Two Pieces | Vogue 9181 + Jalie Emilie

An Outfit for First Snow of the Season

We had a marvellous autumn in western Canada with warm dry days and just a couple of hints of frost. When I was perusing Fabric Mart Fabric’s site in October, I was tempted to focus on pretty florals for blouses or dresses but part of me knew that … (da dah dum … ) winter was coming. Fortunately, Fabric Mart was stocked with a huge selection of cooler weather fabrics that are perfect for winter or holiday sewing.

Over the past several months I’ve been planning my sewing projects so I have pieces that work together so I decided to pick a print fabric for a top, and a solid for pants, using navy as the base.

Pants

For the pants I selected a Poly/Nylon/Spandex Stretch Corduroy in Navy. Corduroy is great for cooler weather, but if you live in a cold climate with blast furnaces you know that heavyweight cord can feel good outdoors but too warm when you come inside. This fine 14-wale corduroy is warm enough to wear outdoors but will be especially comfortable indoors. It also has a bit of drape which makes it nice for trousers. And who doesn’t want some stretch?

I selected Vogue 9181 (Custom-Fit Bootcut Pants) because it is designed for stretch woven fabrics, it has bootcut legs, and it has a front mock zip. For the past several months I’ve been working on the Top Down Center Out fitting method for pants and this pattern, with its shaped waistband, works especially well when learning Top Down Center Out. I first made a half-toile using muslin, then marked up the pattern and cut out the corduroy. The fabric was really easy to cut and sew. It does shed a bit but not nearly as much as cotton corduroy. I used a stretch needle and sewed the seams on my sewing machine, then serged the seam allowances.

I made two mistakes when sewing the pants and both were simply a result of a lack of experience working with corduroy. The first was neglecting to sew a test buttonhole on scrap fabric. That resulted in a good hour of unpicking after I made the same mistake twice! The second error is more embarrassing but I know I’m not the first nor will I be the last to do this. When I cut out the cord I didn’t even think about the nap of the fabric. So my finished pants has the nap going up on the front and down on the back. It makes a difference! I’m hoping that no one will notice and if they do, they’re looking too closely.

These pants are super comfortable. I like the drape with the boot cut shape.

Top

The second part of my outfit is a loose-fitting turtleneck that is perfect for winter weather.

When I was shopping Fabric Mart in the middle of October there were a number of fun holiday print fabrics and I just couldn’t resist this brushed sweater knit with Christmas trees and cabins in non-traditional colours. I think this print will be wearable throughout the winter, not just over the holiday period. This sweater knit is a poly/lycra blend and the stitches are very fine so it feels like a jersey. It has lovely drape and feel cosy but not too warm.

I went back to a favourite pattern, the Jalie Emilie. This free, downloadable pattern is sized for girls aged 2 through bust measurement of about 51″. It’s oversized with dropped shoulders and a turtleneck collar. I’ve used this pattern several times and love it because it’s such a fast make and is a great shape for wearing over tights or pants. And it’s fast! You can sew the whole sweater on the overlocker or serger, or on a sewing machine. The only change I make when sewing this top is to slightly change the shape of the columnar tube collar so it’s more loose fitting around the neck.

As you can see, we’re already in winter mode here in western Canada! I know I’ll get lots of wear out of both of these pieces. Only about seven months of winter to go!

Three Pieces for my new wardrobe

This post is shared in conjunction with Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog.

Until March 10, 2020, I worked in an office five days a week. And although my employer had a casual dress code, there was still a work ‘uniform’ which for me was a dress, trousers or skirt, a ‘business-appropriate’ top, and a jacket or sweater. And shoes with heels! The working world has changed and maybe I won’t be in an office again all week – it could be that I’ll be in an office a couple of days a week and working from the home computer on other days. That doesn’t mean that I want to live in yoga pants and a t-shirt, I enjoy being ‘presentable.’

