Still Knitting The Jumper…And An Adapted Cowl Neck For The Sewaholic Renfrew

Happy New Year and yes I’m still knitting the jumper. The end is near, I have another 5 or 6cm to do on the sleeves and then it’s the roll neck and sewing up. I took the advice I was given and knitted the two sleeves at the same time. One set of needles, two balls of wool. Half way up the sleeves I swapped to slightly longer needles to cope with the width. 40cm instead of the 35cm I had been using. 5cm does make a bit of difference and they were only £2 to buy.


I have found that this jumper has taken over my life. I feel like I should be knitting now and not typing a post…. The sleeves have taken longer than anticipated, manly due to evenings out in the run up to Christmas and no knitting was done during Christmas week.

Knitting hasn’t left much time for sewing but I did manage to run up a Sewaholic Renfrew in November. I’ve made a few of these now but this time I wanted to alter the cowl neck line. I wanted more of a roll neck look. The neck line on the original pattern is quite wide and deep so I raised the neck line on both the centre front and back and extended the shoulder up closer to the neck. I had some polyester stretch fabric which I used for a toile, it took me a couple of tries to get it fitting how I wanted it to.

The collar piece isn’t quite a straight tube. The edge sewn to the neckline has a slight curve, just like the original pattern and the centre back seam slants outwards so the top width is slightly wider than the bottom width.

I really love the fabric and it was such a bargain. It is a wool mix, I bought it in Abakhan so I don’t know the exact fibre composition but I’m supposing it is mixed with polyester and I think there maybe some elastane in it. The piece I bought measured 2.20mts at 150wide and cost only £7.50 when weighed. It is a light weight rib construction, maybe referred to as a ‘sweater knit’ and it is seriously warm.

When doing some Christmas shopping I came across this thimble shaped desk tidy in John Lewis, I just had to have one!


So hopefully the  jumper will be finished in the next few weeks and I can get back to making myself some new clothes. I could do with some inspiration. I popped into John Lewis last week and was seriously disappointed with the fabric offering, in the past I’ve picked up some really bargains in the sales. I was hoping for some interesting prints  but there was nothing. Every other area in the shop was busy but the fabric and yarn department was dead.

The latest Boden catalogue has just come through the door and I really like the look of the printed trousers. The fabric is cotton with 3% elastane, I remember trying to find similar printed fabric in a trouser weight last year but didn’t have much luck so if anybody knows a source I’d be grateful. I have the pattern I made for these trousers which would be perfect. I also like the printed shirts and haven’t made myself a shirt for a while so maybe that’s where I should start.





Making A Copy Of A Boden Tee

red stripe tee

When I was recently sorting though my fabrics I found I still had a piece of red and white stripe jersey left over from making a skater dress a couple of years ago. Just enough to make a tee shirt. Since I gave up the RTW Fast last September I have bought 3 long sleeve and one short sleeve Breton tees from Boden. I really like the fit of these as they are slightly relaxed and not too skinny.

So instead of reaching for my Sewaholic Renfrew pattern I thought I’d take a pattern from the short sleeve version.

I measured the original tee across the shoulders, bust, waist and hem, noting the depth of the armhole and the front and back neck scoops. To make sure I got the shape of the sleeve head and armhole correct I used wax paper and tracing wheel.

red striped tee pattern (1824 x 1368)

striped tee sleeve pattern (1824 x 1368)

Using wax paper and tracing wheel to get the shape of the sleeve head correct.


It’s a simple tee but made with methods I hadn’t used before. The back and front necklines are finished separately. The back has a 1cm wide non stretch herringbone tape and the front is finished with a 1cm self fabric binding. Once these are done the shoulder seams are then sewn together.

neck binding for stripy tee (1824 x 1368)

the front neckline with 1cm wide self fabric binding  – you can see where I am using the wonder tape to hold the fabric in position before sewing.


The body and sleeve hems are sewn with a twin needle. I hadn’t done this for a while as I find the results can be a bit hit and miss, this is why I like the Renfrew with the banded hems.

