I was immediately intrigued by the Marlo Sweater pattern from True Bias when it came out last week. It looked like a perfect wardrobe staple, in two cute lengths, and a wide size range, 0 - 30. As someone who knits all of the sweaters I wear, sewing one seemed like a great idea!
I love the look of the sweater knit fabric and would be happy to stock some in the shop, but so far I have not been able to find any that work for us. We do however, have some great fleece knits which are prefect for this pattern.
One of the newest fleece fabrics in the shop is a 100% organic cotton fleece from Birch Fabrics. This is a hefty 70" wide, 9.44 oz/sq yd with a smooth front and fleecy back, that is very cozy. There is no added spandex so it is not super stretchy but it does have at least 20% stretch so I was sure it would work for this pattern.
Marlo Sweater, size 8, sewn in Organic Cotton Fleece, color black
Deren wearing the Marlo Sweater with Arthur Pants from
in Brushed Bull Denim, color Khaki
I am 5' 1" with a 36" full bust, 32" waist and 38.5" hip. My measurements put me somewhere between the 8 & 10 but looking at the finished measurements of the garment I decided to sew a cropped size 8. I made no adjustments to the pattern at all. I considered shortening the length on the body and sleeves but decided, since this might end up as a shop sample, that I would sew the pattern as is.
The pattern pieces are few, and the sewing of the garment goes very quickly. I used my serger to sew the seams but you could easily sew this on a regular sewing machine and leave the edges raw (the benefit of knit fabrics).
The pattern includes 2 different pattern pieces for the front/neck binding. You choose which one to use depending on how much stretch your fabric has. According to the pattern, your fabric should have a minimum of 20% stretch to work. I used the neck binding pattern piece for fabrics with 20% stretch and I had no problem fitting the front/neck or hem binding to the body of the sweater.
The pattern instructions also include 2 methods for attaching the front/neck binding to the body of the sweater, "beginner' and 'intermediate'. I tried both methods and found the 'beginner' method worked best for this thick fabric. The 'intermediate method, while having a cleaner finish on the inside, created more bulk at the seam which did work with the bulky fabric. I skipped the edge-stitching of the front/neckline binding because I did not like the way it looked on the fabric and felt it was not necessary. I also omitted the interfacing on the button band since the fabric is think and sturdy. (I would use the interfacing if sewing with a much more stretchy fabric.)
I also found it best to baste the bindings for the hem and front/neckline of the sweater before sewing them on with the serger. This kept the layers in place nicely while working it through my serger (new needles are a must for this fabric).
As of this writing, I have been wearing the sweater for 3 days straight. It is very warm and goes well with most of my wardrobe. I can see this piece easily moving through the seasons and I am already planning another in our Cotton Tencel Fleece.
Here is a little guide to our fleece fabrics. Happy Sewing!
2. Organic Tencel Cotton Stretch Fleece
The tencel in this fleece gives it a luxuriously soft feel, plus the spandex content gives it wonderful drape and stretch. This fleece has been a customer favorite for the True Bias Hudson pants, And we have plans to sew a pair of the knit Arenite pants in this asap!
This fleece is a total classic. It features a smooth knit right side, with a double brushed fleece backing. It is the ultimate fabric for soft and cozy sewing. We have seen many a Toaster Sweater made up in this fabric, as well as plenty of other sweatshirts. We think it would also be wonderful sewn into a dress for a cozy layering piece!