I discovered the Assembly Line patterns at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley at a Bay Area Sewists meetup in June 2019. The first pattern I bought from this Swedish company was the Three Pleat Skirt pattern. (I will blog about the skirt after I’ve made another one because I didn’t quite follow the instructions – though I am happy with the results.) In November, I had fun shopping Stonemountain’s two-day 25 percent off sale and decided to buy two more Assembly Line patterns: the Elastic Tie Sweater (pattern here) and the Puff Shirt. Their patterns are available in digital and paper versions.
Over the holidays I decided to make the Elastic Tie Sweater. In case you’re wondering, the pattern is not drafted for sweater knits. It’s for woven fabrics; on the website page for this pattern, they suggest “mid weight fabrics such as cotton twills, denims, lightweight canvas.”
I thought this would be a great pattern to use a wax print I was gifted by a lovely colleague at work (thanks, Rachel!). She got this border print fabric in Africa a while ago. The border of small and large circles runs alongside both selvages. The selvage says “Veritable wax block print Hitarget 2016002F.”
I did a brief Google search and I was reminded that Hitarget is a Chinese company that often knocks off Dutch designs from companies such as Vlisco (read about Dutch wax prints and counterfeiting in this informative article, “West Africans ditch Dutch wax prints for Chinese ‘real fakes,'” by Northeastern University anthropology professor Nina Sylvanus). I used a Hitarget wax print for the maxi Chardon skirt I made a few years ago.
You can see the border on the sleeves at my wrists. I cut the sleeves perpendicular to the grain so the border would be at the bottom of the sleeves. There is a dart at the elbow so the bottom of the sleeve has a curve to it. This means that you won’t be able to match the border print at the seam line. I decided that wouldn’t bother me and who looks at the sleeve seam anyway, right? 😉
It was fun to figure out where to place the border. This pattern has a center back seam so I decided to cut the back pieces so that the border was on each piece. The small circles of the design weren’t quite equidistant so I deliberately cut the pieces to make sure the smaller circles didn’t line up.
Then after sewing the 1 cm (3/8″) seam, the back looked like this.
The smaller circles are cut in half by the center back seam and that creates a different design – sort of an “S,” which wasn’t quite intentional.
The trickiest part of this pattern is sewing the front shoulder to the center back collar. But the instructions are clear and there’s a nice illustration to show you how to sew it. Here’s what it looks like before I topstitched the seam.
Here’s the inside view. My serger isn’t working at the moment so I used the zigzag stitch to finish my seams.
The Elastic Tie Sweater has four sizes: XS, S, M, and L. All measurements in the pattern are in centimeters. I did the conversions to inches (yes, in the United States we’re still using the old Imperial system, which we began when we were a British colony). The pattern has a lot of ease. I made size L, which has the following finished measurements:
Length: 59 cm (23.2 in)
Bust: 119 cm (46.9 in)
Bottom: 127 cm (50.8)
Front center neck to end of sleeve: 84 cm (14.8 in)
Upper sleeve (bicep): 46 cm (18.1)
For size L, the pattern calls for 150 cm of 140-150 cm wide fabric. This means about 1 2/3 yards of 55″-60″ wide fabric. However, my fabric was 44″ (112 cm) wide, which meant that I used more (and wasted more) fabric because the front and back pieces couldn’t be placed side by side. I probably used more than 2 yards (~183 cm) to cut out all the pieces. This is why the pattern calls for 140-150 cm wide fabric. You waste less fabric.
I have a small bust so it is quite roomy on me. I’d say that the Elastic Tie Sweater can easily fit a C cup and maybe even D, depending on how much ease you prefer. I have broad shoulders and long arms and it fit well. No need for a wide-shoulder adjustment.
I really love the high neck and the elastic tie detail. There’s interfacing in the neck facing, which is what ensures that the collar doesn’t flop over. I used Pellon Shape-Flex woven fusible interfacing, which I got from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. I had some thick elastic cord in my stash that was perfect for the Elastic Tie Sweater. You need cord that’s 3 mm in diameter. This cord gets threaded through four holes that you have to make through the facing.
The instructions direct you to use a buttonhole stitch around the hole to finish the raw edges. I used black Coats & Clark Dual Duty Plus Craft & Button thread in my stash – leftover from hand sewing various skirts from the Natalie Chanin’s 2012 book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design (affiliate link). (In fact, I’m wearing a handsewn knit skirt using a pattern from that book.)
I made the buttonhole stitches by hand using this heavy duty thread. Because the thread is so thick, you can’t make too many stitches. Regular thread would be fine, too. But do practice the stitches on a scrap if you aren’t familiar with this stitch. It took me a little time to figure it out and make stitches in a circle.
Here’s a closer look at the buttonhole stitches around the hole. You can see how thick the thread is. If you use button craft thread, you may need to make 4-5 mm holes, rather than 3-4 mm per the instructions.
Once the stitches are in place, you fold the cord in half, push it through the holes and knot the ends. I had a tough time pushing the cord through the holes because the thick thread made the hole smaller. I later realized I could use a loop turner to grab the cord and pull it through the holes.
I really like this pattern and will be making more of them. Quilt-weight fabric will work well with this pattern. The only drawback with the roominess of this top is that you need to wear a loose-fitting coat or jacket if it’s cold outside. If you don’t wear something loose over it, it will get wrinkled because of all the ease.
Here are two more photos of the Elastic Tie Sweater.
Congratulations! You got to the end of this post. I hope to blog a little more regularly in the new year. I needed to take a bit of a break from my blog and social media after I started a new job and my mother passed away during the second week of that job.
I was still sewing but I had absolutely no interest in taking photos of anything I made or blogging. But finally, over the break, I got inspired by the fabric, the pattern, and walking by this interesting abandoned building with its rusting exterior and bed of small pink flowers. I made note of the street and decided to take my photos there – just me, my tripod, and my phone. I will revive my newsletter but likely only send it out every other month rather than monthly.