Finished – A nice ‘n stretchy winter ensemble

Hello lovely people! Thankyou for the lovely wishes after my last post! Today I have a heady combination of regular and maternity stretchy-wear, one of my regular outfits in rotation at the moment – 4 garments all me-made! Amazingly these photos were taken today (thankyou Anna)! And blogged today! Its a miracle….

As mentioned in my last post it’s been a particularly cold winter in Melbourne, and my survival strategy has involved many layers. All my winter jumpers/sweaters from last year are just at that point of starting to look weird as my belly grows, so cardigans are now my best friend, over warm long sleeve merino layers.
This is the Grainline Driftless cardigan. I held off buying this for a while, until I got to try on Jenny’s and decided it was for me. I’m going to be very honest here and say most of the made up versions hadn’t really inspired me. I feel like really drapey fabrics don’t do the pattern justice – that great cocoon shape just gets hidden and the cross seam pockets (my favourite!) sag like wet teabags…. My favourite version was by Lisa from Tessuti (and I now realise I’ve basically copied her outfit like a weird striped SWF). But both Jenny and Lisa’s cardi’s both had a bit of structure to the fabric and this lovely felty grey wool purchased last year at Clear It had just the right amount of beef for my liking. 
Pretty sure I cut a size 8, with no fit alterations (couldn’t be bothered with a forward shoulder adjustment on this one. Pregnancy has made me indolent and lazy). I have no intentions of buttoning it (and indeed it would be quite impossible now!). I took the indolent and lazy way out when attaching the neck band too, just overlocking it straight onto the neckline. There was absolutely no way that with a 2/8 inch hem allowance I was turning this chunky knit fabric under and slip stitching it down. Zero regrets.  
I am going to have a whinge about the armscye drafting. Essentially one stitches the sleeves straight onto a square front and back – there is no shaping at the armscye seam allowance of the bodice, which means there is a jog at the intersection of the sleeve and bodice when it comes to sewing those seams up in one pass. It’s basically impossible to sew this with an overlocker and the 2/8 inch SA without leaving a hole in the armpit. I had to go back with my sewing machine and add a curved stitch line to close it up. I was quite unimpressed (imagine me with pursed lips and a little frown) – this is the same way the sleeve of the Hemlock attaches and to remedy that issue I’ve added a small extra seam allowance to the bodice of that pattern to allow a smooth seam line. I’ll do the same with my next Driftless. 

Hey, speaking of the Hemlock tee, that’s what I’m also wearing! This is made up in a lovely fine merino knit purchased online from New Zealand Merino and Fabrics.  I’ve bought quite a few merino knits from this store and they are always beautiful quality. The postage from NZ is reasonable. For my last purchase the store actually sent me someone else’s order by mistake and let me keep it, plus my own correct order so I’m swimming in merino at the moment. This version of the Hemlock was narrowed at the neckline but then I believe I added width back in the body for extra volume (who knows why, pretty sure it was a 2-stage process). The sleeves are full length and it’s just at that point now where it’s a little too short for my bump, and is starting to ride up as seen in the photos above. I’m hoping I get another few weeks of wear from it…. 

My bottoms are a preggified version of the Ooh La Leggings, in a lovely viscose ponte from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe. I’m rather proud of my modification. It’s not at all sexy, but they’re comfy and with any luck they will last me until it’s too warm to wear them. I’m 20 weeks this week, so there’s still a hell of a lot of baby-growing to go….

My modifications were really simple – I added some extra width to the front and back upper panels and lost some of the waistline shaping as seen in the pic below. I then added an extra 3 inches to the height of the front panel only, gathering it roughly where I thought my bump was going to be at it’s biggest. The waist height is actually as drafted (they are SUPER high waisted) and I’ve added some elastic which in these pic’s is just folded under. I was going to top stitch it down but it’s a beast to unpick both knits and elastic, and if I need some extra height I can simply unfold it.

I did have to adjust the side leg pieces accordingly, adding just a little extra width where they attach to the top front and back. The great thing about this modification is that if I can bear to wear them again next year it’s not a big job to alter these back to a non-pregnant body – cut off the elastic, trim off the side seams, cut off the extra fabric at the top of the front piece and restitch the sides – job done!

Finally a few quick words about my hat! I love this beanie – it’s the Jul Hat, by Wiksten. It’s quick, easy and cute, and importantly for Australian knitters it is written for 8 ply yarn! It uses a little under 100g of wool and I’ve worn it to death since making it last year. The yarn is Heirloom, an Australian brand I believe is made in Bendigo (but not part of the Bendigo Woollen Mill group). Both wool and pattern highly recommended.

Goodness are you still here?! High five for hanging around this long! See you next time for another stretchy-wear instalment….

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