Hello. I'm a new member. I'm a knitter of around a year and half's experience (and utterly addicted - I never leave the house without something in my bag) but who has only just finished her first jumper (sweater), and I'm having a couple of issues. You should also know that having wanted to learn how to make my own clothes as well for a while I got given a sewing machine for Christmas. Whilst I was taught basic sewing as a kid by my mum, I'm not anywhere near as experienced as I am with knitting needles.
The jumper is an Arran style collared half zip guys jumper knitted in 100% shetland wool in dark blue. (King Cole pattern 2943) I bought the wool off eBay for a great price, knowing I wanted to knit the jumper for my bloke, but when it arrived it was rather rough. 'No problem' thought I. 'I'll do some test squares on different size needles and machine wash them and see which comes out closest to the right tension, knit on that tension and then felt it, it'll go softer and be slightly more weather proof and will make a good outer wear. I also decided to line the collar and cuffs with 50% silk/50% Merino that I've used before, to make it extra luxurious. Unfortunately, the test squares all came out exactly the same size, so then I thought, 'oh, I'll knit on half a size bigger needles and then block it to the right size.' You can see my mistakes immediately can't you? I was a tad eager, I admit that now.
The two problems are as follows:
Firstly, having read around on this forum a little bit, I have gathered that it is relatively common for the first jumpers someone makes to have issues with sizing, namely being too wide (although my defence is as above). In particular, the armholes and under the arms are absolutely massive. It is all now sewn up, so frogging is not an option (also as I've been knitting it on and off since May the pain would be too much to bear). I have put it through the washing machine on a 30C wool wash taking the risk that it would shorten more in the length than the width but hoping it would also soften the wool, which it did, magnificently (and it came out EXACTLY the same size...). Having read around, I think my best option is to bring the seams in using the sewing machine. And here lies the question: Clearly I will have to slice off some of the fabric otherwise it will be too bulky on the inside of the jumper. How risky is this? What is the best way of stopping it unravelling? Can I do it with normal sewing thread or would it be best to somehow use a significantly thicker yarn/thread (if that is even possible).
Secondly - this evening I sewed on the zip, thinking that that at least would not be affected by anything I do with the sleeves. I used a plain zig zag stitch in a thread that matches the yarn. I have managed to do it with a pleasing standard of stitching, despite the thick fabric and having no zip foot for my machine yet. However it's ended up stretching the fabric so that it doesn't lie flat (the zip lies on the outside of the curve, if that makes sense). I'm now kicking myself for not having used a stretch stitch, but looking at it again I don't know if that would help. Help??
I know this is rescuable....it must be, I've put in too much love for it not to be! Even if I just have to wear it round the house myself.
p.s. I realise this might be better in the sewing board, but I thought knitters who were sewers as well would be more likely to have come up with similar problems before. Feel free to move it if I'm wrong.