Amazing “Grace” and the perfect pants

Amazing "Grace" and the perfect pants
Amazing "Grace" and the perfect pants

The instant I laid eyes on my friend Denise Bayron‘s Grace pullover in Laine magazine’s IG feed, as you know, I knew it would be one of my three Summer of Basics projects, and it didn’t take long for me to decide to knit it in OUR Yarn, in Toffee. A chunky wool sweater is not on the Approved Closet Additions list, but I’ve wanted a pullover in this single-batch yarn ever since acquiring it for Fringe, and this was the perfect sweater for it — simple yet interesting. My hope was that the somewhat abbreviated shape would make it more wearable in my climate than a more voluminous bulky sweater would be, but that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, I love it.

So this is the first of my three SoB picks to be finished. I’m still hoping to finish the hat before this week is out. And while I don’t yet have the fabric for the dress to complete my proposed trio, I have sewn myself three dresses this summer! So I’m feeling good about that.

But back to Grace: Knitting it in this yarn meant doing my own math, since the gauge is different — I’m at 3.75 sts/inch vs the pattern gauge of 2.75 — but that was easy to do since it’s top-down. (Of course, I bought the pattern — the magazine — to compensate the source, even though I knitted it my own way. If you can’t get ahold of this issue, I believe Denise will be releasing the pattern for individual download sometime in November.) The challenge was only in maintaining Denise’s design details and silhouette while making up my numbers, and the only real trick in that was the neck. I really love the little retro slight-funnel neck, and wanted to preserve it, but more than that I love the way the cable panel not only runs right up onto the funnel but actually spans the full width of the front neck between the two raglans. Since knitting at a finer gauge would automatically mean my cables would be narrower, I had to choose among a few options: widening the cables, increasing the number of cables, widening the reverse stockinette field, or not having it fully span the front neck like that — none of which I wanted to do, but I could live with the first one.

By just slightly widening the cables (from 3 stitches to 4, which does create a different look for the cables themselves, unfortunately) and by shifting more of the stitches into the shoulder tops than what Denise starts with, I was able to preserve that key design detail. I also did an extra set of short row turns for the back neck, and placed them a little differently, given the gauge difference. When it came to the sleeves, in addition to knitting them flat, like I do, I did a thing I’ve always wanted to try, which was to put short rows in at the edge of the sleeve caps. (I’ll post more about that in a separate Details post!) In making my sleeve tweaks, I forgot to look and see what clever thing Denise had done with the decreases, so that part got left out. But otherwise, it’s pretty much as designed!

Amazing "Grace" and the perfect pants

After finishing the sweater on Sunday afternoon, I was dying to wear it (for the length of a photo) with my striped linen pants … which were still just a stack of parts on my table. Thus motivated, three hours later I had these beauties. You’ll recall these (yet another pair of modified Robbie pants) were cut out of what was left of the Merchant and Mills stripe from my glorious caftan, and working out the stripe placement was tricky! I managed to use only the multi-stripe portion of the fabric and was able to place the pattern pieces in such a way that the adjacent black stripe disappeared into the seam allowances at the crotch and outer leg. The gaps left between the stripes at those seams are close enough to the original gap between them, as woven, that I don’t think you even notice! My big concern was how it would look where the stripes collide in the rear, but I figured worst-case scenario I’d have to always wear a long top with them. In the end, the butt is my favorite part! And how often can one say that in life?


PREVIOUSLY in Finished Objects: Double caftan magic

20 thoughts on “Amazing “Grace” and the perfect pants

  1. LOVE this combination! Both th sweater and the pants are stunning, separately and together. Well done! Come visit Chicago in the winter so you can wear that sweater more often!

  2. Absolutely fabulous outfit! Your attention to detail is what makes the sweater and the pants perfect!

  3. wow both pieces are beauties! I really admire for talent for creating simple statement pieces for an effortless style!.

  4. Loved this sweater in Laine magazine. Thought about knitting it but I am knee deep in an Irish knit sweater, with very limited instructions. So, it’s taking me longer than I would like. However, the combination of pants and sweater look fantastic. Makes me think I need to put this on my project list. Have not done much sewing in years, as so many of the fabric stores have gone out of business. Making me re-think all that!

    • I think I’ve gone from not really loving sewing (while loving to have sewn things) to getting more comfortable with it, to finding it fun, to maybe being slightly addicted right now. I’m in that zone of sewing a seam or pressing a pocket any time I can snatch 10 minutes in my room.

  5. WOW! You really accomplished a lot over the weekend, and both your Grace sweater and your new Robbies are wonderful!!! So, my question to you is this: when you see a fabric that you like (as in the caftan and pants fabric), how many yards do you purchase? It seems that you always have enough for at least one more garment!

    • This is why I rarely buy fabric and don’t really have a stash in the usual sense. To the extent that I have fabric on shelves, it’s because I had the opportunity to buy remnants from a couple of local fashion brands — either bundles with really nice prices (like $25 for 4 yds of some Japanese cotton) or Eliz Suzann’s epic $2/lb garage sale. And in those cases, faced with the opportunity to buy quality, neutral/versatile fabrics for next to nothing, it seemed to be the wise thing to do. But I don’t normally just buy fabric unless I have a project in mind, because I don’t like guessing at how much to buy. In the case of the stripe and blurple linen, they both looked so magnificent that I would like to have a variety of garments in each (!), and thinking there was a good chance one or both would be used for a caftan, I bought 4 yards. And then I’m kind of manic about squeezing as much as possible out of every last inch. With the blurple, I cut a caftan and pants and still have enough for a little tank or something. Plus whatever leftovers I can slice into bias to have on hand. With the stripe, I got the caftan and pants, but because both required fussy-cutting for pockets with matching stripe placement, what’s left after those two garments is not enough for a third. But still! Pushing the yield on anything makes me feel really good about it.

  6. What a gorgeous outfit! Be still my heart… the colors, the fabrics – just everything and all looking so comfortable and easy to wear.

  7. Both projects are big winners.I would never have thought about stripe placement on the pants and would end up with not so pretty a pant. Because of this post, if I ever make stripe pants, I’ll pay attention.

  8. You are on fire this summer!!! What a fantastic outfit. I’m going to have to knit that sweater for myself and maybe this will convince me to finally tackle pants.

  9. I love both garments! I live in a semi tropical climate so our winters are mostly quite mild so I have to choose my yarn very carefully. However, if the gauge didn’t match the pattern requirement………. my eyes glaze over when I start reading all the calculations needed and I have to lie down! I admire how you adjust both knitting and sewing patterns for a perfect fit. Those are my 2019 goals. Actually, I’ll probably be working towards those goals for the next few years! You inspire me.

  10. I think your decisions in changing this sweater for your gauge were really successful! Very much the look of the original! It’s beautiful – congratulations!

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