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Carmanah Sweater Sew-Along: Day 1 - Yokes and Pockets

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 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
Carmanah Sew-Along: Day 2 - Hood and Collar

Carmanah Sew-Along: Day 2 - Hood and Collar

Today we will create our hood or collar for the Carmanah Sweater! Let's begin with the hood:

Hood or Collar Assembly

Add buttonholes or grommets to hood front to ready it for a drawstring. If you are working with a very unstable knit (loosely knit or very stretchy) I highly recommend doing a test buttonhole or grommet on a scrap of material. You may find that one layer of interfacing is not enough to stabilize this area and that the grommet will easily pop off. To further stabilize you could add a thicker or even woven style of interfacing or layer an extra square of woven material (quilting cotton for example on the wrong side of the hood when you apply the grommet.
Next, let's sew the hood panels together. The hood is made of three panels - two sides and a center rectangle. Begin by placing one hood and the cetner panel right sides togehter. Pin so that the long curve of the hood bends to match the long straight edge of the center panel. Stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance. You don't need to finish this seam allowance as the hood is lined but if you are using a serger for your seams it will look finished anyways, as per the photo below.
Add the second side of the hood to the other long straight side of the center panel. Trim the seam allowances if necessary to reduce bulk and press the seam allowances towards the hood sides. Lastly, topstitch along the hood sides 1/8" from the seam to create a tidy finish.
Now we repeat the same process with the lining pieces. Instead of pressing the trimmed seam allowances towards the sides, instead press them towards the center panel. This will reduce bulk when the hood and lining are sewn together.
Next, let's assemble the hood facing. Sew together the narrow straight edges of the facing with right sides together and a 5/8" seam allowance. Press open.
Attach the facing to the hood lining by pining the facing and lining right sides together along the hood front. You will need to attach the longest edge of the facing (the convex curve) to the longest edge of the hood opening (the concave curve). It will feel a bit awkward when you match these opposing curves together but with lots of pins and care to place the facing seam centered between the hood seams, it will work!
Stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance and trim the seam allowances, especially along the sharpest curve. Press the seam allowances towards the lining.
At this point we need to prepare the bottom of the hood lining so it is ready to be added to the sweater later. You can either press under the bottom seam allowance 5/8" or apply twill tape for fancy neckline finish. To apply twill tape you will need to place your tape on top of the right side of the hood lining. Position it so that it is mostly on the hood and only extends 1/8" over the seamline. Stitch along the seamline 1/8" from the bottom of the twill tape edge.
Press the twill tape down over the seam allowance.
The hood is now assembled and ready for our next sewing steps. Let's do the same process to prepare the collar option! First pick one of your collar pieces to be the lining (the contrast fabric piece if you've decided to do contrast for the inner collar).
Turn under the bottom 5/8" seam allowance or apply twill tape as we did for the hood lining above. With the right side of your collar lining facing up, place the twill tape on top of the collar. Position it so that it is mostly on the collar and only extends 1/8" over the seamline. Stitch along the seamline 1/8" from the bottom of the twill tape edge. Press the twill tape down over the seam allowance as pictured below:

Add Collar or Hood to Sweater

It's time to add our hood or collar to our sweater!
If you're sewing the quarter zip you will need to temporarily unfold the pressed center front seam allowances along the yoke. Try to keep those pressed lines visible for use in future steps (if you accidentally smooth them out, you can repress them later at 5/8".
 Place the hood or collar and sweater with right sides together. Align the raw neckline edge. Note that the raw collar or hood center front edges will align with the raw center front edges of the yoke. Pin thoroughly. Stitch around the entire neckline at 5/8" and press the seam allowance towards the hood or collar. You can trim and grade the seam allowance to reduce bulk if needed. Grading is when you trim one seam allowance shorter than the other. It will be sandwiched in between the collar/hood and collar/hood lining soon.
If sewing the quarter zip repress the center front to include the collar seam allowance:
Thanks for following along! See you next post!
February 16, 2024
Carmanah Sew-Along: Day 3 - Main Seams and Cuffs

Carmanah Sew-Along: Day 3 - Main Seams and Cuffs

Sleeves and Side Seams

Let's dive right into the main seams today! First, begin with the sleeves:
Align the sweater and ones sleeve right sides together. Make sure that you have the right sleeve matched to the right armhole. You can tell which is the front portion of the sleeve because there is a single notch and the back portion of the sleeve has a double notch - these notches both match up to the sweater body. Pin along the armscye thoroughly to match the two opposing curves together. Stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance and finish the seams as per your preference (you can see the seam is serged below):
Once you've repeated this process with the second skeeve and pressed the seam allowances towards the body of the sweater you are welcome to edgestitch through the body and seam allowance for a decorative stitch that keeps the seam allowance in place (not pictured here).
Now it's time to sew up the sleeve and side seams in one go. Fold one sleeve in half lengthwise and match the raw edges. Pin all along the length of the sleeve and body seams. When you stitch this seam, make sure the armhole seam allowance is sitting nicely at the underam. Stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance and again finish as per your preference. You can press the seam allowances open or to the back depending on the seam finish that you chose.

