Finished Object: 9 Lines Sweater, Tee and Hack

May’s Hack of the Blank Canvas Tee- the 9 Lines Sweater and Tee- is complete!  Sure, it’s June 10, but I’m getting better with the dates.  I always seem to sew up the hack during the month and forget all the work that goes into writing it.  I’ll try to be more punctual.  This is the hemp-rayon jersey version.

I added three lines of pintucking to the back neck, I like the effect.  It takes so little effort to embellish a plain layering tee, and I think it’s well worth it.  This tee features a regular knit neck binding, underarm gussets for mobility (and to reduce bulk), and pintucked embellishments made with twin needles.

Though I intended the hack as a sweater, I made this one first to check if my gusset drafting would work on a knit.  It does!  I know gussets are kind of scary, but I over-explain them in the hack and I hope it’s useful to someone.  I know that some hiking and activewear uses gussets, and they’re especially wonderful for sweater weight fabrics.

The Hemp Rayon was not terribly difficult to sew with, even on the fiddly places. I still don’t see any pilling, I’ll be sure to update at the end of the winter.  So far, so good!

I re-watched Charade with Audrey Hepburn last week and this collar on “Reggie” caught my eye.  It’s one of those curious little standaway collars so popular in the 60’s.  I also have several standaway collars on my Hack Inspiration pinboard.  I wanted to try my hand at a collar like this, combined with my other inspiration (though on closer inspection, it looks like this is a standaway collar, too):

I used a very plushy merino jersey and felted it gently in the washing machine.  The result is like polar fleece, but sooooo soft and warm and magical.  Really.  I found the fabric as a second at The Fabric Store.  I’m not sure why it was a second, I couldn’t find a flaw on the fabric.  (In fact, before I cut the hack I wore the length of merino as a pashmina on a night out and was sorely tempted to leave it as a pashmina.)

You can see the seamlines. Buttons are glass and metal ones I re-discovered while digging through my stash. I love special surprises like that!  I like the shape of the collar, but I could easily add a hook and eye to keep it closed tighter.

Sewing in the button loops

Close-up of embellishment. I made 3 lines of pintucking on each line I marked, very effective for this fabric.

back neck embellishment- I hadn’t washed out the chalk lines yet, in case they were needed to help show the embellishments in photos…

This picture shows range of motion. It’s important to me that my clothes allow me to pursue a double life as Spiderman.

I really must blog this skirt… I wear it all the time.

Click image to download hack + sewing notes .pdf. It’s different from my previous hacks.

When I was about halfway through writing this hack, I had an idea about how to best present the information.  I’ve been struggling with this since I started publishing the hacks.  I’d like them to be as visually pleasing and useful as possible, to present drafting as a delightful creative exercise rather than some secret and scary skill.  I divided up the various design elements on this top and present them separately- both in the hacking and the sewing instructions.  I’d be very interested to hear any thoughts on the hack.

More shots from the mobility testing.  Clothes should be able to move, even the really lovely ones with glass buttons and pretty collars.

I’m really happy with this hack- both the garments I made and the pdf.  Time to turn around and work on June, maybe I’ll get it out before July!

Up Next: Altering the Clovers and also Welt Pocket Testing.  I’ve stumbled across several interesting welt pocket tutorials lately so I thought I’d try a few of them and pick a favorite.


  1. Tee he – Spiderwoman! Your little Miss L would have loved that! I really like this hack. The standaway collar is just a gorgeous feature as are the lovely pintuck embellishments. Secretly I’m sure you are a ninja in another life! I’m thinking I could play around with this hack using black and white contrast or even black and lavender – would give me an excuse to wear my purple / lavendar shoes. Cream and some sought of denim thread colour (you know that taupe / bronze / brown one) could also work. The most fun will be had finding buttons. Thanks for creating such a gorgeous hack. I will look forward to the instrucitons :) It’s tempting to do a little corduroy A-line skirt that sits below the knee to go with this. Hmmm – thoughts of holiday sewing, must get back to this marking pile. Three year 12s to go before my lovely 11s and then the 10s!

