Monday, 25 March 2019

Completed: Bowline Sweater

True fact: when Papercut first released this pattern, I thought it was only worth making in a stripe. Couldn't see why anyone would want to make this in a solid. I was actually dismissive of the idea. Thought it was ridiculous. Why would someone chose to make this in a solid? Wasn't the whole point to make a statement of the stripe direction? Hmmm.
I have been wanting to make this since the pattern came out, but it was never high up in the queue for some reason. I finally bought the pattern last year during a sale, although still with no firm plans for actually sewing it. 

This winter I've been trying to inject some colour into my wardrobe. The past few years have all been about sewing and buying all the shades of black and grey come winter. I haven't questioned it, and gone with the flow, until this winter when I didn't want that any more. Its not that I don't like my older winter wear, or that I don't want to wear it. I just don't want to wear black or grey every day. So although I don't need any new winter clothes, I've tried to be a bit more colourful in what I've made, Olya notwithstanding (it gets a pass because it was from the stash). Our office gets pretty warm and meeting rooms are like furnaces at any time of year (particularly fun in summer), so I thought a Bowline would fit the bill for long sleeve but not heavy weight top, in a colour. A solid colour. Because, Olya notwithstanding again, that's my current jam. 

The fabric is modal loopback from Guthrie and Ghani. It's not cheap, but it's lovely, and definitely worth it. It has photographed brighter than it is in real life. It's really more of a burnt orange or terracotta as Lauren describes it. It's very lightweight, pretty much a t-shirt weight which was what I was after. Its maybe slightly too drapey for the pattern as it doesn't want to hold the top of the pleat in shape properly, but I actually don't care. To go back to G&G, I haven't bought much from them, but I am super impressed with their customer care. They do offer swatches on their website, although they are hard to find. When I emailed to ask, I got a very quick response with the link. When I ordered the samples, I got them on a card with the fabric name and price and corresponding Gutterman thread colour. Isn't that genius? So, so helpful. When the fabric eventually came (ordered Thursday afternoon, arrived Friday morning), it came with a little handwritten note too. 

 My plan had been to make this a t-shirt, as opposed to sweatshirt by omitting the sleeve and hem bands, which I thought might also make it look a bit more work appropriate, but I screwed that up by forgetting to add length to the front bodice, and not having enough fabric to cut another. I did try to just hem it at the length it was, but it didn't look right (proportions, remember?), so although I had hemmed it at that length, I unpicked it and added the band. I didn't bother adding the sleeve bands and I think it looks fine without. 

Construction-wise this is an interesting sew. That pleat and dart is really cool and it's very cleverly put together. It's one of those patterns that I bought because I wanted to see how it worked. I am really intrigued by more interesting pattern drafting at the moment, partly for the fun of sewing it, and partly to learn about pattern drafting. I spend too much time trying to visualise how some RTW clothes are put together. I cannot fathom how they figured out how to put this together, but it works. There is a sewalong with photos which helps a bit too. In possibly a record for me, I finished this in a day - including printing and sticking together the PDF. I've never done that. Well, in honestly, I finished it that day, but then went back and fixed the bottom another day because it took a day or 2 to figure out why I didn't like it and how I could save it. But I could have made it in a day had I made it as drafted. 

This is only the second Papercut pattern I've made, the first being the Sway dress. My preference is definitely for PDFs with Papercut as I find their brown paper difficult to trace off, and I don't like the instruction layout on the printed pattern. I know a lot of people wax lyrical over the packaging, but it's not my preference.

I had also planned to sew this entirely on my overlocker but chickened out, and ended up sewing it with a lightening bolt stitch then overlocking the raw edges, because I'd already made the effort to change the thread. My main issue is that I'm struggling to maintain a consistent SA when using the overlocker, so a bit more practise is required, I think, particularly since this pattern is drafted with a 1cm SA. It might be easier with a narrower SA. Maybe.

Anyway, I am delighted with the final tee. It's a great colour and it's a great design. It works with a t-shirt or cami underneath, if I need a bit more warmth - in these photos it was layered over a black Lark tee. I wore it 3 days out of 5 when I first finished it, which is definitely a sign of success! It's a pretty distinctive shape, so I don't see me making millions more, but I probably still am hankering after a striped version at some point...


  1. Like you I'd only really imagined this in stripes for some reason. It looks amazing in a solid though! I love the colour you've used, and the aim for more colour in winter. I definitely need some more colour in my winter wardrobe too. Is this one over those patterns you'd only make once or do you think you'll use it again? Im tempted by the PDF of it now!

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