I did it. After owning a serger since Christmas, I finally overcame my fear of the serger and put it to good use. And in the process, I made the coziest sweatshirt (sweater)? I'm not sure what to call my Toaster #2 sweater, but I do know that I love how it turned out.

There was a lot of "prep work" for this project: research high quality serger thread, research how to thread a serger, research how to adjust tension on a serger, and practice sewing on scraps first, plus tracing and cutting out the pattern pieces. I watched so many YouTube videos I lost count. Worth it? Of course! Once the leg work was done, this was a rather quick project.

As I've mentioned before, sewing doesn't have to be this "slow," although it is still a great deal faster than knitting. I'm a rather methodical person by nature, and I figured, if I'm going to make this sweater, by golly, I'm going to do it as well as I can manage. Thus, I allowed all the extra time to account for a learning curve of serging.

I wrote recently about the satisfaction of learning new things as an adult, and having grace on yourself when you fail. This project exemplified that more than ever. I'm still a total serger "novice," but gone is the fear of this machine. I see it differently now; as a tool, rather than merely an unknown.

For the sake of clarity, I used both a regular machine and a serger on this project, per the pattern's recommendations, although the serger is entirely optional. I mostly used it to finish off the raw fabric edges that are not visible from the outside. It's far from perfect, but I'm pleased. And Nicholas said it's the "least homemade looking" item I've ever made. I'll always be proud of my more homemade-looking makes as well, but it still feels good to make something that looks like I could have bought it somewhere.

This morning, Nicholas took me on a breakfast date to Snooze. It was a cozy 55 degrees, so I wore my new sweater and after breakfast, he snapped a few photos of me wearing it. I plan to wear this a lot (and I already have, in the two weeks since it's been finished). My favorite little details are the side vents and the neckline, I must say.

The details

Pattern: The Toaster #2

Size: small

Fabric: a cotton/poly/spandex blend from JoAnn's. I think the pattern benefits from a structured fabric that has some shape to it, to better suit the shape of the neckline. A drape-y fabric would make for a much different look.

Modifications: After looking at pattern reviews and other sewers' finished tops, it seemed the consensus was that this top is rather cropped, as is. So I added 3.5" in length to the front and back pieces. The sleeve length was perfect for me, unmodified.

Next time: Do the exact same mods. I love the length.

The serger settings I used (with this fabric) :

  • L needle: 5
  • R needle: 4
  • Upper Looper: 4
  • Lower Looper: 5
  • diff feed: 1.0
  • stitch length: 4
  • stitch width: 6