A Boatneck Hemlock for Spring + Tutorial
DIY Boat Neck Sweater Tutorial
I can announce proudly without any shame that this is the fifth sweater I've made using the Grainline Hemlock Tee pattern.
I can also announce that I've bought enough fabric to make two more versions for summer... because #cantstopwontstop.
Today I'm sharing a tutorial on how I made this boat-neck version of the Hemlock sweater. This version has a higher neckline than the original pattern (so no more sliding off your shoulders) that will look super on-trend for spring.
If you're looking for the perfect transitional sweater that looks like summer but is warm enough to get you through days that feel like winter, this is it.
This tutorial is suitable for anyone with basic sewing skills, but previous experience sewing with knits is a plus. Although we will be making some of our own pattern pieces, the fit is very forgiving, so it's a great beginner hack. It's also the perfect project for improving your skills working with knit fabrics.
So, let's jump into it!
1) Get the Hemlock Pattern and Start Cutting!
You can download this base pattern for FREE on Grainline's blog. It's only one-size, unfortunately, but since it's just a few squares it would be easy to add/subtract a few inches if necessary. I've also made my usual adjustment to the pattern, shorten by a few inches, add a few inches to the sleeves, and take in the sleeves and size seems by an inch or two.
Start by cutting out your pattern pieces but leaving the neckline straight across. We'll cut that out based on our measurements in the following steps.
2) Starting with the front piece, fold in half and mark 5" from the CF (Center Front).
This will give us a total neckline width of 10". If you'd like yours to be longer or shorter, adjust this number accordingly.
3) Mark 2.5" down from the CF. Cut smoothly across to the previous mark we made at 5" from the CF.
When making the initial cut into the fold line, make sure to cut at a completely straight angel for 1/4" to prevent making a v-neck. From there, make sure you curve smoothly up to the mark, avoiding any jagged edges.
4) Fold out your pattern piece, make sure it looks nice and even on both sides.
Double check for any sharp edges and make sure there is no point forming at the CF. If you're satisfied, move onto the back.
5-8) Repeat steps 2-4 on the back side.
This time we will still be extending our neckline 5" past the center back (CB), but only dipping down 1" at the neckline to create a higher neckline at the back. Once you are happy with this piece, move onto step 9.
9) Sew the shoulders using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Once the shoulder seams are in place, slip the sweater over your head to test for fit. Is the neckline too high? If so, re-fold, take a little off the neckline, and test again.
10) Measure the neck hole.
Since we re-drew the neck hole we're going to need to cut a custom piece of neckline binding to finish it. Start by measuring the total circumference of the hole. We're going to want our final binding piece to be 10% shorter than this finished length so it keeps the neckline taught.
To reduce the size, multiply the circumference by 0.9. This will give you the right total length for this binding piece. Next, add 1/4" seam allowance (S/A) on either side.
If my hole was 19.5" wide
19.5 x 0.9 = 17.55"
Plus S/A (0.25" x 2 = 0.5")
Finished pattern piece = 18" long
Now you'll need to cut out a rectangle that is 18" long and however wide you want your finished binding to be PLUS 1/2" for S/A. Here I made my binding piece 1" wide for a very narrow finished band.
11) Sew the neckband, right sides together, with a 1/4" Seam Allowance into a circle.
Woohoo! You've got binding!
12) Sew the binding to the neck hole.
Pin the binding around this neck hole evenly and sew together.
13) Topstitch binding in place.
After this step you can add your sleeves and finish with construction as per the pattern instructions.
Congratulations my friend, you just made yourself an awesome boat neck sweater pattern!
Can we say heart eyes?
Every time I try to show off a new Hemlock in blog pictures I try to re-create Jen's iconic pose with her arms out to the side like a T. I always think it makes me look a little strange, but here it is for a giggle. You can really see in this picture how the sweater is basically just rectangles and could easily be DIY drafted if it didn't come in your size range.
Do you guys have a favourite sweater pattern? This has to be mine, hands down, but I'm curious if you have any other essentials I should try.