Cuffs and Hem Band

Ok, let's add the sleeve cuffs to finish them! Fold the cuffs in half with wrong sides together so that the notches match. Stitch along the notched edge using a 5/8" seam allowance and press the seam open (no need to finish this seam allowance, we just did here because we were serging our seams rather than stitching them first with a sewing machine.
Flip the cuffs right side out and press the seam. Now fold the cuffs in half horizontally so that the raw edges match. Press the folded edge.
To add the cuff to the sweater, first ensure the sweater is inside out. Place one cuff into the sleeve end so that right sides are together. Stretch the cuff so it fits the sweater and pin thoroughly. Sew around the entire loop using a 5/8" seam allowance and then finish the seam as desired.
Press the seam allowance towards the sweater and then repeat with the second cuff. The sleeves are done!
Now we will do the same process for the hem band. The hem band finishing differs depending on which version you are making.
If you are sewing the Full Zip version, place the front and back hem bands with right sides together and stitch at the side seams using a 5/8" seam allowance. Press the seam open.
If you are sewing the Partial Zip variation you will need to make a loop with your hem band just as we did with the cuffs.
For both variations, fold the hem band in half horizontally with right sides together and press along the fold (again, just like we did with the cuffs).
To apply the hem band for the Full Zip variation, simply place the raw edges of the band matched with the bottom edge of the opened out sweater. Line up the seams of the hem band with the seams of the sweater and stretch the hem band to match the length of the sweater. Stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance from center front to center front.
To apply the hem band for the Partial Zip variation, align the hem band and sweater with right sides together and raw edges matching. Make sure the hem band seam is lined up with one of the side seams.
Stretch the hem band to match the sweater and stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance. Finish the seam allowance as desired and press the seam allowance towards the sweater.
The sweater just needs the finishing details now!
February 16, 2024
Carmanah Sew-Along: Day 4 - Zipper and Finishing Details

Carmanah Sew-Along: Day 4 - Zipper and Finishing Details

Today's the last day of the Carmanah Sweater Sew-Along! Let's begin by adding the zipper.


First, for both variations, create a chin guard by placing the two small chin guard pieces with right sides together. Stitch along the curved edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Flip right side out and press. Finish the straight edge (which temporarily appears concave in the photo below) as desired.
Ok, let's move on to adding the zipper itself. You'll notice in the instruction booklet that we've added a comprehensive selection of Zipper Installation Tips directly before the zipper installation steps. These are well worth a read as adding a zipper to a knit project can be a bit tricky (since it's mixing the woven zipper tape with the stretchy knit). You'll also likely need to customize the length of the zipper and this section shows you how.
The photos below detail how to add the full zipper. First, begin by placing the zipper along the sweater front so that the bottom stopper is aligned with the bottom edge of the zipper. It's helpful to mark several points on the zipper tape so you can use them to align the zipper for sewing - just as we would use notches when matching together two pieces of fabric:
You can see Adrianna marked 'notches' on the zipper tape whereever there was a seam on the garment. The more markings the better as this will ensure your two zipper halves are applied so they match up exactly!
At this point, if it is necessary to shorten the top of the zipper to match the top edge of the sweater, you can follow the instructions in the Zipper Installation Tips! Note that the zipper stop should be positioned so it is 5/8" below the raw edge of the collar or hood.
Also note that within the instruction booklet I direct you to add the chin guard to your zipper at this point. In the photo below Adrianna chose to add it slightly later in the sewing process.
To further ease the zipper sewing process, you can add narrow double sided tape (the kind that dissolves in the wash and is made for this purpose) to the zipper tape so that the zipper stays precisely placed on the fabric (really helpful to prevent the fabric from stretching as you sew!).
Place the zipper halves so that the right side of the zipper is aligned with the right side of the sweater. Double check that you are using the correct half of the zipper!
Stitch quite close to the zipper teeth using a zipper foot. You can see in the photo below Adrianna began her stitching several inches from the top of the zipper to allow her to add the chin guard afterwards.  Once you are done stitching you can trim the extra zipper tape off the top of the zipper (if you haven't done so already) but be sure to leave enough tape (1/4") above the zipper stop to prevent the zipper stop from falling off!
You can now add the chin guard (if you haven't already as per the instructions) by sandwiching the zipper tape between the two halfs. Stitch it in place and onto the sweater all in one go (still using that zipper foot).
To add the zipper to the partial zip variation, the sewing process is much simpler!
Apply the zipper guard by basting it onto the zipper. Place the whole zipper under the sweater front so the zipper stop is just visible above the yoke seam line. If you are using a longer zipper, you can optionally let it extend below the yoke seamline...the yoke seamline will just become the zipper stop!
Stitch down one side of the zipper, across the yoke seamline, and then up the other side of the zipper.