My wardrobe has to adapt to this change plus be prepared for a new climate! This summer, we moved from the United States to my hometown of Calgary, Canada. Other than our brief stay in Pennsylvania, we’ve been in the southern U.S. states (where 10C/50F is considered ‘cold’) since 2002 which means that I need a lot of stuff for ccccccold weather.

I spent some time perusing Fabric Mart Fabric’s website and found some great fabrics that spurred my creativity!

Piece 1: Dress/Jumper

The base item is a Lodo Dress from True Bias patterns. For this dress, I chose a pretty royal blue Ponte knit from Fabric Mart’s website. Ponte is one of my favourite fabrics to sew and wear in cooler weather! I like that it has enough stretch for movement (like doing a quick vacuum between Zoom calls) and is comfortable for sitting at a desk all day. And it can be sewn on a regular sewing machine, serger or cover stitch. So versatile!

The Lodo dress is a classic that I’ve made before in the above-knee length. This time I went for the longer mid-calf length because I think it’s likely to be more wearable in a place where boots are the footwear of choice for five months of the year. The longer length is also more comfortable for me when sitting at a desk (no worrying about a skirt riding up 😉. While a lot of people wear the Lodo as a standalone dress, I like to wear it as a jumper/pinafore over a top and opaque tights.

Piece 2: Top

I’m so excited about this garment! When I saw this “English Canine Print” jersey on the Fabric Mart website, I had to have it. (Shhh – don’t tell the cats that I’m wearing something that features dogs!) It’s quirky enough to be interesting but not so out there that it looks like a novelty. It’s a stretch cotton jersey and is neither too lightweight or too heavy – perfect for a top that skims the body. The pattern I used is the Maven Patterns Somerset T. This boat-neck t-shirt can be made with different sleeve styles and I selected Bishops Sleeves with a deep cuff. Big statement sleeves continue to be in stores and on the runway but let’s face it – runway designers aren’t planning for those of us who need to wear coats. I love this long cuff because it keeps the sleeves where they are supposed to be, instead of half way up my forearms!

The knit was easy to sew. I sewed most of the seams on the serger, and then topstitched the boatneck and hem with the cover stitch.

This fabric is perfect for this pattern, although it would also work well with a bamboo or lighter fabric. I’m planning to make more – maybe next time I’ll use a contrast fabric for the cuff, or a sheer fabric for the sleeves for holiday evenings out.

Piece 3: Jacket

Edge of collar is left raw.

The final piece is a cosy, fleece jacket that can be worn as a cardigan or jacket, depending on the weather. The fleece I chose has “Prussian Blue/Vivid Auburn” horizontal stripes, and it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside, which was important for the pattern I chose. Vogue 8676 (out of print) is a Marcie Tilton pattern designed for fleece and boiled wool. All of the edges are left raw – so on the collar and cuffs you can see both the wrong and right sides. This fleece worked really well as there is a slight difference in the print on the right side and wrong side. Because of the design of the fabric, the collar edges look really interesting – almost like trim was added. The collar doesn’t have a button. I keep it closed with a stick pin that I borrowed from my mom’s jewellery box. You don’t really need to close the collar but when the north wind blows …Fleece is easy to work with. This particular fabric is medium weight and my machine didn’t struggle with the many layers on edges. I used a ballpoint needle and as mentioned, the edges are left unfinished so a serger or cover stitch isn’t needed to make a nice looking jacket.

And … The Outfit

I selected all of these fabrics online without using swatches and the colours work together just as I expected! On the top there are blue highlights on the Union Jack and River Thames and those match the Royal Blue dress, and the blue/auburn stripes on the jacket coordinate well with everything.

For labels, these Kylie and the Machine ones really add a professional touch. Does anyone remember when we didn’t add labels? Or we just wrote on a piece of twill tape with a special pen? (Dating myself, clearly.)

