Winter Warmer

I’ve had some lovely organic cotton teal sweatshirt fabric sitting in my stash waiting to become a Jasper Dress for absolutely yonks because of THE FEAR. You know, the fear of wasting the perfect fabric and ruining the perfect pattern. So you do nothing.

Well, not quite nothing. First up I made up a shorter, collared version in some fleece and felt a bit meh about it. Meh about the slightly cheap farbic, meh about  the colour, meh about the fit. I wear it sometimes, cos I  have a serious jumper shortage.

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Then, before  Christmas, I made an impulse dress length version when I  had to have something red to wear to a choir event and I had some lovely red fleece stashed. But I didn’t quite have enough, so I ended up buying some black minky for the collar, cuffs, and hemband.

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I sized up this time, cos the last one is a bit tight, and then I ended up taking LOADS off the seams in places, cos it was a sack. It’s better now, but I’m still meh about the fitting. Plus, I don’t learn, fleece doesn’t behave like sweatshirt fabric, so it doesn’t really help me face my FEAR and make the “real deal up”.

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I think I didn’t blog it at the time because I’d lost my camera, and I’ve sort of lost track of what I did now. I know I left the pockets off, cos they fell in a really unflattering place last time, and then I have missed the pockets Every Single Time I’ve worn it since (especially as at this long length it renders the pockets in whatever jeans/skirt I’m wearing it with inaccessible). I also have failed to get a decent photograph of it ever since making it – maybe it’s a Secret Vampire Top?  In this shot you can almost see the large black button I used as I just happened to have it ligging about in my stash.

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So, thoughts on my big red “Santa Suit” (yup, it got called that by someone in my choir). On the plus side it’s warm, comfy, really warm, really comfy and kind of smart looking (by my standards at least).  Whereas on the down side I’m still not sure about the red/black colour combo (it skates too close to the classy/tacky line to me) and the fabric is so thick it’s not the most flattering garment (hence the Santa Suit comment I guess).  Very useful during the recent snowy weather we’ve been having though.

Maybe one day, I will face my fear and make the teal version up. I think partly that’s why I’m blogging this one – to try and galvanize myself into action. Anyone got any top tips on tackling The Fabric/Pattern Fear?

 

Jasper

Finally, a jumper, for me, nearly made in the last weekend of Jan (hey I was ill) thereby meeting a key sewing goal.

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I know, I know, it’s a bit wierd to start with a back shot and it’s not because there’s an exciting reveal at the front, just I could only get LSH to take 4 photo’s in total and it took some effort getting that many out of him. The back shot is the only one where I don’t look like a complete [insert mild insult of your choice here].

This Paprika Patterns Jasper sweater took sooo long to make. Not actually make you know, that was surprisingly quick, especially one the welt pockets were out of the way. No, it took so long to get  around to making it, as I’d built it up into some impossibly complicated thing in my head, partly due to the fact that there’s a flow chart to help you choose your size. (And also because the test garments on the Paprika website are so swoonworthy I was worried I wouldn’t do the pattern justice.) In the end, I was in such a strop with the Collar Of Despair on the Jumper That Shall Not be Named that I bit the bullet and, with a lot of repeatly muttering “this is a Muslin, a test garment, it doesn’t matter” to myself, I manged to get on with it.

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[Seriously , this is the best shot by far. I may have to find a new photographer.]

As a fit test muslin goes, my thoughts are more space could be used at the bust, which might stop the front hem rising up a little too, the pocket is adding extra layers where there is too much of me to start with (and I forget it’s there when I’m wearing it so don’t use it), I’d like it longer (this is the sweater length, not the dress, but I like my jumpers on the long side), the arms are ok now but were tight (I redid them with a smaller seam allowance), oh and the arms seem shorter now I’ve added the cuffs, which is weird (yes, I did lazilly wear it before adding cuffs).

I decided while I was making it that I hated this fleece that I can’t remember buying (but I know it was always earmarked to test this pattern) and couldn’t understand why I chose this colour. I like it better now it’s finished, the colour is not one I normally wear but looks ok on, but the fabric quality isn’t great – I’m not sure how well it’ll wash and wear. I’m also worried that it’s not a good test for my final fabric, being both thicker and less stretchy.

The mental block on this project was definitely getting the size right and working out what adjustments to make. I’ll give you the details of my agonising, in case it helps anyone else.  In the end I took a deep breath, did some careful measuring and reread the instructions on choosing sizes and whether you need and FBA or not:

First up my measurements:

  • Full bust 106cm – size 7
  • Waist 96cm – between sizes 8 and a 9
  • Hips 120cm – between sizes 8 and a 9

So according to the flowchart I needed to print pattern file 6 -10 (based on my hip measurements). Which is good, as that was what I had printed out. Phew. (From a copy shop, this pattern has both metric and imperial copy shop options so I could get it printed easily, hooray! So no taping, double hooray)

Next up, the Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) decision. My Upper Bust measures 100cm which is 6cm difference from full bust and therefore falls in the 4.5-8cm difference C cup range that the size  6 – 10 is drafted for, so officially I was good to go without any adjustments. I find this weird as I wear an F/G cup bra, but I decided to trust the pattern and reminded myself this was a muslin, so it’s ok to go wrong. In the end I traced pattern size 7 for my shoulders and bust grading to 9 at waist and hips and marking my notches as best I could and trying to make sure that the blend started/finished in the same place on the front/side and back pieces. I think the shoulders fit ok, but a FBA would actually have been a good idea. Then again, the arms were tight so maybe I should do a size 8 top half grading to a 9 for the waist and hips? Or do I need a size 8 with and FBA grading to a 9? And there’s quite a lot of fabric around my centre back so do I need a different size at the back to the front, which is surely madness, or a sway back adjustment? Arrgh, fitting is hard!

As the markings for the welt pockets are different for each size, I lined my welts up with my lower dot on my pattern front (where my pattern was definitely size 9) and then just made sure they were parallel with the edge of the pattern piece (as I hadn’t been sure where to put the top dot as at that point my line was in the middle of blending from the size 9 to the 7).  I cut the pocket pieces a straight size 9, centred them on the front piece and trimmed the excess off to make them match.

After the welt pockets it was pretty easy actually. Just kind of sew it together. And there’s a great tutorial for the welt pockets. The only I did get a bit confused was whether I was supposed to sew the bottom band through the pocket as well as the front or not, in the end I decided not. The only thing I would change  construction wise is when trimming the seam allowance at the neckline, I would grade it so the longest piece is on top and then when I topstitch it would hold everything down together.

So, in conclusion, I need to be less scared of getting started and less precious about my muslins. This jumper is fine, I would find it perfectly acceptable size wise if I bought it in a shop. The pattern is great, seems well drafted and had lovely clear instructions. I definitely do want to make it again in my earmarked precious fabric, with a hood next time and in the dress length (if I have enough fabric). I will almost certainly leave the welt pockets off, seeing as I find them unflattering and not useful, however this is my personal preference, because on the test garments they look great. I’m still dithering about what size to use especially as the next fabric will be both thinner and stretchier.