Jumper, sweater, whatever mate. I sneaked in this little make after starting to think about my autumn/winter plans and planning a cohesive run of makes for once. I spotted a couple of other Astorias on the old net, didn’t quite remember the pattern from Seamwork, took a look, noted that it’s supposed to take about an hour to sew, so decided to give it a shot.
And I must say that I’m surprisingly pleased with the result! Surprised because it’s a cropped jumper, which wouldn’t be my natural first choice these days (or any days really), and also because it fits rather well straight from the pattern. More on that later.
First, if you’re not aware of Seamwork magazine’s Astoria pattern, it’s a cropped jumper/sweater that comes in a 3/4 or full-length version. Seamwork is the brainchild of Colette Patterns. The magazine itself is free, but to access its two patterns a month, you need to subscribe. At $6/month, it’s inexpensive, but it depends how you feel about the patterns. They are certainly simplified and all are supposed to take you only 3hrs max to sew up – i.e. perfect for me, but might not float the more experienced sewist’s boat. Anyway, the Astoria is touted an a one hour pattern. One hour! Wow. It probably took me closer to two, but I was taking my time. Either way, that’s still pretty fast!
My measurements put me somewhere around the high end of L. There is a fair bit of negative ease built into the pattern and the fabric I used is a stable ponte with not a huge amount of stretch, so I was a little unsure whether cutting a L was the right decision. Happily it worked out fine though. I must add that it was soooo nice cutting a nice stable knit for once. Much as I love wearing the slinkier fabrics, I really enjoyed cutting into this one. So easy. I got it from fabric.com a while back and it’s described as a “diamond embossed ponte de Roma: Charcoal”. It’s a poly/rayon/spandex mix so I was dubious as to how comfy it might be over the course of a day, but am pleased to report: very.
The construction for an Astoria jumper is extremely straightforward and all the notches match up very nicely. I used the serger for all the seams and a twin needle for the sleeve hems. The order was shoulder seams, followed by attaching the sleeves on the flat. The sides were then completely sewn up and the sleeves hemmed. Finally, the neckband was added, followed by the waistband. The waistband is fairly thick and it’s this that gives the top a nice fitted look at the high waist.
I edge-stitched around the neckline using a zigzag with 1mm width and 1.5mm length. It worked pretty nicely although I had to give the thick knit a little help around. I also hemmed the sleeves with the twin needle and with both used the walking foot – I love that foot. I did find it a bit challenging to stitch the sleeve with the pins in as it’s so narrow. I’m sure there’s a good technique, but I ended up ditching the pins and tacking down the sleeve the second time – and it was much easier (which is obvious, but I hate tacking; I just want to SEW goddammit).
And the jumper was done! As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m pretty pleased with the fit. The next time I make one, and I definitely plan to soon, I will adjust the shoulders as they are just slightly too wide for me, and I will probably try lengthening the bodice a little – perhaps by an inch or so. Otherwise, the sleeves are a perfect length and the neckband sits nicely. I saw a few comments from other bloggers saying their neckbands were a little loose, but mine is great. I suspect that’s possibly to do with the stability of the fabric I used, so I’ll watch out for it if I use something less stable. There are a couple of little draglines/wrinkles around the bust, but in all honesty I was expecting the bust to be far too tight, so I’m actually quite relieved it fits as it does. I will try and experiment a little there and see what happens. All in all though, I can’t complain.
This is a solid little pattern and a good wardrobe staple for me I think. As I mentioned at the top, it’s not an obvious choice for a post-baby midriff (I’m not looking for sympathy – it’s a fact) but the silhouette is surprisingly forgiving, so perhaps think about it if you’re in the same belly boat. I look forward to making a couple more!