Blue shirred turtleneck

Carrying on with my post-coat winter sewing plans is the shirred turtleneck from Christine Jonson’s #226 Travel Trio Three pattern. This is a travel wardrobe so also included in the envelope are patterns for a pocket skirt, a big cape/wrap thing, and a raglan teeshirt pattern.

This turtleneck pattern requires fabric with 80% stretch, which was a bit difficult to find when I actually got down to stretching my various stash fabrics against the pattern’s ruler. Eventually I discovered that this turquoise lycra jersey bought on Goldhawk Road in January 2009 (for £6 total!) was just able to meet the criteria, so it was good to finally put it to use.

This was my first experience with a Christine Jonson pattern, and I found the fit and instructions to be great – she really takes the time to add in some special knit techniques that I’ve not seen anywhere else. There’s a lot of gathering to do here, and I like that she tells you when it’s best to use the sewing machine and when it’s best to use the serger/overlocker, though three lines of gathering stitches seemed a bit overkill – two was plenty for me! I especially like that she has you gather the fabric, then stay-stitch the gathers together on the 5/8” seam line before serging it all and then breaking the staystitching to regain the stretchiness.

One thing I really didn’t like, though (which isn’t really her fault, per say), is the enormous, Vogue-like pattern tissue. Arrrgh I really hate pattern tissue! It takes up the entire lounge, the cat loves to step on it, it’s got a mind of its own, and it never, ever folds up like it used to. This made me realise that I’ve actually managed to avoid dealing with pattern tissue entirely since the Vogue nude sheath dress last March. The end result here is that I also traced the front piece for the raglan tee, too, so I can make that without having to deal with that stupid tissue paper again.

After a bit of confusion with the “Perfect Fit” worksheet included in the envelope which seemed to involve a lot of writing down for not a lot of payout, I eventually just made a size 14 based on my measurements.

Once I got the tissue trauma out of the way, this was a very quick top! I went from cutting the fabric to wearing this in a single afternoon, which is becoming my norm now for knit tops.

My lycra jersey has the 80% stretch as this pattern demands, but I still find it difficult to get my head through the collar – it’s impossible to put it on whilst wearing glasses, for instance! So I certainly wouldn’t try this pattern with any fabric that doesn’t match the stretch ruler when folded over, or you might find you can’t actually get it on. Thankfully it’s plenty comfortable while I’m wearing it, though!

I’d definitely make this again if I can find more fabric that’s stretchy enough. I really like the shirring since it adds a lot of interest to an otherwise basic turtleneck. The fit is on the slim side, but the pattern relies on a tight fit to get the shirring above the bust. In future I might go a bit bigger below the bust so I don’t have to suck in my gut all the time, but otherwise I’m really happy with this!

Because of the colour, I can easily transition this into Spring 2011’s colourblocking trend…

Coming up this week:
Another top! Men’s trousers! Two new magazines! A pattern pow-wow with Susannah!And finally completing a gift that’s been bugging me for over a year!

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