Hood or Collar Lining

Our zippers are done and it's time to finish the inner hood or collar!
If you are sewing the hooded variation, begin by placing the hood and hood lining/facing unit with right sides together. When aligning these pieces, make sure that the center front seam allowance of the sweater is folded outwards - this way the zipper teeth are facign in towards the sweater and you are lining up the centre front raw edge of the hood and the sweater.
If you have twill tape at the bottom of your lining, allow the twill tape to extend beyond the neckline seam. If you chose to press under the bottom edge of the lining instead, make sure that the pressed edge matches or extends just 1/8" below the neckline seam. Pin all edges thoroughly.
Sew up the center front, aroung the long curve of the hood and down the other center front. Leave the bottom unsewn at this point.
Trim the seam allowances if needed to reduce bulk and flip the hood right side out. Press along the edges. The only edge left unfinished is the bottom of the hood lining. We will proceed with that edge momentarily, but first, here are some photos of finishing the collar lining:
In the same manner that we just added the hood, place the collar and collar lining with right sides together. Ensure that the raw edges of center front are aligned (the zipper tape is flipped so that the teeth are pointing towards the sweater).
Sew up one center front, across the top of the collar, and down the other center front. Trim the seam allowances as needed and flip right side out. Press the collar edges and corners.
Ok, now we are ready to finish the bottom edge of the collar or hood! Within the instruction booklet we offer two options: 1. Folding under the raw edge and stitching by hand or machine. 2. Applying twill tape.
If you folded under the lining seam allowance, you can now pin the folded edge to extend just 1/8" below the neckline of the sweater. Handstitch these layers together OR baste by hand or with large machine stitches and then, from the right side of the sweater, stitch in the ditch to secure the lining to the neckline. Stitching in the ditch is where you carefully stitch right on the seam so your finished stitching isn't visible from the outside of the garment.
To finish your neckline with twill tape, you will notice that the twill tape extends below the neckline:
In the photos above you can see the neckline seam allowances below the twill tape. Before we attache the bottom edge of the twill tape, it can help to attach the neckline and lining seam allowances together so that the lining doesn't want shift in the following steps.
To attach the two seam allowances, pinch them together:
Baste or otherwise stitch these seam allowances together by moving the rest of the garment out of the way and just stitching the seam allowance layers. Adrianna used her serger here but you can use a basting stitch or regular machine stitch. You'll notice you can't get close to either zipper. That's ok! Just sew the bulk of the allowances together.
Now we just need to fold the twill tape over the allowances (trim the allowances if needed). and sew the bottom of the twill tape in place.
Since the seam allowances have been secured together, you can guarantee that the twill tape will sit evenly over the neckline seamline. Simply sew 1/8" from the bottom of the twill tape. You will see that your stitching looks very straight and attractive on the right side of the garment afterwards:
Now that the neckline is done we can proceed with the final details!
For the full zip variation, secure the zipper tape to the sweater by folding it back over the raw center front edges:
Topstitch the zipper tape in place - you can do this from the right side of the garment by stitching 1/4" from the zipper teeth or you can do it from the wrong side of the garment by edgestitching 1/8" from the edge of the zipper tape.
For the quarter zip variation, finish the sweater by topstitching along the center front and and top edge of the collar 1/4" from the edge. This will match the topstitching that you already applied to the zipper on the sweater body.
If you are doing the collar variation, you are now finished! Way to go! If you're sewing the hooded variation there is only one more step:


For the hooded variation, we must now prepare the channel for the drawstring. First, ensure the lining and facing are nicely positioned by pinning through all layers along this seam.
Stitch in the ditch of the lining/facing seam through all hood layers.
Use a safety pin or purpose made tool to thread the drawstring through the channel.
Finish the strawstring by attaching toggles if desired and knotting the drawstring ends (or adding drawstring end caps or beads).
And now your Carmanah Sweater is complete! May it spend many years making it's wearer cozy and warm!
February 16, 2024