Rachel Twin-Set

The Rachel Twin-Set Tank in Catalina Knit
The Rachel Twin-Set Tank in Catalina Knit
Close Up of Rachel Twin-Sew Tank in Catalina Knit
Close Up of Rachel Twin-Sew Tank in Catalina Knit
Rachel Twin-Set Cardigan in Tactel Nylon.
Rachel Twin-Set Cardigan in Tactel Nylon. I WISH that was my bike!

 

Angela Wolf’s Rachel Twin-Set is an unassuming pattern. The cover photographs and line drawings don’t look too special, but we have a few samples of the cardigan on display in the shop, and everyone wants one! The cardigan is drop-dead gorgeous in person, and the tank-top has great lines.

 

Rachel Twin-Set Sizing

The Twin-Set Pattern comes in either XXS-XL, or 2X-5X. I made both pieces of the twin-set in extra-large to minimize the amount of bust adjustment necessary on the tank-top, and eliminate the need for adjustment on the cardigan. And, of course, the shoulders are too big on both. Will I ever learn? During my many Palmer/Pletsch fit classes, Pati Palmer and Marta Alto have taught me to fit the shoulders first, and then alter everything else as needed. Why hasn’t that lesson stuck with me? Why do I try to take shortcuts? These are the existential questions with which I will constantly grapple…

 

The Fabrics I used

I made the tank out of our Robert Kaufman Catalina Knit in White; and, I made the cardigan out of our Tactel Nylon Knit in Magenta. Both fabrics were easy to sew. The Catalina knit doesn’t have any spandex, and it made me realize how rarely I sew with non-spandex knits. I ended up redoing the neck and armhole bindings on the tank a couple of times partly because I started with a size too large, but also because I am not accustomed to the lack of recovery. The Tactel nylon was just the right weight for twin-needle top stitching on my regular machine, which looks so pro!

 

Alterations I made

I made small alterations to both the tank and the cardigan. For the tank, I did a ¾” full-bust-adjustment, and I shortened the neck and armhole bindings by at least an inch each. I lengthened the cardigan by two inches, which meant lengthening three pattern pieces. Angela includes beautiful illustrations showing how and where to lengthen each piece. I love that she removes the need for me to do any mental gymnastics. She also explains the best way to apply the neck and armhole bindings (where to stretch, and where to not stretch).

 

Conclusions

Although both the tank and the cardigan are quick to sew, my sewing windows are very short and sporadic, so I ended up using three different machines and four different techniques during construction. I serged the inside of the cardigan at the shop, which worked great because there aren’t any tricky little corners. Then I topstitched all cardigan the hems with a twin needle on my Bernina at home. I sewed the tank on my Bernina at home using it’s cool “heavy knit” stitch. When I decided to rip out the bindings on the tank to tighten them up, I reinserted them at the shop using our new Eloflex thread and a straight stitch on my Viking. Do you ever use a ton of different sewing techniques and machines in one project?

 

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