Happy December everyone! It's the time of year for celebrations. It's sometimes tough to dress for parties because the temperature can vary so much. Will it be below zero or 60 degrees outside? I've found a solution- wool knits! They are remarkably good at keeping you warm when it's chilly, but somehow are not so warm that you break out in a sweat if you find yourself at a rather warm cocktail party. I have found that that these are not at all itchy for me to wear- just super soft and smooth.
I made two tops from wool knits- a red double knit, and a blue single knit jersey, using the pattern Simplicity 1323. You might have this pattern in your stash if you bought some of the pre-cut kits last year, as that's where I got my pattern. It was paired with several different fabric choices, so I ended up with two copies! And I'm glad I did because I really love this pattern. It's so easy, but is very striking with the hem shape. It's out of print, but there are plenty of copies on Amazon still available.
I made view B with the V-neck and 3/4 length sleeves, but I added 1-1/2" to the body length of mine. On my blue version, I added several inches to the sleeve length to make it a full long sleeve. I also chose not to hem either of them, as I knew that hemming on the bias would be tricky, and since knits don't fray, it won't matter anyway! The red double knit has more weight to it and hangs better, in my opinion.
Here it is without any scarf. You can see that the neckline is kind of wide. So, I like to wear mine with scarves. I didn't have quite a wide enough piece of the red knit left to make the scarf as designed in the pattern, so what I did was make a thinner scarf, but longer. I also bought a piece of mesh knit and made a coordinating scarf out of it. This gives me tons of options.
I can wear them all together like this above, or just double up the solid one and wear it on the shoulders like below. The red wool knit that I used has sold out, but there is another one available here. Another nice thing about this style- no fitted waist, so you can enjoy all the cookies and worry about your waist in January!!
Or, I can wear just the mesh knit infinity scarf with it. The mesh knit is still available here. It's a very pretty print in person with just a touch of metallic silver which gives it a pretty sparkle. 5/8 yard will make an infinity scarf.
For the blue top, I didn't have enough fabric to make a matching scarf, but I have plenty of other scarves and necklaces to style it with. Here it is with some pearls. The blue knit is sold out, but here is a grey wool knit that would be similar. One thing about wool- you will need to be careful about how you care for it. I plan on only spot cleaning mine with a detergent made for wool. If I need to wash it, I will hand wash it, as the agitation from a washing machine can cause shrinkage. Some people might prefer to wash the yardage before sewing to shrink it before cutting out the garment, and I have done that in the past, but I really liked the texture of the wool the way it came, so I decided not to risk changing it.
If you are worried about smell from not washing the whole garment frequently, according to the National Wool Textile organization: Wool textiles are naturally odour resistant due to wool's natural fibre properties, which wicks moisture away to that it can never build up the bacteria that cause odour. It's been said that man-made textiles have spent years of research trying to recreate this process, which wool has done totally naturally all along.
If you are interested in learning more about wool, their website has some fascinating information. Did you know that sleeping in wool pajamas makes you sleep better and longer? I had no idea, but you can bet I am going to be making some wool knit pajamas soon!!
If it is super chilly, I can wear the tops with a blanket scarf. If you are a person who just can't wear wool, I would recommend ponte or double knits for this top pattern as well. My favorite silk scarf looks wonderful with the blue one too, and was made from a piece of silk chiffon from FabricMart bought years ago. I used a 1-5/8 length of chiffon fabric, cut it in half lengthwise, and used my serger to narrow hem the raw edges. You can get two scarves out of 1-5/8 yards, so you can give one away as a great gift! Silk chiffon is more breathable than polyester chiffon, and is very luxurious to wear.
So, I am all set for both Christmas and Hanukkah parties with my new red and blue wool knit tops.
Do you like to wear wool knits? What has your experience been with them?
I hope that you have a great holiday season and enjoy sewing something special for yourself or your loved ones!