These three pieces will get a great deal of wear in the colder months. I especially like that all are so versatile and can transition from meetings in an office to hanging out at home – with a stop at a restaurant in between.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the garments and information on how I sewed them, please visit my YouTube channel.

Thanks for visiting!

Fore!

Fore!
This blog post was originally published on Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog on May 12, 2021. I’ve included a bit of extra info and more photos here.

Last year I decided to take up golf again after playing only a handful of times over the past two decades. When I think back to what we were wore for golf when I was playing in the 90s it was basically regular street clothes – 100% cotton pants and knit or woven tops with practically no stretch. Times have changed! Golf wear is now truly athletic wear and those constricting fabrics have been replaced by technical fabrics. But RTW golf clothes are expensive, in boring colors, and the sizing isn’t always inclusive. Time to make my own.

I spent some time going through my patterns and found that I had everything I needed to make a full outfit comprised of a top, jacket, skirt, and little shorts to be worn under the skirt.

Fabrics

If you sew you know that it can be quite difficult to find technical fabric for athletic wear. A couple of months ago I discovered that Fabric Mart has an entire section of fabric suitable for athletic wear! My jacket and top patterns both have side panels/princess seams so I picked out two fabrics that would look good together.

French Wine Pink Polyester/Lycra Techno Knit is a beefy athletic wear fabric in gorgeous cherry pink. There is plenty of stretch and it’s suitable for a top, jacket, leggings or even a dress.

Powder White Nylon/Lycra Tricot Activewear Knit is lighter in weight than the Techno Knit. It drapes nicely and is almost opaque. This fabric feels like many of my summer RTW athletic tops. It would be excellent for tops and lightweight jackets, and depending on your style, for leggings or skirts.

When I received my activewear fabrics from Fabric Mart, I discovered in my stash a piece of Stretch Bengaline (purchased from Fabric Mart/Julie’s Picks last summer) and it had that same cherry pink in the print. Best of all, the bengaline has almost 50% stretch along the length of the fabric. There’s lots of bending in golf so stretch is good! I now had everything I needed for my golf wardrobe.

Patterns

I selected four patterns:

Top: Butterick 6494 – close-fitting top with raglan sleeves, front and back princess seams and a small stand collar. The pattern has long sleeves, so I cut them short to make the top suitable for summery weather. (In 2017, I made this top in French terry .)

Shorts: Kwik Sew 4044 – elastic waist capris cut to short length.

Jacket: Kwik Sew 3452 (out of print) – quarter-zip jacket with raglan sleeves, side panels and stand up collar.

Skirt: Pamela’s Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt – elastic waist skirt modified to A-line with side slits and pockets. (I wrote about this pattern in 2019 in this post.)

I was a bit concerned about the sizing of both the top and the jacket. I had made the top before so knew that it fit but wanted to ensure that any pandemic-related spread was covered so cut generous seam allowances along the side seams. For the jacket, I read several reviews that said it was ‘close-fitting’ and even the pattern envelope notes that. The seam allowances for the jacket are just 1/4″ so I doubled those and cut 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere except at the shoulders, neck and hem. As it turned out, I didn’t need the added ease on either piece. Both are generously sized. In fact, I took off all of the excess on the front of the top. It’s easier to take away than add.

The top, jacket and shorts were all cut at the same time. All three of these patterns are easy to sew and a beginner could make them with a bit of understanding of how to sew knits. The neck opening on the top is a bit fussy but not horribly so.

For the jacket and the top, I basted the side seams together to check for fit and then used my serger to stitch the seams. There is a bit of hand sewing on the collars for both of these garments.

