This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
A lot of you lovely readers have said that my posts using my Cricut machines are doing nothing for convincing you that you don’t need one in your lives – well, I’m afraid this post is probably going to continue that thread 😂
So, brace yourselves for another vinyl-cutting adventure!
My eventual aim for my Cricut Explore Air 2 and EasyPress 2 was to embellish the clothing I make for myself. Having never used either of these types of machine before though, I didn’t want to run before I could walk so I started out with some easy decals for my sewing machine, before embellishing a toiletries bag with some iron-on vinyl. (Catch up on those posts here and here if you missed those!)
With those successfully executed and having a better idea of what I was doing, the third project was to be a garment that I’d made myself – either a T-shirt or a sweatshirt. As it’s winter here in London, a sweatshirt seemed the most weather-appropriate choice. I’d wanted to try out the Linden Sweatshirt by for a while, and a chance encounter brought it into my path.
The Linden is a raglan sweatshirt pattern from Grainline Studio. I’d had really good success with their Scout Tee, but hated the Archer shirt – so my experience of this pattern company to date was a mixed bag. While I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October this year, I saw a Linden ‘bundle’ for sale on the Guthrie and Ghani stand – you got the paper pattern, thread, jersey needles and with a couple of metres of a blush coloured sweatshirting fabric with metallic rose gold highlights. I immediately saw the finished garment in my head with a rose gold decal on the front. SOLD.
I’ve never bought a sewing kit before (probably because I’m SO fussy with fabrics 💁🏻♀️), but the fabric included is really lovely and excellent quality – it’s a cotton knit with a fleece back so it’s suuuuper warm, which is good for me because it means that I might not even have to wear my dressing gown in the house if I have this on 😂 (HOUSE COAT. I’m calling it my HOUSE COAT from now on 👌🏻)
Having not sewn the Linden pattern before, I decided to be sensible and have a test run (😱 😱 😱). Usually, I don’t make toiles – because who has time for that? – but I knew this one would be a pretty quick sew so I didn’t mind too much – plus I’m kinda short on jumpers so if I ended up with a wearable version, #winning.
Well, it turned out un-wearable in the end, so I didn’t get that second one after all 😑
Wanna hear about the dramas? Course ya do 🤪
I used some not-very stretchy (somewhere around or just under 20%) jersey fabric that I bought off eBay a long while ago but wasn’t quite what I wanted when it arrived – I originally bought enough to make a long-sleeved Kielo (surprise, lol) but the sellers interpretation of ‘jersey’ was like this not-really-stretchy-and-actually-quite-thick french terry kind of thing. Certainly not suitable for the Kielo I had planned (waaaayy too heavy) but I really liked the print so hung on to it, should it’s calling become clear.
This was not it’s calling.
The Linden is super quick to cut out – I made a size 6, for reference – and the main body comes together really really fast, especially on an overlocker. You could literally make yourself a whole wardrobe’s worth of jumpers in a weekend if you batch made these.
I debated whether to use rib or self-fabric for the cuffs and the waistband – the pattern says you can go with either, and the finished sample I saw on the Guthrie and Ghani stand used the main fabric and looked fine – so I thought for my first try I’d go with self. I’d have felt a bit icky if the rib didn’t exactly match the shade of the main fabric anyway, so it was probably the safer bet. Even buying black rib to go with black fabric is risky, because we all know that in the theme of that really terrible book, there are 50 shades of black 🖤
With that decision made, I cracked on with the trial run.
It all went well until I got to the neckline, and the fabric let me down. Okay, so it wasn’t entirely the fabric (a good workman never blames his tools – apparently 🤷🏻♀️) but the fabric definitely contributed to a fair chunk of the drama. One thing I always seem to fall down on with T-shirt necks is that I always, ALWAYS miss a bit of the body when overlocking the neckband to it, and this involves me going back and unpicking an overlocked edge. Which is NOT enjoyable. And this is precisely what happened with the trial run. I did think about just binning it (I’d already tried on the garment and confirmed that it fit okay) but I actually really liked the fabric so persevered. I resorted to cutting the neckband off instead of unpicking it, because I couldn’t face going the whole length of that neckline with the seam ripper. Yeah, I know, probably not the best option, because that then made the neckline a little bit bigger, which probably didn’t help the next shambles.
Because of the lack of stretch to the fabric, the collar wasn’t stretching enough to cover the whole (now slightly enlarged) neckline, and after stitching it there were wrinkles radiating outwards from the collar all the way around. It looked awful – like, I’d-be-embarrassed-to-wear-that-out-in-public kind of awful. So after cutting off the first collar, and making a shambles of the second attempt, I removed it (with a seam ripper 💪🏻 but mainly because I couldn’t cut it again and shave even more off that neckline 😂) and then I recut another neckband two inches longer than the first to try and stop the wrinkles. I sewed it to the shirt, but I still ended up with annoying little tucks along the front neckline and there was also the inevitable missed bit which I had to go back and redo. I stood back, evaluated, and admitted defeat. There were still lots of lines around the collar.
