Monday, 8 April 2013

A classic man’s jumper in WOOL

It’s not easy to find the ideal man’s jumper- especially if he wants it to fit (why not?),  to be wool & to be a colour of his choosing- not just the colours that happen to be in the shops at that time.

True you can find men’s wool jumpers in a bigger range than I think for women’s jumpers, but they are usually very fine knit and therefore lack warmth in wearing. Of course they also miss the fact that they are not a custom fit and may not have the ideal ‘neck’.

So, having got the fit right (this is not the first I have knitted in this design), the next step is to decide on the yarn. This yarn is Knoll Supersoft Nm 11.5/2 from my friend Sally at It’s a great yarn for the knitting machine and I guess for hand knitting too. It comes in a lovely large range of colours too.

Then to think about the features that will really make it a high quality garment – fully fashioned decreases for the sleeves, my custom neckline to the right depth, virtually invisible machine constructed shoulder seams, side and armhole seams to match and more importantly to me seams in the ribbing that can’t be found. These details are a delight to produce and do make all the difference to a plain garment where there is nowhere to hide!

A stage in the construction of the perfect depth neckline


More about other features that I mention above can be found on my website under knitting (designer).

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sleeves too long -a refit needed

Are we evolving shorter arms? It might seem so if you've tried to buy a jumper or cardigan recently! From talking to friends it's just not me who seems to have shrinking arms. The problem is made worse by the fact that if a jumper is of synthetic construction then the sleeves are likely to stretch even more during its life.
I recently measured the sleeves on such a jumper and found they were 4” inches too long.
Permanent action was needed.
So I decided to shorten the sleeves and make a feature of them.

The buttons match the ones on the shoulder.
So this has turned from an irritating jumper into one that I love!
I hope this has given you some ideas for any re- fitting needed in your wardrobe. Let's just have clothes that we love and that love us!

If you're short on ideas for your wardrobe challenges you could fix up a session with me for some practical solutions.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Thoughts on sewing and the sewing bee

I try and have a positive outlook and to those of you that attend my workshops you will know I do my best to be encouraging. If you think you have a disaster we virtually always find a way round it. I am passionate about encouraging textile making skills in all who shows any interest.

So I was really looking forward to the Sewing Bee. Did you this last night? I don't know what I expected from this, but it wasn't this programme. I was very disappointed. To me the joy is as much in the process as the outcome- I believe in the principle of the slow textile movement. To me quality of the finished piece is very important if I am putting in time making and designing.

Some of my key ingredients for a really good fit and finish- a body double, making a toile and in most cases interfacing.
If I am making a garment for the first time I would make a toile and fit that. I think the programme reinforced my view that this pays. Fail to plan means plan to fail came to mind during the programme! The problem seems to be the format of the programme, although the participants might have been chosen for interesting viewing. Listening to their comments during the programme did make me concerned about some lack of basic showing skills.

So I come back to what is the purpose of the programme? Is it to get people sewing? If this is the case racing against a clock will result in disappointment. Is it to show basic sewing skills? If so, designing a garment for an unknown model in a short time seems ambitious.

Patrick was extremely smart, knowledgeable and I felt quite encouraging. But was May the same, did her dress fit well, was it stylish, was it inspirational?
What did you think?