The jacket has excellent instructions for adding a zipper. I was a bit concerned about sewing a zipper onto stretch fabric but I needn’t have been. The pink Techno Knit is very stable.  As always, every project has to have one UGH moment and this one involved the zipper. I bought a decorative zipper pull, had difficulty taking off the original pull and broke it off. So I had to unpick the zipper – topstitching and all. Through all of that, the fabric didn’t stretch and I was careful enough that there were no pulls. Like all of my mistakes, this one counts as practice. 🙄😏

The shorts are a super-fast make:  left piece, right piece, elastic. I first traced the pattern onto tracing paper and checked the fit before cutting the fabric. I am still learning about sewing bottoms with legs (i.e., not skirts) and I found that this is a good pattern to play with because there are so few pieces so adjustments to the crotch seams are visually easier to work with. Even with this step the shorts were finished in record time.

The only piece that required design adjustments was the skirt. You don’t usually think of a pencil skirt for golf, however I have sewn this pattern a couple of times and felt confident that it was a great place to start. A note that the bengaline stretched along the length of the fabric. I was careful to layout the pattern so the stretch would be around the width of my body. The fabric print is random so this worked out just fine.

To make the skirt suitable for golf I made a few simple adjustments:

  • Created an A-line shape by adding 3″ on each side seam at the hem, then drew a line tapering out from the hip to the hem.
  • When stitching down the side seam I stopped 4 1/2″ from the lower edge to allow for side slits. The hem is 1 ½” which means the slits open 3”.
  • The seam allowances on the side slits were then turned under and topstitched, and the skirt was hemmed as usual.  
  • Two pockets were added: On the upper right side there is a small 4” square pocket big enough for tees, a ball repair tool and ball marker. On the left side a larger pleated pocket holds at least a couple of golf balls.  

And just like that I have a great new golf outfit 🙂

I wore this outfit to play 18 holes while walking and pushing a cart and this outfit is definitely comfortable. It was coolish when we tee’d off (55F/12C) and by the time we came off the 18th green it was sunny and quite warm (80F/26C). The fabric wasn’t sweaty or uncomfortable, it’s designed to be worn outside when you’re moving around in all kinds of weather.

EARLY morning of golf!

The athletic knit fabrics were much easier to work with than I expected. I am now on the hunt for more patterns for golf clothes. If only it was as easy to improve my golf game as it is to sew the clothes!

P.S. I talk a bit about this project on my YouTube Channel, Janine Sews.

 Tips:

  • If you cut more than one pattern at the same time, use Painter’s tape to mark the pieces so you don’t get them mixed up. I also use Painter’s tape to mark the wrong side of the fabric when necessary.
  • A fresh rotary cutter blade makes for beautiful clean cuts on athletic knits.
  • Use a fresh needle in your machine. I used a ballpoint needle for all parts of the project.
  • If you have a serger, use it! 
  • If you do not have a serger, these fabrics can be sewn with a narrow zig zag (I use a .5mm wide x 1.6mm long stitch)
  • When working with unfamiliar fabrics, test all seams and stitches on scraps before sewing. While it’s possible to pick out stitches on knit fabrics, there is always the risk of causing a pull.

Anticipation – Cashmerette Webster Dress

Anticipation – Cashmerette Webster Dress

This project was shared on Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog on March 10, 2021. Fabric Mart provided me with the dress fabric, thread and pattern in exchange for this blog post. If you’re a regular reader of my blog or watch my YouTube channel you will know that I have bought a lot of fabric from Fabric Mart over the past 3 years, so I definitely am a customer!

One of my favourite colour combos is yellow and grey. When we went on our first real vacation about 10 years ago, I planned my wardrobe around those two colours. I had a yellow trench coat, grey jeans, grey dresses, yellow print tops … Making this dress filled me with the anticipation of warmer days and trips to restaurants, patios and maybe even soaking up the sun on the balcony of some vacation villa.

The fabric was obtained online from Fabric Mart Fabrics and was described as “Caution Yellow/Graphite Grey Blouseweight Woven.” This is a completely opaque polyester fabric that would make a nice blouse but I think it’s better suited for a dress.