    • You’re so kind, Dianne. I bet you could make a fantastic sweater with this, you’re so skilled and I love your work.

      Oooooh! The idea with the contrasting/toning threads is so cool. I really want to see what that would look like.

      The instructions are on this hack. I was just so excited when I finished the drafting part the other night I had to leak it to Facebook.. ;)

  2. I want your black sweater. Seriously, I am jumping on a plane and coming to steal it out of your wardrobe, or if necessary, your laundry pile. It is quite simply beautimonious!

  3. The black sweater is gorgeous, I have only just found your site and I love the stuff you are making and wish I’d found information on inserting gussets before pulling my hair out last week when I made for the first time a top that I had copied from one I bought last year. I’m a bit of a chicken in experimenting with sewing stuff and tend to stick to what the pattern says as I have never really tried drafting and grading or much alteration, don’t know what has taken me so long to start looking at sewing blogs but its got me totally hooked on sewing again.

    • I get that… One of the reasons I started blogging was because I couldn’t find information on that type of thing, or when I did it was quite difficult to understand…. But I like figuring stuff out, so it’s all good.

      I LOVE all the inspiration and techniques on other blogs. It’s incredible, and has definitely helped me improve my sewing. (Not to mention, keeping motivated!).

  4. This is really lovely and suits you sooooo well, you look stunning! I like all of your recent hacks and projects (I know this is a very general statement, but really, I do).

    • Thanks… I’ve been thinking of this one for a few months, and it’s always nice when a project turns out well. I’m glad you like the hacks. :)

  5. This, I think, is my favourite but then I do so love merino. When you say you gently felted the fabric, what do you mean? I’ve tried warm wash and tumble with very very little effect, probably have the wrong fabric to start with…

    I do like the way you are presenting your hacks and I tend to skip up and down the post to see the elements that catch my eye as I read. So it works for me so far.

    • Well, I mean that when I washed it, it came out slightly felted. My gf bought the same fabric at the same time I did, and she washed hers with care. It didn’t come out semi-felted like mine. I shoved mine into a darks wash (no jeans) because I knew that’s the way the finished garment would be washed. I did use a wool-friendly soap and warm temperature, but I think the agitation with dark sheets and towels is what felted it.

      The format of the new hack is different, I’ll be interested to find out whether it’s a better way to present the information or worse…

      • Oh and I didn’t notice the difference in format nor think that the previous one wasn’t working for me either. So, from my limited perspective, take your pic!

  6. Oh how lovely! I think I’ll have to give this month’s hack a go (one more to my to-do list… haha). How exactly did you felt the merino in the washing machine? With warm water I assume?

  7. Once again truly creative…makes me wonder why more people don’t use pin tucking as a decorative touch. Finding cool buttons in your stash…you lucky girl!

  8. Ooo, I really like the details on this one! I love the idea of felting the wool also. I was planning to try that in the fall with a few of my crocheted items – oddly, I had not considered doing it with fabric. Thanks for sharing! :-)

  9. I love this! The pleats are wonderful! My fave is the black one – love that button detail and standaway-inspired collar! I see what you mean about possibly adding a hook & eye or something to make it close up “properly”, but I really like that it doesn’t close properly, especially at the top of that line of buttons. I am completely FREAKED OUT about drafting anything – secret and scary indeed – so will download your hack and give it a try….once my sewing table is cleared of beads and such…. And not to beat a dead horse, but I did notice two garments in my closet that are rayon/lycra that have been washed and dried to death over the last couple of years and they are completely pill-less and have maintained their shape – no drooping and sagging (like I need any help in that department!!!!). I purchased the fabric from EmmaOneSock online. Just thought I’d let you know! I can’t let a question go if it’s niggling in my mind until I have some sort of answer…. :) :) :)

    • Thanks. :) It’s really, really comfy to wear….