Before I started sewing this I read thought my copy of ‘The Colette Guide To Sewing Knits’ to pick up some tips. The book recommends using ‘Collins washaway wonder tape’ to stabilise areas before sewing. It is a bit like double sided sticky tape and you can sew through it without it gumming up your needle and it disappears at the first wash. I bought a roll of it on eBay.

I used it at both the front and back neck and the sleeve hems. It really helped and would recommend it.

I didn’t run this up on the overlocker like a would a normal tee. The shoulders needed sewing together really carefully to make sure the seams met perfectly at the neck edge and that the chevrons created at the shoulder seam with the stripes matched. So I used the stretch stitch on the machine and used the overlocker just for finishing the seams. I forgot how slow going and noisy the stretch stitch on a normal machine was!

shoulder seam

Accuracy required for the shoulder seams. Arrgh! just spotted an untrimmed thread at the neck edge.


The twin needle stitching for the hems didn’t give me as much trouble as I was expecting. I used the wonder tape on the sleeve hems but decided against it on the body hem as I thought I’d give it a go without wasting a metre of tape. It worked out fine.

Even though it’s just a tee I was really pleased with the results, it fits just like the RTW one and there is something about the pitch of the sleeves I really like.

Unfortunately this did take me weeks to make. I started towards the end of May. Seriously, I would pin the shoulders one evening, then a few days later tack the seams, then sew them an on an on for 6 weeks! I was going away with work for 10 days in June and thought I’d have it done in time but I just couldn’t get my act together. Then I got back and slumped in to a Brexit gloom made worse by being overloaded in the day job and coming home and instead of sewing having to get out the work laptop. But anyway, this week I tackled it and got the tee finished.

My next project is a denim dress I’ve been wanting to make for months, I just need to get back into the swing of things. 🙂

The End Of The Ready To Wear Fast

A couple of weeks ago I ended my Ready To Wear fast. I gave in to the constant badgering from Johnnie Boden and bought myself a couple of Breton stripe long sleeve tee shirts.

Breton stipe tees from Boden

Breton stipe tees from Boden

I started the fast the beginning of January 2014 and signed up the ‘Goodbye Valentino’ RTW 2014 fast and then signed up again for 2015.

** I will come clean, in 2014 I bought a pair of waterproof cycling over trousers from Aldi and this year I bought a lightweight waterproof jacket from Berghaus – again to use whilst cycling ** I was never going to make either of those two items so I cut myself a bit of slack there.

I don’t really miss shopping, since having children I very rarely get the chance to go out on my own to look around the stores and I don’t have the disposable income I used to have before having children.

I think it was the change of season that got me. It was mid September and I wasn’t quite ready for wearing tights, so that ruled out dresses and skirts, my trouser offering is beginning to look a bit ropey and decent tops were in the washing basket. I got dressed for work one day and looked at myself and thought what an uninspiring mess. Then a Boden catalogue dropped through the door with a code for 20% off and free delivery. I’m forever thinking about striped tops and looking on-line for decent cotton yarn dyed striped jersey. Then I thought “why don’t I just buy some?” So I did, and lovely they are too, a nice relaxed fit and great for layering.

I don’t have time to make everything I’d like and I think I’ve ended up keeping things in my wardrobe that have seen better days.

Now it’s October the tights have come out and skirts are being worn again, I’ve also got a few items in the pipeline, I’m working on a denim skirt and have cut out a pussy bow blouse using the Sew Over It pattern. I’m also ready to tackle another pair of jeans and bought a length of denim from Abakhan last week.

I really got excited when I saw the new pattern releases from Sewaholic. I keep thinking about the Cypress Cape, I’ve wanted a cycling cape for ages and this looks like the perfect pattern. I’m a bit apprehensive after the poor effort I made with the Robson Trench coat (I can’t bear to look at the bag with the unfinished pieces in) but I really like this style.

Cypress Cape from Sewaholic Patterns

Cypress Cape from Sewaholic Patterns

As my trouser selection is looking a bit poor I’m going to get around to making Simplicity 1696 Amazing Fit trousers. ( I said this last year but now I know how to sew a fly zipper I can see it actually happening).

1696 Simplicity Amazing Fit Trousers

1696 Simplicity Amazing Fit Trousers

I may have ended the fast but I don’t think I’ll be going crazy in Primark any time soon!