Pattern – Cashmerette Webster

As this will be a sit-around with a drink or hang out on vacation dress, I wanted something comfortable so selected the Cashmerette Webster. I liked this pattern for the fitted bust, loose body and interesting straps on the back. It’s also perfect for a fabric that drapes well and floats in the wind.  I’ve made the Cashmerette Springfield top a couple of times and loved the simplicity of working with a pattern that doesn’t need a full bust adjustment, or a shortened waist so I decided to give this pattern a try.

If you haven’t heard of Cashmerette, its patterns are designed for people with curves – in particular, boobs. (Cashmerette has recently started the process of expanding their size range to cover those from sizes 0-32.) The size charts are slightly different from Big 4 patterns, however, they offer a handy size calculator which was very helpful because I definitely would have cut the wrong bust cup size. After using the guidance from the website, the only adjustment I made when cutting the dress was adding 2” to the length. (There was one other adjustment while sewing … keep reading …)

Details

The weave on this fabric is dense and so I used a few fine pins then added weights (and a cat) to secure everything while I cut with scissors. I didn’t use a rotary cutter this time because the fabric slipped a bit.

Note – It is important to carefully mark the placement lines for the upper straps so they are angled correctly on your back.

Helpful Caternweight. She had to demonstrate that this fabric is perfect for her colouring.

To work with this fabric I used a Schmetz Microtex needle (size 70/10) and slightly loosened the needle tension and I used Wonder Clips instead of pins when sewing.  To finish the seams I ran a second row of stitches in the seam allowance and then used pinking shears..

This is quite a simple pattern and the instructions are good. Amazingly, I only had to unpick ONCE! World record, folks. For the back straps you stitch the upper edge when attaching the facings and leave an open space in the facing to insert and stitch the lower edge of the straps. First mistake, I did not take the advice to have someone help me place the straps. I just stuck them in where indicated on the pattern and sewed. I tried on the dress and the back gaped between the straps. So I unpicked the seam and under stitching (ugh) and thought about what was going on. I realized that my back was too broad for the strap placement. I wound up moving the lower edge of the straps almost 2” higher. If you have a rounded or broad back like mine, consider leaving an extended opening so you don’t need to unpick. (Photo below)

The card shows the opening per the pattern. On the left is where the straps were correctly placed after unpicking.

The instructions for the hem are to fold under 1/4” and then again 1/2”. I’m absolute rubbish at finicky folds – I have a really bad habit of just eyeballing hems but I’m trying to be more careful so I followed some advice posted in various places and ran a row of long stitches (5mm) at the point of the first fold (I used 1/3″) and pressed using that line as a guide. Then I stitched ran another row of stitches up 1/2″ and pressed again. Finally, I topstitched. This process worked well and I didn’t dread hemming the long edge!

The last bit was hand stitching the side and back neck facings in place and the dress was done!

I like the tidy neck and arm facing finishes. Also, the straps are wide enough that you can wear a bra and there is zero gaping at the front armscye which is a huge bonus. No pins or fashion tape anywhere!

This fabric is just the right weight for this dress. And it doesn’t crease so that makes it a perfect dress to throw in the suitcase for a weekend away, whenever that may be!

It’s still a bit chilly to wear this dress today so I’ve paired it with another recent make, Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan (I’ve made a few of these over the years, link to blog post here). The cardigan fabric is something special that I’ve been hanging on to for a couple of years. This is a lovely, luscious St John knit that I purchased from Fabric Mart about 3 years ago. I had a bit of fun with my sewing machine and made a “Hand Wash” tag from the selvedge of the fabric. The cardigan is just right for this dress, and the colour is perfect! Some things are just meant to be.

Now waiting impatiently til this duo can go out somewhere and be seen!

Tilly & The Buttons Coco

Tilly & The Buttons Coco

In early November we took a drive up to Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania so I could visit Fabric Mart Fabrics. I buy a lot of fabric from Fabric Mart and it was fun to see the facility and the huge selection of fabrics. I also had no idea they carried so many notions and patterns! I came home with five pieces of fabric, a big bag of buttons, several spools of thread and stay tape. And I also met Julie of Julie’s Picks!

