Another Simplicity 1366 hack
I think I might be the worst knitter ever. I have friends who knit exquisite socks, jumpers and even cute woodland creature phone covers (the company I keep!), and while I’d love to join in, it just looks so difficult and mysterious (cue a little sigh of inadequacy here). Sometimes I wonder if it’s a patience thing, but yet I can stick to a sewing project with unwavering determination. Kate has often explained patiently that it’s not that hard….but at the end of the day I’m ok with not knitting (really). HOWEVER I do like to sew tops that look vaguely knitted. I know, I know – it’s a poor cousin, but sewing’s my comfort zone.
The trick of course is finding a suitably woolly fabric. This fabric is 100 per cent wool and smells just like a freshly shampooed sheep. It’s deliciously soft, light and ridiculously warm – even if I could fit a coat over this bulky boy, I think I’d probably overheat. This was the first fabric I bought when I went to Japan last year. I couldn’t believe myself – who buys such a chunky wool material when they have one small suitcase? I changed my buying habits immediately and skipped the wool sections for the rest of the holiday – such restraint. On the downside it has pilled slightly. Perhaps it’s too busy to even see and maybe it will settle down quickly like a good wool rug? Time will tell.
When I bought the fabric, the image that jumped to mind immediately was this much-pinned Kenzo sweater (below). I figured at the time it wouldn’t be too difficult to find a vaguely similar pattern with a drop-shoulder sleeve and a basic square cut, so I shoved the wool in my shopping basket and headed out of the novelty knits section without giving it another thought.
The challenge hit me when I came home and was ready to sew. I settled on the ever adaptable Simplicity 1366 (you can see our previous versions here) as my basic shape, and took it from there, but boy was this top hard to figure out. I did more unpicking and re-working on this make than I have on any other garment (told you I’m patient!). I particularly liked the cuffs on the Kenzo jumper but the bulk of my fabric made similar cuffs hard to achieve. I don’t think I came close but I did try about five different finishes and the end result was a combination of the best I could figure (plus fatigue). I’m happy enough with the result – they’re comfortable and show enough of the lining to keep me happy. To finish the sleeves I used a 1-inch elastic loosely encased between the lining and the wool. The entire sleeves are lined (I left the body unlined) with this Nani Iro 2015 Sound Circle double gauze – a delicious mustard with drop cloth splatters, paint pot ring stains and generous blobs of inky metallic silver. It makes a lovely soft lining but I suspect it’s a crime to relegate this fabric to the inside.
On my original version I faced the neckline and hem. I wore it around the house for a week with a disappointed face, before the inevitable unpicking happened. Second time around I created a tee-style neckband, and to my surprise I think it worked. I also changed the faced hem to a cuff piece to give it more of a sweater look and draw in the hemline. I considered elastic, but the facing seemed to work quite well. I’ve included photos of both for your critique – any ideas?
I’ve worn this jumper many times. Out of the house even. Compliments from the tween even. It’s not the most slimming jumper but this is outweighed by the yummy chunky texture, warmth and soft grey tones. It’s a hug of a jumper. So there you have it – one basic pattern that hacks nicely into a flannel dress AND a very woolly not knitted jumper. Simplicity 1366 – we salute you!