The Purple Not-a-Turtle Neck
Posted in Projects on Monday the 3rd June 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
As a lover of both jersey fabrics and wool, I’ve had my eye on the John Kaldor Isabella Wool Jersey for some years now. However, initially the £19.99 price tag made me hesitate, and then when I finally did buy a metre of the gunmetal colourway, I was so intimidated by its gorgeousness I didn’t want to risk sewing it up until I had the perfect pattern.
So when Minerva wanted someone to review this fabric there may have been some excited squealing on my part. Two whole metres of the most wonderful, soft and cosy purple jersey? Yes please! And this time I’d have to sew it up because that’s the whole point of being given a fabric to review, isn’t it?
I decided to go for a pattern that I knew fit and suited me: the Neenah dress from Seamwork, which I’ve made (and pattern hacked) many times before. This time I thought I’d chop it off into a long-ish top, which would be more versatile as a winter layering piece. For reference, I cut a medium and my current measurements are 35.5” high bust, 31” waist and 39.5” hip.
Now, I’ll freely admit this was meant to have the original turtleneck rather than the cowl neck which comes as an add-on. I haven’t made the turtleneck version yet and I thought it would be interesting to try out and would be better for layering under my dungaree dresses. However, there was a minor mistake on my part, which I’m blaming purely on the fact it was so long since I originally traced out my Neenah pattern pieces.
Yes, not only is the neck pattern piece different for the cowl and the turtleneck, but the neckline is too. Who knew? Okay, so I suppose it should have been obvious the neckline was way too scooped for a turtleneck, but in my excitement to make this I clearly overlooked the blinking obvious.
When I realised my error I kicked myself a few times, then decided that I’d just have to go for a cowl neck after all. No big deal. I do like the cowl neckline after all, and I had enough fabric left to cut it. Just to ring the changes I folded out 6” of height in the neck pattern piece, but even that still leaves a fairly generous cowl.
I’m just going to put it out there: this fabric is a dream to cut and sew. Yes, it’s very stretchy: about 40% in all directions. It’s also drapey with its 72% viscose content. I’m guessing that the 20% wool must somehow compensate for this, though, as it behaves beautifully. There was very little curling of the edges while cutting and I didn’t have to use stretch interfacing for the hems like I often do to prevent wavy edges.
And I’m going to be honest with you, this fabric says to handwash only, but I’m the kind of crazy person who chucks most woollens in the washing machine, albeit on a cold wool cycle with wool detergent. And you know what, it’s worked out absolutely fine in this case. If you plan to do the same just make sure you prewash it in the same way (and be prepared for some shrinkage), and never EVER put it in the tumble drier. Not unless you want to donate your garment to a small child, that is. Yes, tumble driers really do shrink wool clothes #askmehowiknow
The Neenah is an absolute breeze to sew, particularly because the sleeves are finished with bands rather than folded and topstitched. I made the cuff pieces 6” to give a folded cuff of 3” rather than the 1” ones the pattern includes, but I only removed 1” from the sleeves to make them that little bit longer. I really love a long sleeve in winter.
This top has definitely worked out exactly how I dreamed it would. It has a relaxed but slim fit, and the fabric is so soft and cosy against my skin. I honestly don’t want to take it off at the end of the day. Looked at closely there are little fuzzy hairs on the surface of the fabric, which must be the wool. I don’t find it at all itchy (your mileage may vary) and I’m wondering if it would work for summer clothing too. Supposedly wool has magical properties that can keep you cool in summer as well as warm in winter. Perhaps my leftover yardage will become a sleeveless top so I can conduct a scientific experiment!
Although the Isabella Wool Jersey has a price tag in line with its supreme quality, I can definitely predict it will find its way into my shopping basket again. All seven colours are beautiful, and I can see me wearing six of them. I’m definitely going to plan a few cardigans and layering pieces to make with this fabric as I know how much I love wearing it. Perhaps a longline cardie in that gorgeous teal first…
What would you make with a jersey this warm and gorgeous?
Happy sewing, everyone!
The fabric for this make was kindly supplied by Minerva in return for an honest blog post. Thank you, Minerva!
Meg An said:
Lovely wardrobe staple · 8th Jun 2019 09:30pm