Do you watch Archer? It's an adult cartoon on FXX about a bumbling spy who considers himself 007. It's hilariously mature comedy and there's a running gag about his proper spy outfit. He must wear a black turtleneck.
I have been on the hunt for the perfect black sweater fabric so I could make myself an Archer-inspired t-neck. I wanted something breathable, but all of the black sweater knits I found were poly-spandex blends and ain't no one want to be wearing that clinging to their body.
I finally settled on a rayon-poly blend in burgundy red simply because it was, other than the color, the perfect weight and blend for what I envisioned. And since it has recently gotten very cold here, like in the 30s F overnight cold, it's a timely make. It was also very, very soft and I found myself petting it.
It took me a while to figure out which t-neck pattern to make. There are many, but what I wanted was a relatively small neck opening. Like it was giving my neck a nice hug, not choking me. But what is mostly available are loose necks bordering on cowls. I debated between the Seamwork Neenah and the Kwik Sew 4069 and finally opted for the Kwik Sew.
This is my first time using this pattern company. I had previously dismissed them as styled for the typical Midwestern PTA mom. But I was pleasantly surprised that this pattern was better than that.
Available in two views, either 3/4 sleeves or full long sleeves, the pattern comes with color instructions and is printed on very nice tissue paper. It's a bit thicker than what Vogue, Butterick, and McCall's all come on, and it's white.
The pattern is only 4 pieces: front, back, sleeve, t-neck. Not knowing how large Kwik Sew runs, I opted to start at a large in the shoulders and give myself a generous full bust adjustment of 2.25" (the bust measurement for this size is 40-41.5"). I then rotated the dart to the waist and hacked off the fullness from the side seam. This is a trick I hadn't known when I made a kimono sleeve shirt that ended up being very swingy in the front because of the extra fullness at the hem. But it does leave you with a Picasso-esque bodice:
My husband said it reminded him of Picasso, and then told me my body is a work of art. Ok, I'll keep him.
It's great though, because you still get all the extra room needed for bodacious tatas but no dart in your stretchy fabric. Win!
I also ended up moving the waist up 1.5" because I'm short waisted and this is a clingy make with the sides swooping in at the waist, so I didn't want the waist to be in the wrong place and hugging my spare tire. I added the length back at the hem but ended up cutting it off completely anyway.
It was incredibly quick to put together, but then I realized I really need to size down in Kwik Sew patterns. Just like in McCall's patterns where I have to use 38" as my bust measurement (which is SEVEN INCHES less than my actual bust measurement), I needed to do that here and should've started with a medium size. The problem was that there were no finished garment measurements so I was kind of flying blind. To fix it I did a 3/8" narrow shoulder adjustment, brought in the side seams and sleeves another 1.125" (that's one and one-eighth), and left it at that.
You can see in the pictures that the sleeve is hanging off my shoulder still anyway. And for some weird reason, there's still some wrinkling around the boobs. Some helpful sewists onlinie suggested either the shoulder slope is wrong, the armhole is too tight (though it certainly doesn't feel that way), or I need more length between shoulder and bottom of the armhole.
All that aside, I still love this super soft sweater. The neck is looser than I would've preferred--I even ended up shortening the t-neck piece to try to make it tighter--but it's otherwise great. Yeah there are some kinks in it (the back looks pretty loose, too) but for a total of $8 in pattern and materials and an afternoon of my time, it's pretty damn good.
I still want a black one though!
Pattern Recap:Pattern: Kwik Sew 4069 View A
Fabric: heathered burgundy red rayon poly sweater knit from Michael Levine
Modifications: narrowed shoulders 3/8", took in side seams and sleeves 1.125", moved waist up 1.5", shortened t-neck piece 1/4"
Notes for next time: start with size medium and adjust from there