Fabric

This project started with a piece of fabric that I purchased that day in November. Although I had a list of specific patterns and projects in my pocket when I was in the store, it would have made no sense to just buy for those projects. After all, we drove for an hour to get there! While digging around I found a really lovely grey Ponte de Roma (grey is my black) so I pulled out the bolt, unrolled the fabric and was excited to see that the right side was black, grey and maroon plaid. So I bought a couple of yards. It’s Rayon/Nylon/Lycra blend with 60% stretch selvedge-to-selvedge and 40% stretch on the selvedge. It feels lovely – very smooth and stable. (Kicking myself now for not buying enough for another top or a jumper.)

Pattern

While I’m still working from home I am focusing on making tops that are suitable for daily video calls and that was my first consideration when selecting a pattern. Must look interesting from the waist up! Looking at this fabric, it clearly needed a design with some structure which led me only a pattern hunt. I wound up with the Coco top by Tilly & the Buttons. (I am only slightly obsessed with funnel necklines these days.) I purchased the pdf pattern and had it printed by PDF Plotting. This is the second time I have used this service. Printing prices are very reasonable but shipping adds to the cost so I have learned to print a few patterns at once to be a bit economical. (This time my other print jobs were two patterns that I had previously printed and done a lousy job of taping together, so nothing new to show!)

The Coco pattern includes the funnel necked top that I made, plus a dress and Breton top. Tilly’s size numbering is a bit different but this particular pattern fits US sizes 2-20.

I measured the pattern pieces, did a quick paper fitting and cut a straight Tilly size 8 which fit my bust. The shoulders are not too big.

While laying out the pattern I really debated with myself because I love the plaid (right side colour) but also wanted to take advantage of the pretty grey on the wrong side. In the end, I used the plaid side for everything but the collar. The pattern also includes an option for cuffs and pockets and at some point in the future I may add cuffs just for some interest!

Adjustments

I didn’t do an FBA because the pattern design has just a smidge of negative ease at the bust. I only wound up making one change to the pattern and that was after the top was made.

After I had finished the final bit of stitching (the cover stitch on the hem) I put on the top and noticed that the slits in the sides stuck out (photo to the left). It looked silly and no amount of ironing would make that right. The edges of the slits had been serged then folded over and stitched which meant all of that had to be unpicked. Ugh. At this point I realized that the hip area had more ease than I needed so I unpicked the top stitch on the slit edges and serger down the side seams. An easy solution that just happened to work out. (Sometimes sewing is all about luck 🙂 )

This pattern seems to be designed to accommodate those with beautiful curves. The measurements for the size I sewed are: 44″ bust, 38″ waist and 47″ hips.  I’m more of a rectangle and I didn’t actually need the extra space provided by the slits.

Pictured below is my Ponte version. It is very comfortable and with the collar interest it works for Zoom meetings!

I liked it so much I made another!

The weather has been consistently cold (what do I expect? We live in up north now!) So while the grey thread was still in the serger and cover stitch I pulled out another piece of fabric (from Fabric Mart) and made it up again! This fabric is a very soft sweater knit that is just perfect for bitter days. It’s much floppier than the ponte. It also drapes a bit differently. I made two small changes with this version:

~ Added 2″ in length

~ Eliminated the side slits

The fabric pulled and stretched slightly when I top stitched the neck band, which is unfortunate but I think it’s one of those sewing things. “Don’t tell anyone and they won’t notice.” On this version you can really see the shaping below the waist.

So long as the weather continues to hover around freezing, I could make up a dozen of these but for the next one I’d like to make the Breton version. Eyes are now peeled for striped fabric! Just not navy – I already have 3 navy striped tops in my closet 😉

Free Pattern! Jalie Yoko

Free Pattern! Jalie Yoko

Yes, it’s been quite a year and I haven’t posted anything since, oh, a couple of days before the world shut down. One day let’s all plan to sit down with a glass of something and chronicle the year that was but, for now, I want to tell you about my latest make!

