shoulder by edgestitching through the yoke and seam allowance material on each side of the shoulder seam. Alternatively you could simply serge the shoulder seam.

This is also a good point to staystitch around the neckline to prevent it stretching out during the rest of the sewing process. Staystitch with a short stitch length just shy of 5/8" from the raw edge of the neckline.

Now we can add the back yoke to the back of the sweater. There are several ways we could do this depending on your seam finishing preferences. You could simply serge the seam as pictured below:
Or you could add twill tape to finish the seam allowance as you'll see in the photos for the front yoke momentarily (scroll down now to see the process or skip ahead to adding the front yoke first so you can learn the steps of applying twill tape to apply them to your back yoke after).
If you are sewing the quarter zip you will need to press under the center front yoke seam allowances 5/8" before attaching the yokes to your sweater front. Next, line up the yokes and front with right sides together. The center front pressed edges will form a gap at the middle. Align the finished yoke edges with the placement markings on the sweater front. If you are struggling to align them exactly (your gap is smaller or larger), please don't worry! It just means your zipper tape will be more or less visible when you apply your zipper later accordingly. Just make sure that your gap is considerably narrower than the zipper tape you have chosen.
If you are sewing the full zip, do not turn under the center front of your yoke pieces. This will be done later when you apply the zipper! Instead, simply place the yoke and sweater fronts with right sides together and stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance.
To finish the yoke seams with twill tape instead of a serger, lay the twill tape on your work surface, place your sweater front (wrong side down) on top of the twill tape so that the twill tape covers the seam and extends down onto the sweater front at least 1/8". Place the yoke on top of the sweater front with wrong sides together if you havent already.
You can see in the photo below that Adrianna is applying twill tape after sewing the yoke and front together. This is different than recommended in our instructions but certainly works too!
Stitch along the seam line so that the yoke, front and twill tape are all stitched together.
Press the seam so that the twill tape and seam allowances extend up towards the yoke. Trim the seam allowances so they are narrower than the twill tape - you can now cover them entirely with the twill tape. Edgestitch along the top edge of the twill tape using the straight edge of the tape as a guide to keep your stitching nice and neat:
From the right side of the garment, here is what your stitching will look like. The distance from the seam will vary depending on the width of twill tape that you used:
In our next post we proceed with the collar or hood. See you then!
February 16, 2024 — Morgan and Matthew Meredith