Knit Tops for WinterNovember 10, 2017 / byFiona Parker / Categories : Feeds
One of my absolute favourite handmade garments to wear this year has been my linen Turia Dungarees. They are so easy and comfortable to throw on whilst still feeling like I've made some sort of effort style wise. I wore them all summer long with sandals and cotton/silk blouses but now that the weather has turned colder in London I was missing them as an option in my wardrobe. Now that we've hit real winter temperatures the linen is perhaps a little lightweight to cope (I do have a denim pair in the works to solve that!) but for the autumnal season what I really needed to get a little more mileage out of my original pair was some long sleeve snuggly tops to wear underneath.
Enter The Fabric Store and their offer for me to be a brand ambassador for a few months and a whole world of merino and other knits opened up to me! As a side note, I know I do a fair bit of gushing about how much I love the selection and quality of fabrics stocked by The Fabric Store but that is my genuine heartfelt opinion about this lovely company. The fabrics are top drawer and if I had to pick one place to buy all my fabric from forever more I'm pretty sure I would say them. I'd actually put a ban on myself from taking on any sponsored posts and fabric or pattern reviews for a few months as I've really burnt myself out with work and could do with a break from too many commitments. But I broke it without much deliberation as soon as the Fabric Store team got in touch. It's the one thing I can't resist.
As the dungarees are quite plain I wanted a couple of interesting fabrics rather than solids to pair with them. I already knew that comfortable knits were the route I wanted to go down and merino was absolutely going to be one of my choices. As well as their huge range of vivid solid colours The Fabric Store stocks a whole load of lovely stripes. I almost went for this black/maroon rib but decided it was very similar to a t-shirt I made in the summer and eventually plumped for a paler option in this black/mushroom/ivory design. I love how the spacing and width of the stripes is irregular but this of course did make stripe matching a little more tricky! I got lazy and cut my pattern pieces on the fold rather than flat as I would usually do when matching a pattern and that came back to bite me as my stripe matching is perfect down one side and sleeve but just slightly off on the other! Sewing up stripes this fine involved using a hell of a lot of pins.
I pretty much lived in my merino Neenah Dress from Seamwork last winter (and already have been this year again!) and as I liked the fit and how it worked in the merino decided a top version would be really useful. In particular a striped merino turtleneck seemed like the perfect addition to my wardrobe. As I did last year I cut the size small and used pretty much all of the 1.25m I ordered. I just love the fit of this; the slim sleeves, snug shoulders and the way it doesn't cling around your middle. Its surprising as I often find something a little odd in the fit around the shoulders and chest with Colette/Seamwork patterns but perhaps with knits it works on me! Also surprising is how comfortable I am in the turtleneck as I don't usually like having clothes close around my neck, particularly wool. The width of this is spot on for me.
Also lovely are the slim little cuff bands. I usually omit cuffs (and waistbands for that matter) on knit tops as I prefer the clean look of a twin needled hem but I actually like this skinny band more. The fabric is a perfect match for this style and it has got me thinking that I could really use some more simple merino wool tops and dresses in my wardrobe. I've always tended to think of wool as a fabric for outer layers or bottoms rather than anything next to the skin but when its this fine and smooth why not. This stripe is their medium weight merino which is great for all kinds of garments though does go slightly sheer when stretched right out. It has fantastic recovery though and wears really well. The only thing I did to prolong the life of the top was to add twill tape along the shoulder seams to prevent them stretching out.
For my second top I wanted a lower neckline and thought three quarter length sleeves would be good as I usually end up pushing them up out of habit anyway! I again raided my stash for a pattern I'd used before so knew I would get instant satisfactory results with and had a hard time choosing between the Sewaholic Renfrew and Tilly & The Buttons Agnes (the Closet Case Patterns Nettie was another contender but I didn't have it printed out). Although similar looking in the line drawings the fit is quite different as I've found the Renfrew to include more ease. When I previously made the Agnes I found it to be surprisingly close fitting, perhaps a little too much so although some of that was to do with my choice of bamboo jersey which was particularly clingy. However, I decided a closer fit was preferable to a relaxed feel for wearing as a base layer for winter outfits so settled on the Agnes and went up half a size to avoid some of the cling.
For this style of top I thought a fun yet wearable print would be good as most of my tops are solids as well as the bottoms I want to pair them with! As well as their merino another thing The Fabric Store stock a particularly large range of is Liberty prints on all kinds of bases. I generally struggle to find Liberty that I actually want to wear rather than just admire on the bolt but TFS do a particularly good job at selecting a range of more contemporary and wearable designs so I was spoilt for choice. I was looking at the bold purple chrysanthemum print and was disappointed to find that there wasn't enough in stock. But it must have been fate as I think the organic feel of this Sybil Campbell print I ended with feels much more me and it goes with a larger percentage of the clothes I already own. I love the subtle herringbone effect in the print.
The design is printed onto their Clifton Jersey which is 100% cotton. It's fairly fine but opaque enough when not in direct sunlight and its worth bearing in mind that as it is printed the reverse is an off white so not the ideal choice for a waterfall cardigan when the reverse peeks out. As it does not contain any elastane the recovery isn't as great as some knits but there is a decent amount of stretch. This means it doesn't ping back and cling in the way the bamboo jersey I used for my first Agnes did and the resulting fit is much more comfortable and flattering. I am glad I went up half a size to the 3 which is a little larger than my measurements would suggest.
In the same way I did with the turtleneck I assembled all the seams with a narrow zig zag on my machine then finished all the seam allowances together on my overlocker. Hems were done using my twin needle. Again I love the slimness of the sleeves and the skinny band around the neckline. Because of the close fit I'm really enjoying wearing this with high-waisted skirts and jeans...but I think the colours of it look particularly great with my dungarees and over the last month or so this combo has been seen quite a lot!
A big thank you to The Fabric Store for so generously supplying me with the beautiful knits of my dreams; I don't know where my wardrobe would be without you!
This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at Diary of a Chain Stitcher
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