      Drafting isn’t hard, I remember I used to be terrified of it too and would always make a big mess of it… But then I realized I was making it harder on myself than necessary and loosened up a bit…

      Thanks for the info on the pilling. It seems to me that the quality of rayon fabric tends to vary wildly… It’d be interesting to find out which methods of making rayon end up producing the most durable fabric… Oh well.

  10. I love both of these tops. We’re entering the humid summer here in the US NE, but once Fall rolls around I’m going to revisit your sweater hack. The shoulder buttons and the pintucking are in that perfect place between classic and whimsy.

    Also, I just noticed the great OWS image on the sidebar. I remember when I first saw that bull in person–when I moved to NY a number of years ago. I disliked it as a symbol of male aggressiveness, greed, etc. and could not figure out why tourists were so fascinated with it. The dancer/yogini is the perfect response–redirecting the bull. There’s also a great video somewhere online of an artist that yarn-bombed the bull. If I remember right, the she knitted it into a multi-color sweater. That was great too, wish I could remember her name.


    • Thanks, Jen… I consider that a huge compliment!

      Some of my old friends were at Occupy, I was pretty glued to all the coverage and writing that was going on then… An amazing time…

  11. Oh my gosh! Just when I think these hacks can’t get any prettier, you go and pull this out of the bag!
    I think this is the perfect sweater! I want one in every colour! And I need to stop with the exclamation marks! ;-)

    • Hehehe. You could always make one… It would definitely get worn more in your climate than mine, I plan to make a few cute chilly weather hacks while I can! I do love the clothes I can wear in chilly weather…

    • I’d really like to see a short sleeve version, I think it would work… I do wonder if short sleeve + button placket would work, I might play with it next summer…

  12. Wow, this shirt is so cool it makes me wish we were approaching fall, not summer, here in Europe. Well, almost. I’m actually looking forward to summer and will therefore rather try the flutter sleeves for now ;-)
    looking forward to your future hacks,

    • Thanks! Summer is lovely, and I do have some little summer hacks in there.. Are you planning to do a v-neck or crew? Any lace insertion? It’s not terribly difficult and it really increases the quality of the finished garment… ;)

      The Fall will come soon enough….

  13. Oh, I love it—especially the three lines of pintucks! I wish I could find nice sweater-knit around here… even the sweatshirt knits are usually nasty, polyester, and really expensive. /sigh.

    • Maybe Santa will send you some merino. It’s weird to me that I can get decent sweater knits quite easily here in the Land of Perpetual Summer and you can’t even though you’re frozen most of the year. Crazy. We have to do something about that..

  14. This is my favorite hack yet! The black sweater is super flattering on you. I love the pretty details and the gussets.

  15. I am loving your blank canvas tee & will definitely be seeing up this “hack”! So cute, love the detailing!! (it will be my 3rd). Thank you soo much for sharing your knowledge, talent, & patterns!

  16. I really love this one – both versions. The pintucks are fabulous, but the collar is so interesting. Not something you see everyday.

  17. Both versions are lovely.

    Please blog the skirt! I want to make one just like it. Would it work in a heavy slightly-stretch denim?

  18. Steph, that’s a lovely hack with the pintucks and the one-shoulder buttons. I’ve got some merino lurking in the cupboard so I might try felting a small patch next weekend. Especially as I tend to toss it in the machine on a normal cycle anyhow and it takes that without blinking, it might take the tumble dry to bulk it up a bit?

    • Thanks. :)

      I usually wash my merino in the machine as well.. This was by no means a disaster, the fabric was already pretty thick and fluffy, it just sort of fluffed it more. Most merinos I’ve handled were smooth and regular t-shirt weight (or only slightly heavier)… But the dryer may work, do try a swatch and I’d be interested to hear what you find out… :)

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  20. Ohh, I think this is my favourite hack so far! I love the pin-tucks and the lovely line of buttons on the shoulder. Very nice details!

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