Hey! I made myself another Marlo!
I wish I could just leave the post there because I feel like the above could only be construed as good news. But in reality, I made some really stupid mistakes on this Marlo. So no, it’s not all good news from here on out. Eventually, and what you’ll learn if you read to the end, is that I do think I can come around on the sweater and forgive it for its (my) mistakes but it’s been a struggle.
Shall we start with the good? I would say the best thing about this iteration is the fabric. The fabric is a waffle knit and coordinating rib knit from Isee Fabrics (I realize I’ve mentioned rib knits in the majority of my most recent posts and it begs the question if I am becoming a rib knit snob…time will tell but it does absolutely feel like a luxurious treat-yo-self kind of addition to my sewing and I don’t see myself giving it up easily). In fact, the biggest reason I wanted to try Isee Fabrics was for their waffle knit. On screen it just seems so sumptuous. Not to mention that they have a gorgeous array of colors, all very earthy, like just by wearing one of those colors you will be grounded and at peace.
In reality, the fabric, it turns out, does not have magical properties to transform me into a patient and wise goddess but it is a very lovely fabric and one I would buy again. I would say the best word for the fabric is squishy or plush. It’s thick and kind of springs back against your fingers. But I actually wouldn’t call it soft. It’s not scratchy or rough or anything like that but it’s not brushed and it’s made of cotton (with a bit of spandex) and it feels like cotton. So the specialness of the fabric is really in the sproinginess of it (which is definitely not a word but I think we all know what I mean here).
For me, Isee fabric is on the pricier end, but I got a gift card to the shop for my birthday so I spent some of it on an order to try out some of what they have to offer and I’ll go back to buy more of what I liked later (I’ll be buying more waffle knit and more of their slub jersey! I haven’t sewed everything I got so there might be more to add to that list). Anyway, the tricky part was to decide what color to test out for the waffle knit. They have a lot of colors and they are all beautiful and all colors I would happily wear, however, I wanted a matching rib knit and that’s where I hit some snags. A good amount of their rib knit colors were sold out. The part of overlap between in stock rib knit that matched the in stock waffle knit was relatively small and I waffled (sorry) over a decision for a long time.
And I made the wrong choice.
No, no, iris (the color I chose) is a very nice color, one I really like. But I may just like it too much.
Let’s recall together, shall we, my first Marlo sweater:
Yep, somehow I managed to choose the color that was most similar-just a shade or two off, really-to my first Marlo Sweater. Dusty pink and a slightly different dusty pink. How I managed to do this, and why I didn’t think of how very close they are in color is absolutely beyond me. I just recall that I very nearly got the “Indigo” color and swerved at the last minute. How I’ve kicked myself over that swerve. Basically the same sweater in basically the same color. Not my best moment.
I suppose the bright side is that I know what I like but the message I probably need to hear is “it’s okay to live a little!” Ha! Better luck next time, *eye roll*.
The biggest reason I bought rib knit (aside from my growing affinity for it) is that the neckband is long. This was my first time using waffle knit and I wasn’t sure how it would stretch, but I knew a rib knit would stretch nicely. I didn’t want to risk a crappy looking neckband (aw, the irony! You’ll see!) so using a rib knit seemed like the best solution. And for that purpose it really did do it’s job. It hugs my neck without puckering or pulling and looks pretty darn good. At least from the back side.
Which leads me to the issues I had. The buttons and buttonholes were where I had all my problems. The rest of the sewing went smoothly. But the buttons/buttonholes really gave me a run for my money.
Before I took them on, I tried the top on and pinned where I wanted the top button to go. Then I measured all the things and got going on the buttonholes, starting with the top most button. But my machine was not having it! It was sucking in the fabric and creating horrible knots of thread. After a couple of tries with it happening each time, I stopped and moved down to the next buttonhole where I was met with much more obedience. It was then that I realized that the interfacing didn’t go as high as the top button. It was giving me issues because there wasn’t enough structure! The solution that I found to mostly work was to add a small piece of tissue paper to the area I needed to sew. It gave just enough structure for me to get my buttonholes sewn and then I was able to just tear away the remaining tissue paper. But that top buttonhole is incredibly wobbly.
I found when I tried on my finished cardigan that all that headache over the top button was pointless! With the top button buttoned up, the whole sweater looks ridiculous. It tugs the sweater to make it bubble up and warp. I will never wear it with the top button done up! Ever! I thought that it would give me coverage to my taste level but it is absolutely unnecessary. I feel completely comfortable and sufficiently covered having it buttoned to where you can see in the above photo (even without the undershirt). That top button is so unnecessary and, to me, the wonky buttonhole is just an eyesore.
I also discovered upon trying it on that most of my buttonholes are a touch too big for their buttons. Buttons have annoyingly slipped out (which isn’t a huge deal because even though I’m comfortable with the neckline placement without an undershirt, I’m still going to wear an undershirt anyway). I don’t think I’ve ever properly learned how to add buttons and buttonholes and I’ve been able to do it adeptly for many projects but with this Marlo-and the mini Marlos I made alongside it-all having buttonhole issues, I’m wondering if I’m needing more instructions. Perhaps it was just the fact that I was making buttonholes on knit fabric?
So the button and buttonholes are where I almost lost it (both my sanity and the whole cardigan) but the mistakes aren’t horribly noticeable (except for that stupid top button. Obviously I’m still working through it. I almost resorted to removing the button and covering the buttonhole with some sort of enamel pin. I guess I’m still considering that as a viable option).
I only made one adjustment (aside from trying to add another darn button) and that was to add two inches to the bodice pieces. I’m shorter so it’s not common for me to add length but I do shy away from “too cropped” (which might just be not cropped when all is said and done?). In any case I’d say this length is good. For me.
I’ve worn this a few times now and the first time I wore it I felt terribly self conscious about the mistakes I had made. But all it took was my on-trend niece saying “I like your top” and I decided maybe the sweater wasn’t half bad after all. This iteration won’t ever win a place on my favorite things I’ve made list but it has its redeeming qualities. I like the fabric most of all but I also like the color and its versatility. The buttons are good. The fit is good. So yeah. Not all bad. I will say I’ve been surprised at how it feels in a totally different realm compared to the other Marlo. Obviously they are very similar. But one is ready to lounge and the other is a bit more structured. It’s like the same brand of shoe but a slipper versus sneaker. They each have their place. So I guess it’s okay that their color is practically the same since they serve different purposes. But I may just need to implement a buying fast for myself. Not against all fabric, just all fabric that falls into the “dusty pink” category. Stock up on some other colors for a change.
Pattern: Marlo Sweater by True Bias, crop version
Adjustments: Added 2 inches to bodice length
Fabric: Cotton waffle knit and coordinating rib knit from Isee Fabric
Cost: 1.5 yards waffle knit $27; .5 yd rib knit $9; buttons (Hobby Lobby) $6
Would I make this again?: Definitely; the Marlo pattern is awesome