A Patchwork Sweater

It's a simple story to tell. Inspired by numerous patchwork sweaters (See Pinterest board below.) and many sweater knit scraps, I've wanted to create my own patchwork sweater for a very long time. If you participated or followed along with my Sweater Block Challenge, you know how it got started! Here's the whole story with pictures.

Some of the sweaters on my Pinterest board are merely inspired by patchwork. Others really are examples of sweater knit patchwork glory!

My sweater began with my piles collection of sweater knit scraps: leftovers from sweaters and fabrics past, end of bolt gems, and a gorgeous cable harvested from a thrift store sweater. I'd purchased the cable sweater specifically for the Intro to Knitwear Design class I teach at the Fashion Institute of Technology, (You can't use muslin fabric in a knitwear class!), but the cable was just too nice. I had to use some of it myself, rather than just for demonstration purposes!

For the neckline and yoke fabric I reused a part of a sweater I'd made decades earlier, a sweater that needed some serious refreshing.

Cutting and sewing the pieces of the sweater was an interesting creative endeavor -- part puzzle solving, part meditative. Incorporated into what eventually became the sweater back are Moonstone fabric bottom left, natural jersey to its right and Hudson directly above.

The added bonus, of course, is that I was able to use small quantities of materials that would ordinarily have been thrown away. Leftover garter stitch bands from an early project, were used for the bottom of the sleeves and at bottom of the high-low hem.

Strange that a purveyor of sweater knits would be discouraging you from buying fabric! (I'll encourage you to do that later.) Piecing together bits of sweater cutaways is an excellent way to practice your sweater sewing skills or work out ideas for a new design. What future sweaters do you have hidden away in your sweater scrap collection?


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  1. This is such a great idea to actually use the little bits and pieces that otherwise would get thrown out. I love the color story you have created. The caramel and warm off-whites go so well together. A real gem of a sweater!

    1. Thank you! There will probably be more patchwork sweaters in my future. So many scraps! :-)

  2. Love it!!!! I’ve been pinning a number of patchworked garments lately too...such a lovely end result ��

    1. Thank you, Rae. Patchwork seems to make so much sense right now.

  3. Hi Olgalyn, this sweater is really beautiful! Brava!
    I love the shape, the color combination, everything :)
    I would like to ask you how did you sew it, please. I am trying to understand which stitch and tension to use with he serger/overlock with this type of knit fabric. And also with the sewing machine, if you have a stitch suggestion I would appreciate a lot. Thank you!

    1. Hi Unknown!

      Thank you. If you're overlocking sweater knits, the most important setting is the differential feed ratio. It will usually need to be at least 1.75. As far as the other serger settings go, you really need to test them with your fabric. Since you may be combining more than one type of fabric this is especially important.

      With the sewing machine, a narrow zigzag 0.75 x 2.75 usually works well with a variety of sweater knits.

      You may find A Roadmap to Improved Sweater Knit Seams helpful, if you haven't come across it before.


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