Never mind. I erased the experience from my mind and moved on to the good stuff. The fabric was cut (I stuck with the size 6, as the fit was fine) and I prepared to apply the decal to the front.
I’d already chosen my design – I got a portrait of a super cool tattooed gal from a designer on Etsy, and some Cricut Foil Iron-on in Rose Gold to match the metallic threads in the fabric. I wasn’t sure whether to apply the vinyl before or after sewing – in the end, I went with before, as I thought it might be easier to apply it to that one single-layered piece of fabric rather than have the bulk of a whole sweatshirt to deal with.
I used the supersize mat (12 x 24 inches) rather than the regular 12 x 12 inch one for this project, as I wanted my decal to be about 15 inches long. I actually timed the cutting process this time, and it took forty minutes to cut out this design. FORTY. FOUR ZERO 😱 Yeah, it takes time to cut the fiddly designs, but you can just set it and leave it, you don’t need to sit there with it. It took me probably an hour to weed it after that (which is removing all the negative space that you don’t want to be transferred). There were a lot of teeny tiny fine dots in the design file, which although the Cricut cut, were too small to actually leave on the backing sheet. They kept floating around, coming unstuck, so in the end, I decided to just remove them all from the design.
I used the Cricut ‘Heat Guide’ tool online to get the right temperature for my combination of vinyl and fabric, and it instructed a ‘cold peel’. This means that you have to wait for the whole thing to cool before you peel off the clear transfer sheet – all the iron-ons I’d tried up until this point had been ‘warm peels’, so I was intrigued as to what made this one different. (I still don’t know, FYI, so if you know, holla).
I marked the centre front at the neckline and hem to help place the design correctly – there’s no way I wanted to get it off centre and mess up the whole project!
I applied the EasyPress as instructed, and waited for the vinyl to cool. I was a bit nervous that the fiddly elements of the design wouldn’t stick properly – there are so many strands of hair, and lots of intricate detail on the tattoo sleeve – but not a single bit of it came up as I peeled back the clear sheet. Yay!
I then proceeded to sew the Linden together – the whole thing is done on the overlocker (apart from the optional finishing around the neckline that I used the coverstitch for) and it’s suuuuuuper fast because there’s only like ten seams or something and then BOOM you’re DONE 🙌🏻
(if you use pins for fabric destined for your overlocker, like I do in the picture above, PLZ remove yo pins before they get anywhere near the knife. You don’t need me to explain why, and if you do, I think you should stay away from using overlockers 😂)
The last finishing detail was the stitching around the collar – I played thread chicken with the coverstitch, which I lost miserably. I managed the whole seam apart from the last three inches, and had to unpick the wholllleeee lot 😫 That’ll teach me to be lazy about changing the threads 😑 Plus I didn’t have two spools of thread that matched so the two lines are slightly different shades of pink – not because I didn’t have matchy-matchy threads though, but deliberately for visual interest, innit 🤪
It’ll be interesting to see how the vinyl holds up in the wash and to everyday wear – you’re instructed to wash garments inside out and under no circumstances are you to put the iron directly onto the vinyl. I can confirm this is not a good idea – I saw a tiny edge that hadn’t quite stuck, so decided to put the iron on it quickly to glue it back down. The foil did NOT respond well to this 😂 Turns out, you need to place the clear liner back over the vinyl before you do that (tres important), and it would also be why you have to iron garments inside out if they have an iron-on design on them 🤦🏻♀️
I’m pleased to report though that the sweater has been through the wash – and indeed through the tumble drier – a couple of times and nothing is peeling off (yet). It still looks just the same as when I first applied it. Some of the Cricut vinyls I’ve seen say ‘outlasts 50 washes’ or ‘lasts three years/50 washes’, which I’m not sure whether it means that after those 50 washes it’ll peel off, or whether it will just start to show wear. I guess I’ll find out in about two years time…
For now though, I’m really happy with how this turned out and I’ve got a LOT more planned! I’ve already bought two more lots of sweatshirting fabric (one for me, one for the husbeast) to sew up and add more decals to – I’ll make another Linden and the husband will get the Wardrobe By Me Rebel Raglan Sweatshirt.
How many sweatshirts is too many? Asking for a friend, lolz.
If you have any good sweatshirt patterns to recommend, hit me up in the comments!👇🏻
And, if this post has confirmed the need for a Cricut machine in your crafting life, at least you can get one in the January sales or as a Christmas present from someone that wants to buy you something 🤑
You’re welcome. 😂
Happy Sunday guys ✌🏻
Next week on the blog – it’s that time of year again which means my quarterly roundup is due, along with a look back at the year just gone to see how my creative vibes have progressed 👀 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox! 🙌🏻