The Pattern

A couple of years ago, Jalie released a free sweater patterns – the Jalie Yoko. I immediately printed it out, placed the pages in a file folder and promptly forgot all about it. The pattern is described as: 

Square-shaped loose-fitting top with roll-neck, drop shoulder and semi-fitted sleeve. A cozy and versatile garment.

This pattern is free of charge! It’s sized for girls and women and you can print just one size at a time which meant I only printed 19 pages (plus instructions). Nineteen pages seems like a breeze after some of the 35-page t-shirt patterns I’ve encountered lately.

3896_4_1

Fabric

We moved late in the spring (yes, with everything going on in the world!) and I’m now in Pennsylvania where there are actual winters with snow (I am honestly thrilled!). Although I did buy some cold-weather fabrics when we lived in Atlanta, sweaters were a novelty worn only for a couple of hours on the coldest days (55F? brrrr) so I had to reign myself in when I looked at winter fabric catalogues. No more! I am enjoying looking at and seriously considering heavier and warmer fabrics and found this “Black/Lavender/Blush Mauve/Evergreen Brushed Sweater Knit” from Julie’s Picks at FabricMart Fabrics. I managed to snag the last 3 yards of it ($7.99 per yard). 👏🏻

I received the fabric in the mail around December 10th and when we got 8″ of snow last week and the temperatures fell (and stayed) well below freezing I knew it was time to sew it up. I didn’t want to make yet another Toaster Sweater so I kept digging and found this pattern. It looked easy and that’s important these days because my brain just feels foggy with the way the last 10 months have gone.

Adjustments

I had no idea how this top would fit. Reviews and photos made it look quite big so I planned to cut a smaller size at the shoulders and taper out to an AA at the waist/belly. I had forgotten that when I printed out the pattern sheets I had only selected one – AA – so that’s what I went with. As it turned out, that was the right size.

Almost the entire garment was sewn on my serger except I did use my sewing machine to baste together the neckband before attaching it to the bodice.

Speaking of the neck band, the pattern piece isn’t loose fitting like a cowl or polo neck – it’s a turtleneck and those are very uncomfortable for me. After looking at several different “turtleneck to cowl neck” tutorials online, I just decided to make my own. 

As designed, the neck band piece is a rectangle (left photo below). Just like with most knit neckbands, you stitch together the back seam, fold the band in half horizontally and stitch the band to the neck opening.

To make my adjustment I traced the existing pattern piece onto paper. Then I marked a spot 2″ wider at the top/fold of the neckband and drew a line from the stitching edge to that edge. The band folds over at the point on the left side of the pattern piece (middle photo below). This gave me a big more room around my neck and that worked just fine. It’s not a cowl but is much more comfortable than the original turtleneck.

Result

I sewed the seams on my serger and hems on my coverstitch. Oh, my coverstitch was so kind to me on this one! It worked perfectly without a single skipped stitch and no tunneling! We are truly becoming friends 🙂 

The last task was to sew the hems on the sleeves and, as noted on the pattern, the sleeves are slim. They are not tight on me but they fit. Personally, I think this gives the top more of a Ready To Wear look. Sometimes home sewn patterns have big old sleeves that could be designed to fit better.

The sleeves were very long. My arms are average length, maybe a smidge closer to long than short. I wound up taking off a good inch extra from the length of the sleeves.

I cut the top on Sunday night, sewed it Monday night and wore it Tuesday. THAT is how I like to sew! 

This isn’t a super warm sweater because it’s a bit voluminous and that means a cold wind can whip up your back, but the fabric is cosy and comfortable and I will definitely wear it a lot this winter. And now that I know how easy it is to sew this pattern, I’ll make more!