I have made many wrap styles before, both in woven and knit fabrics, but they all have in common that they were fitted bodices with either a skirt or a peplum attached. The Serenity sweater is different and a new-to-me pattern and style and I wanted to see how to make it my own.
The Serenity sweater was recently re-released to improve the size range to 5X. That’s great and all the patterns will be updated with sizes XS-5X by the end of 2021.
The Serenity Sweater has two lengths, one is cropped at the waist and the other hits the full hip.
The front pieces overlap and have an elastic between them. This clever trick brings in the front whilst creating a draped look on the front. The back hem can be straight or curved.
There is a separate cut line for a sleeveless armhole with armbands or sleeves that can be short, 3/4 and long length.
Recently, a free add-on for a hem band option has been added to the Serenity sweater and you can download it here, in the description box of the linked video from the Love Notions Youtube channel. This is the option I used.
The pattern instructions mention light to medium knit fabrics like: Sweater knits, modal, DBP and I would add ribbed knit and athletic knits.
I have chosen rayon spandex and I would not recommend this fabric in relation to the original construction technique used in the Serenity Sweater. I am using it because I will change the neckline construction.
As mentioned above, the Serenity Sweater now is available in sizes XS-5X and the upper measurements are a 57.5″ bust circumference and a 59.5″ hip circumference. There is no full bust option in this pattern, but I don’t think the style is sensitive to requiring a FBA because of the style and ease. I chose size XL.
The design has positive ease and is a relaxed fit. Approximately 3-4″ of positive ease at the bust and waist. The Serenity sweater is fitted at the hips.
The cropped version is 17″ long and the full hip version is 23″ long. I would always choose the full hip length. The new FREE hem band add-on means the full hip length will be longer than the original design.
I used the FREE hem band add-on, and I pinned the band to the back pattern piece with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowance to measure the total length. For the total length that I prefer, I needed to shorten by 2.5″ both the front and back pieces of the sweater. This will result in a length that hits my full hip with the hem band sewn on and not below the full hip.
There is no shorten and lengthen line on the pattern pieces. I drew a line 3″ from the bottom edge and overlapped the 2.5″ I wanted to remove from the length. The side seams have a little area of distortion and I smoothed them out, whilst keeping the bottom of the pattern pieces of the original width.
The center of the front piece has quite a lot of distortion when overlapping to reduce length. Again, I kept the original width of the bottom of the front pattern piece and added some width to the front when smoothing the line up to the upper chest area.
There is a narrower cut line for the sleeveless option on the front and back pattern pieces. I combined this sleeveless cut line on the top but blended my armscye curve into the original armscye meant for sleeves. This will result in more coverage in the underarm area. This is my preference. The Serenity sweater has an armband pattern piece. I adjusted the length of this piece to match my new armscye length: it’s shorter than the original.
I measured my new armscye circumference once the garment was sewn, 1/4″ away from the edge. Took that measurement and calculated 85% of that to cut my new armband.
A little context on my goal: I have never liked the look of a camisole under a wrap style bodice for modesty purposes. I think if a wrap style needs a cami underneath, we can easily raise the neckline to not have to wear a garment underneath. In my world, it’s too hot to wear a layer. But, most importantly, I want a clean V look neckline with a wrap style that shows my skin.
In this case, the Serenity sweater IS A LAYERING PIECE meant to go over a long sleeve top or cami. It’s designed for cooler weather. Naturally, the crossover is designed to be lower on the chest. What do I want? to wear the sweater on its own. It’s hot and I want a single layer. I want my Serenity sweater to be a cool wrap sleeveless top! it’s hot here.
Above you can see a diagram of my simple idea…. a 1″ wide neckband! this will make the front wider and I can wear the crossover higher so that the garment on its own.
I have a diagram above that illustrates what to do, and it’s so simple. Pin the shoulder seams at 3/8″ and measure the neckline 1/4″ away from the edge. This is the stitching line because I will use 1/4″ to sew the neckband.
On my pattern, this is 30″ and multiplying this by 2 to get the total length…. is 60″. I want my neckband to be 85% of the length so that by being shorter, the band brings the neckline closer to the body. So, 60″ X 0.85= 51″
My neckband needs to be 51″ inches long. I will use the armband pattern piece as reference so that the armband and neckband have the same finished width. I just made the armband piece extra long…. 51″ long.
I cut the neckband on the fold of the fabric. I cut the armbands as full extended pieces (not on the fold).
- Seam allowance is 3/8″
- The original neckline is folded in and top stitched with a twin needle or cover stitch. This is not my favorite technique but understand it’s use in this loose layering style that is not meant to be close to the chest. I prefer a band or binding for knit wrap necklines.
- The pattern has a clickable link to a video tutorial with all you need to add the elastic on the hem and finish the neckline neatly at the shoulder seams and side seams.
- I fuse a strip of non-stretch interfacing on the back shoulders to stabilise them when sewn to the front piece. Over time, the shoulder won’t stretch out.
- I serge raw edges for neatness AND sew the seams with my domestic sewing machine. A shallow zig zag does the trick and allows stretch in the seams. 0.5 width and 2.5 length.
- I divide the neckline, armscye and hem of the garments into quarters and mark them with pins. I do the same with the neckband, armband and hem band. The bands need to be stretched slightly to match the quarters of the gament, and they are all sewn the same way.
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SERENITY SWEATER: SLEEVELESS, EXTRA NECKBAND & HEM BAND ADD -ON
My fabric is a statement and has a bold print. I love it! It’s rayon spandex and cool enough for my weather. I managed a higher crossover that allows this garment to be worn on its own… PIN FREE and CAMI FREE. YAS.
The length of my Serenity sweater is exactly where I wanted it to be. The full hip. If I had added the hem band without measuring first, the garment would have been too long for me. This is all personal preference.
I have paired my Serenity Sweater with my beloved Sybil Illusion skirt collection Pencil skirt with a long zipper hack. You can read a post about this skirt HERE on my blog and HERE on the Love Notions blog.
I love the depth of this neckline and feel so comfortable and at ease that my Serenity summer sweater can be worn on its own. It’s actually a “wrap top” now, no layering for me.
I really like that the band brings in the garment at the hips and that the wrap style has a diagonal draping effect on the front. It skims right over the tummy.
This is such a unique design and a totally new style for me. I knew what I wanted from this pattern from the get go and I’m glad I gave it a go. I had overlooked the Serenity Sweater many times whilst being stuck in the thought that this was a layering piece only. Thinking out of the box and making small changes for the style to work for me was very enjoyable and everything Limitless sewing is set out to be!
Making it again? SURE! I have the adjustments made and am very happy with this version of the Serenity Sweater. It’s a quick and easy sew too! perfect for a break between more involved makes. I’d love to make a one from black rayon French terry I have in my stash and possibly add faux piping between the neckline and the neckband for a little something extra.
DISCLAIMER: I have access to Love Notions patterns as a brand ambassador. I purchased fabric for this project. I produce sewing content independently from pattern brands and share my unique way of sewing with you. I don’t necessarily follow instructions rigidly. My opinions are honest, especially around fit and sewing techniques.
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